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'F' as in Frank

Signs of aging

I've noticed a few gray hairs and crow's feet as I've gotten older. But nothing has made me feel older than when I found out my oldest nephew is getting married.

It was just yesterday-actually 24 years worth of yesterdays-that I held him as a little baby.

By age eight he was the ring bearer at our wedding, though he recoiled at the pink (the tux place assured us it was salmon) cummerbund he had to wear.

Now Jim-he long ago abandoned "Jimmy"-is the one getting married and the big day is a week from tomorrow.

Most signs of aging are gradual, they give you time to adapt your thinking.

"Those aren't gray hairs," you can tell yourself, "just wisdom and experience."

"Wrinkles come from character and hard work," you convince yourself.

But a graduation invite in the mail or, in my case, a wedding invitation can mercilessly lop off the years in a moment.

There's nothing gradual about 24 years gone, just like that.

But there is justice in all of this.

As the oldest grandson and nephew on my mom's side of the family, I constantly got the double-take from an aunt or an uncle when I graduated from high school or, yes, got married.

"Little Johnny," they'd say. "You make me feel so old!"

Now I'm the one feeling old, but very happy to see Jim become a responsible man and, soon, a loving husband.

And hopefully someday I'll get the chance to feel even older with an announcement in the mail that I'll be a great-uncle.

If or when that time comes, I hope I can be just that, a great uncle, all over again.

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