Sunday, December 6, 2015

On turning 40...

Tomorrow when I wake up, I'll be 40.

What the crap.

I remember *vividly* when my Dad turned 40.  He was O-L-D.  His old friends made fun of him and he laughed it up about being 40.

And tomorrow it's my turn.  I'm not sure how that happened, because I'm kind of sure that I'm still 18.

Other than the fact that I'm still confused how I'm actually 40, I'm okay to be 40.

My twenties were a blur of newness... my first job. My first husband. (Kidding, Dan...) My biggest decision ever in choosing to say "yes" to the kindest, sweetest, nerd I had ever met- and having no idea what in the world I was in for in the years ahead.  We embraced ministry together, made friends together, and then picked it all up and moved to Winston- together.

Our life here began with the excitement of trying to find a church, learn our way around town, and begin the process of starting our family.  It was in my twenties that we lost our first child... and unfortunately I would know that pain twice before I turned 30.

I rounded the corner into my thirties- having no idea the hell that was going to unfold.

To celebrate my thirtieth, Mom and I went to New York.  We waved to you all from the Today Show courtyard and saw the Rockettes.  We shopped and ate and I took her to Starbucks for her very first time.

What I wouldn't give to spend tomorrow with her at Starbucks.

Dan finally "gave in" and gifted me the best 30th birthday present ever... a sweet little mutt named Webster.  He comforted my tears for 10 years before I held him on the floor of the vet while his fur caught my tears one last time.  He left a hole in our family that is still a fresh wound each time Julianna asks "Where Webster go?"

Shortly after Webby joined us, all of those doctor visits and blood draws paid off when we experienced the miracle of all miracles: we were expecting a baby girl.  Because she decided to show up a month before her due date, we were all surprised to end up in the hospital earlier than planned.  What a crazy day it was to kill time waiting for my labor to progress in a room watching Food Network with Dan, Mom, and Daddy.  (And maybe some doughnuts that sweet Abby snuck in... whoops.)  That funny looking preemie entered our wold with a (literal) earthquake and has shaken our lives up ever since.  Every day I am grateful that she shares the name of my sweet Momma, and that those two had such a precious bond before Mom got sick.

In my thirties, we had our eyes opened to things we could no longer ignore.  I walked with friends through their adoptions and traveled the world to meet some of those precious kids.  And after Dan's persistence and patience... I finally "agreed" to a life of caring for those children in Foster Care.  That "yes" would change my life and give me the daughter of my heart.  It would also give me more grey hair, more frustration with a broken system, and more compassion for those who others than I could ever imagine.  One of the joys in all of our process of becoming a Foster family is knowing that Daddy gave us his whole-hearted blessing on our decision.

My thirties brought about inexplicable pain when we lost friends to death.  I still attest that we are far to young to have experienced so many peers gone.  I miss my friends.  I miss them for their own spouses and families, and I miss them for me.

And most of all, I miss my Daddy.  16 months before he died, we lost his beloved Mary.  I was beyond fortunate to have the World's Best Stepmother... and I am so very sad that my girls don't get her wisdom, her charm, and her humor.  And I am so very sad that they won't grow up with their Dadaw to give them a hard time about their first boyfriends, their lousy driving skills, and their first jobs.  I am grateful that his legacy lives on with the Do Good movement... but dang it, I miss him being the one doing the good.

So forties?  Come at me, bro.  I've survived my thirties and that was no joke.  And while all of the things I mentioned before about killed me... they didn't.  Because in my corner I have Dan.  And Elizabeth.  And Julianna.  And all of you.  And the chance to figure out my ever changing faith.  And my ever changing self.  I can take classes to help me, to challenge me, to teach me.  I can admit when I'm wrong.  I can say "I don't know."  I can laugh when I mess up.  I can find help to fix whatever needs fixing.  I can cry in front of you and not feel like I have to apologize when it gets awkward for both of us.  I can say no to commitments that drain me.  I can walk away from things I don't enjoy.  And I am almost to the point I can step away from relationships that are toxic... I'm not there yet, but I'm trying.

I am ready to be done with my thirties.  They were painful.  So maybe my forties are my time to soar.

If not, then we'll look forward to 2025 and claim that my 50s will kick ass.