My husband, Drew, celebrates his birthday a month-and-a-half before mine so every year I have a chance to get use to our new age before it’s officially my turn. This year it’s 45. That feels very….how shall I say…midlife??
The day before he turned 45, I was with one of my very dearest friends as she helped usher her mom into eternity. It was the first of a close friend my age to lose their mom and she was the same age as my mom. There was so much hope and grace. It was an experience I will never forget.
The very next morning my own mom, a 26-year cancer thriver, had a follow-up appointment with a radiologist and was thankfully given the all clear. Another of my closest friends is texting me about her daughter being induced to give birth while yet another friend I’ve known for over ten years is texting me that her mom has just been placed in hospice care.
Last week we delivered food and goodies to a new widow with two young kids.
The circle of life. These people all have deep faith in the Lord and we all say to each other that our faith is the only thing that carries us through.
Friends I went to high school with have kids graduating from high school and even college. A girl I grew up with is a grandma! People use the term “And just like that…” (fill in the blank with “she’s graduating from kindergarten” “my baby is having a baby” or “my baby is a teenager”) and right now I feel like
just like that, I’m entering the second half of my life.
Of course we can never know what “half” is for us. My grandmother is 96 and doing amazingly well, so that would be 48 for me. The other aspect is, my mom battled breast cancer the summer before my senior year of high school–which is next summer when I myself will be 45 during the summer before my oldest son’s senior year of high school.
The pandemic felt like a major shift for me. I won’t got into it but there have been high emotions and a lot of disappointment yet day to day, life has been good. It’s a strange tension to live in. I’ve gained and lost friends. I gave up the booth but book color analysis appointments weekly now. I do very little teaching and speaking outside of the house but I’m able to help women in my inner circle. It’s more full….yet less in many ways. It feels bigger…yet many days I feel smaller than ever.
Last year at my birthday, we’d worked all month to host family in our new home in time for Thanksgiving. It was exhilarating and exhausting and on my birthday, both my boys were sick so I spent the day alone, puttering with the Christmas decorations and sitting in the back yard, breathing and reflecting. This year we’ll host overnight guests and 26 for dinner again except I’ll be way more organized and we won’t be living between two houses. The Sunday everyone leaves, Kate, my mom and I will attend The Nutcracker ballet and the Monday after we all have dentist appointments.
Then Tuesday November 29th I’ll be 45. I decided to spend the day at our local arboretum.
This might be the year I stop plucking my gray hairs. I’ve said that for a few years now so we’ll see.
My hair is longer. We’re attending a new church that feels like the churches I grew up in. I’ve reconnected with old friends and let a few go. Some have let ME go. I’m learning who to let close to me and I’m being more careful with where I invest my time and energy.
I’m learning to speak up but also to use fewer words.
I’m relishing the teen years with the boys and appreciating how little time we have with them at home so I’m taking every opportunity to be with them, teach them, and foster their gifts.
The days of having little kids is behind me. I’m the mama of big kids now (17, 13 and five). My parents and in-laws are all in their 70s. We recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. It’s all rather shocking. Now so I feel officially grown up and like I can take on a mentoring role and truly speak from experience. I know it’s silly but until this year, the numbers just weren’t there.
Over all, the feeling is that the best is yet to come. I love the wisdom that comes with age! Deeper relationships, better-defined boundaries, clearer priorities–it brings peace.
So bring on the gray hair. Bring on the milestones. Bring on the firsts and the lasts and the new memories.