I turned seventeen the year my kids learnt to ask, 'How many years are you?'
They were instructed not to discuss such important personal matters with 'others'.
Once in a birthday party Tina, Reena and Meena's kids were discussing how old their mothers were. 'Mine is seventeen.'
'Mine is seventeen also!' said Tina's seven year old.
My six year old son was not too surprised, 'All our moms are seventeen. '
We moms were watching and it remains a joke till today.
When she was eight, and I still seventeen, once Daughter came from the park looking very angry. Almost in tears.
'My friends don't believe me! They were laughing at me, they don't believe that you are seventeen.'
"You are not supposed to discuss my age with your friends."
'Momma I didn't want to tell, but X said his sister is seventeen so I said my mom is also seventeen. They did not believe me!'
So I humbly explain and apologize that since kids are likely to pass on the information sometimes mothers, don't lie, they just joke about such stuff, all my fault, and all. She is NOT interested in apologies, all she wants to know is "Then what is your real age?"
So I tell her and she makes a 'mother-die-promise' to keep the secret to herself, not even to tell her little brother, but I did tell him I was not seventeen and they must not discuss mother's ages and daddy's wages with friends, because it is rude and bad manners etc. They understood.
Several years later, when I could no longer attempt to pass off as 17, I was at a stall at a Christmas Carnival. This precocious young brat, a friend's child, had devised some Harry Potter quiz and game, I answered all the questions correctly and am the proud winner of a Merit Certificate. He fills in the name and address and then looks up "Aunty how old are you?"
"Do you have to write that?"
"Okay, normally I write seventeen. Will that do?"
"I am the same age your mom, right? So how old does that make me?"
With a gleam in his eyes and a suppressed smile, he fills in the age, covering what he is writing with the other hand.
I remember his Mom announcing her age in a party. She is a kindred spirit.
He hands me the certificate, and I am twenty one in it. The same age as his Mom.