When I think about the “perfect age” my go-to year is 36. Not because that year was particularly memorable for me, but because it just seems like a good time of life. By 36 I had weathered the deaths of my parents; I felt strong in my relationship with my husband, confident in my parenting, past some of the insecurities and unknown that are the 20’s, yet my body was still youthful, my face unlined and my hair more or less its natural color.
This morning I was awakened at 7:00 by a text message from my twelve-year-old son wishing me, “Happy Birthday!” Today I’m 51, not 36; how did that happen? I started thinking about what has happened in the years since I was 36. What has happened to put me at 51? In the last fifteen years we have welcomed at least three more children into our family (I’ve lost count…); I quit a career I loved (trust banking) and found a cause I’m passionate about (adoption); I learned to make exercise a part of my daily life; I realized that my strong relationship with my husband is a never-ending source of comfort and growth; I’ve learned to cherish the friends from my 20’s while finding my first grown-up group of “girlfriends”; I’ve cooked a thousand meals (more or less) and realized that cooking for less than six people seems a waste of time, driven back-and-forth hundreds of times to soccer fields, baseball fields, basketball courts and dance studios and, perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that the years are going to go by regardless of what I do, how well I eat or how much I exercise, so I’ve tried to enjoy each year, I’ve tried to relish each change and I’ve tried to remember to be grateful for the blessings of this crazy life I live and love.
Post-Script – After the “alarm clock” of the text message went off this morning, my husband told me that the kids wanted to make me breakfast. I groaned a bit because I knew they wouldn’t want to get up for at least another hour and my body was telling me it needed to eat something sooner than that. So, being a good mom, I decided to wait for my child-made breakfast and just have a small bite to hold me over. But what to have? I had been up in the middle of the night (does any 51 year old woman sleep through the night?) and had needed something then, so I had eaten half a banana and had tossed the rest, in its peel, into the garbage. This morning, being the “mom” that I am, I retrieved my tossed half of a banana, peel still intact, from the garbage can and ate it to hold me over so my children could sleep-in and then get up and “surprise” me with breakfast – like I said, this crazy life I live…
Post, post-script - I wonder if garbage digging is a new trend for my plus-50 years?