Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dear Thirty-Something


Dear Thirty-Something,

This will be the last year I can ever include myself in your age group, since I just had a birthday that leads to the end of this fabulous decade.  It's okay: I'm actually not sad about the arrival of this birthday, since I spent most of last year thinking I was already 39 when I was still 38.  So it's like living a whole year all over again without feeling a year older!  (Yes, it's true that by this age, numbers get really muddled, and a 'ballpark' works so much better!)

A week before my birthday, gifts began to arrive.  I received things that I really love and even from unexpected people.  I was giddy days before the real day.  Honestly, I'm a middle-aged gal who is still a little girl at heart.  To this day, I still wake up on my birthdays excited for the entire day.  My logic: get excited first, then lament the age addition the next day.

On the big day, just like everyday, the first thing I reached  for--even before my glasses--was my phone (and even the phone alarm clock sounded lovelier on my birthday).  And there, I saw birthday wishes from the dearest of friends from afar.  Thus began a smile that would practically last all day.  Next, I had kiddos jumping into my room shouting 'Happy Birthday, Mommy', followed by hugs and kisses all around.  Dear Husband had a nice day planned for us; it was going to be a fun and busy day.

This decade was filled with endeavors.  I spent most of my twenties trying not to get pregnant, and then spent much of my thirties trying to get pregnant.  And it became a my first decade of mothering.  I was lucky enough to fully experience the journey of pregnancy, birth, and raising little humans I get to call 'my daughter' and 'my son'.  It was a time of leaving my career and becoming a stay-at-home mom.  It was the end of Friday date nights and couple life in general.  It was a special period of adoration and doting upon two remarkable miracles who, with pudgy cheeks and thigh rolls, were cute enough for me to willingly bid farewell to any real, satiating sleep in my life. 

DH invited my Bestest People to a brunch to celebrate.  We ate, and laughed, and ate, and watched the kids play, and ate, and complained about how full we were.  Then we ate some more dessert.  Then we carried our bulging tummies to the mall playground where the kids shook out some wiggles.  Later, at our home, I received birthday gifts that made me feel like my Bestest People frosted buttercream icing directly onto my heart.  The thoughtfulness of the gifts were beyond anything I could ever describe.  It's like they somehow scoped my brain, decoded my nerve impulses, and knew what was going to make my heart dance wildly.  My cheek muscles were still working hard, but I didn't even care if they were creating more laugh lines or crows feet.  I think I almost knocked a person or two over from hugging while thanking.

The thirty-somethings are full of possibilities.  We have finished schooling, thank goodness.  We have become financially stable.  We have built a home, a family, and a sense of self--enough to pass our beliefs onto our children.  We have grown up.  We are now able to put the kiddos' others' needs before ours, go out of our ways to make the kiddos others happy, and think ahead enough to seem like we know what we're doing as parents grownups.  And, we still have lots of things to look forward to and many years of possibilities ahead of us. 

Then we moved onto the birthday cake.  Candle, singing, shutter-clicks, forks scraping plates, coffee, more smiles.  I breathed in deeply to capture all the magic around me; it felt like I was being sprinkled with fairy dust and I was twirling and sparkling in the midst of it all.  My cheek muscles were working overtime by now.  More hugs, farewells, waves goodbye.  My special day was like a sweet perfume still lingering in the air even when the source was gone.

A decade is a long time.  I am proud to have survived the early childhood years of my kiddos.  On this end of being thirty-something, sleep has finally returned to my peaceful nights.  I am beginning to have more time to do thing for myself.  The possibility of date nights is almost a reality again (in fact I have four months to work on Dear Son so that I can go to a concert--first one in a decade--as a part of my birthday present from DH).  I can even think about returning to the workforce again when the both the kiddos will be in school full time when I actually turn--gasp--forty.  It's the end of an era as well as the beginning of another.  

Night fell.  Still running on adrenaline and high from excitement, I sat in bed with my laptop, trying to unwind.  My cheeks ached from smiling, my tummy was still full from all the eating, and my heart swelled with a rush of peace and comfort.  I managed to thank DH for a most memorable and special day before he drifted off to sleep.  I finally signed off--after staying up way to late--in order to face another Monday, another week.

So, Dear Thirty-Something, even though I'm on the last rung on your ladder, if you look hard enough, through the age spots and sagging skin, you will still see the little girl in my eyes, because her spirit will always be my guiding light.  I promise to make the most of this remaining year in your age group before moving on to the next decade.  Perhaps I can even attempt something wild and crazy before I fall 'over the hill'.  And if I ever look tired or feel too old to you, just look for the twelve-year-old's twinkle in my eyes.  She'll be there.

Sincerely,
Me

10 comments:

  1. Sandra:
    39 has always been my favorite number since young. For me, it mysteriously represented the unpredictable, the unknowns, the wisdom and better yet, the luck.

    I was fortunate enough to know you in the beginning of your thirty-something era. Over the years, you were busy trying to perfect many different roles as the best mom, a wonderful wife, a nice in-law, a great friend, even a responsible aunt. But not until last year did I start to see you finally getting the chance to look inward and find your hidden passion that you have not been able to focus for a long time. Then, you found yourself (again )-the evolving you, and you shine. You shine through the tip your fingers, through your words and your pictures. And we see the old you emerging perfectly with the new you; 38 was a good year for you. At the conclusion of a good year comes a year full of anticipation, excitement and happiness. I know 39 will become one of your favorite years because I see you finding something precious that is going to guide you through the next decade, and I know you will summarize your thirty something beautifully just the way you'd like using your time from this year.

    Congratulations, my dear friend! You make thirty-something looks so easy and smooth. As an older friend of yours, I can also say it loudly that I am so proud of you! Cheers to 39!!

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    1. Brenda, this may just be the loveliest comment I have ever received! Thank you, so much, my friend! I was being a bit elusive for parts of this post, but you read it with a different eye, because you know every little detail that I mention. That's because you are one of my Bestest People! Thank you for being there for me all of my Thirty-Something years. Cheers to many decades more! Thank you!

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  2. We're about the same age - I'll be 39 in a few months. I generally don't enjoy my birthdays (my Grandpa's birthday was a few days after mine, and since he passed away, it's just a sad time. I wrote a post a couple years ago about him.) Your post makes me want to let go of the sadness and soak in the magic.

    Happy birthday - may your last thirty-something year be your best ever :)

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    1. Dear Janna, I really think that your Grandpa would want you to be happy on your birthday instead of being sad for his sake! Truthfully, not all of my recent birthdays have been quite as meaningful and joyful as this one, and that's why it really stood out for me. Thank you for the birthday wish, and I do hope you soak in some magic on your upcoming one in a few months!

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  3. Happy Birthday, dear Sandra! Sorry for my coming late blessing. I totally share the same feeling you have about turning to 40's. I think it's much harder for us than our busbands. I don't like to celebrate birthday after 35. Eddie has the same age as you. When we celebrated his this year birthday, he said he was just happy and didn't have any sad feeling. The funny thing is my son was even happier than his dad. Every time we sing the birthday song and blow the candle, he thinks that is for him!

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    1. Hi, Vivien! I don't know about how I'll feel when I turn 40, but this birthday at age 39 was one of my best birthdays ever! I believe that even though we might appear to be old physically, we can still be young at heart. Toddlers LOVE birthdays -- blowing out a candle can be the BEST thing ever in their little eyes! That is a sign of true innocence, and something we older people need more of. Sometimes children are wiser than we are! ^_^ Thank you so much for the birthday wish!

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  4. my original post didn't go on :(
    I think I just said, Sandra, it's been so great knowing you this year and 40 is even better. I feel like a new person. Improved! Definitely more patient and at peace with life (most of the time) you know me.

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    1. Helen, I'm sorry you're having trouble posting comments... I don't know what is wrong! It's been wonderful being your friend this year, too! I can see being more patient and at peace with life as we get older... but only when our kids are not driving us nuts! I still have much more room for improvement. =)

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  5. Age spots and sagging skin? Are you kidding me? I think you're looking with far too close a microscope! Happy belated birthday to you, and enjoy this last moment in the 30s. It is amazing to go back and look at what we were doing a decade ago. It is SO long and so many changes. I love all the happiness you espouse!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! It will be bittersweet to say goodbye to my 30s, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I really was twirling in happiness that day. I just had to write it all down, because it's hard to remember that kind of joy when faced with the daily grind. =)

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