Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thoughts on Reaching 50 Years

In my normal, roundabout way.

Earlier this summer, my eldest was making plans for her 21st birthday. While most new 21 year olds are out proving they can get as drunk as any idiot, taking all the free drinks the bars offer, my daughter chose to spend her birthday with her family. My daughter chose to spend her 21st birthday with her dad, mom and little sisters. I just had to say that again.

In spite of the mistakes I've made - and they were numerous - my daughters love their family. Having my daughter choose her family to spend her special day with instead of partying with friends might be enough to carry me through for the next 50 years. I don't have any special awards to put on the walls, no public recognition, but my children actually like me and want to spend time with me, and that is all I need. Beats awards all to heck.

And what does that have to with turning 50? Well, as I was pondering the fact that my daughter was turning 21, I turned my mind back to the day she was born. My first pregnancy, my first labor, my first baby. All those memories. Then I thought about how we hadn't rushed into parenthood. In fact, I was a few weeks shy of 29 before my oldest was born. HUH! HALT! Back up there a moment. If I was almost 29, and it's been 21 years, (silent mental math going on here) that makes me a few weeks shy of my 50th birthday.

50? How in the heck did that happen. I knew it was coming, yet it really had not registered. I don't feel 50. I have to force myself to do the computation. Yes. 50. If I went off what I feel, I would guess I'm still in my 30's. Ah! The cruelest joke of all must be time. I'm not depressed over turning 50. More than anything, I'm in awe that it happened so fast. It feels it happened without me being aware of it.

Well, the day has come and gone. Hannah and her boyfriend, Rachael and her husband, Tim and I went out for lunch to one of my favorite sandwich shops. I spent the day with my husband and children. It was quiet. Rather like me. The way I like it. Then it was all over. It just was. Nothing was any different. Yet everything is different.

I remember my dad talking about when he was 50 and how far off 80 seemed. Yet, here he was at 80, and it happened so quick. That cruel trickster again. Have my priorities changed? No. I still want to treasure every moment. I want to not miss a chance to love my family, smile, laugh, cry, enjoy this one wild and precious life.