So last night I realized how much smaller the age gap gets as we get older. When I started keeping Haley she was 8 and I was 16. She had just finished 3rd grade and I was about to start my senior year of high school. That was a pretty big age gap. Worlds apart really.
As she hit middle school I was in college. Her freshman year was the same as my second senior year of college. She got in a wee bit of trouble around Christmas that year and for all of break I was the only person she was allowed to see outside of actual family.
She graduated high school the year I bought my first house and then she came to OU. It was fun having her in Norman and she would come over and do laundry and I would cook dinner (when she wasn't super busy with school and sorority life).
Last year she turned 21 which meant a huge (and incredibly fun) party. Finally she was old enough to go out (legally :)).
This all seemed quite natural with Haley. She had never really acted like a little kid, so it was easy to think of her as a peer and not a baby sitting charge. What snuck up on me was while all of this was going on her friends were also getting older.
The first instance of this realization hit last December. Kara and I went to Ardmore for a play the night before her friend Tyler's birthday. I texted Tyler to see what he was doing and he and a few friends ended up meeting us for dinner. After that we went out to a local bar. At the bar were several of the kids that Haley graduated with, all completely there legally. Good grief. I'm not sure if this made me feel old or not. I think it kind of did because I was in Ardmore.
Last night was a little different. I went out with Kristin, Travis, Dana and Timmy. We met up with Emily and Jennifer. Well Jennifer had invited some friends, including her cousin. Well her cousin just happened to be one of Haley's close guy friends from high school. We also had another guy that was a year older than Haley, and to make matters worse, Haley's high school tennis partner, who is a year younger than her! This was a little peculiar situation because it was completely spontaneous. I was out, they were out, all in the same group.
I guess as we all get older being eight or nine years younger really isn't that big of a deal. I know when I'm 40 and Haley is 32 it won't be that big of a deal, nor will 50 and 42 and so on and so forth. It's just funny to think that this little girl and all her little friends are old enough to just naturally be part of my social circle.