“40”

We’ve all heard them. We’ve all laughed at them. We’ve all cringed at them…

“The best years of a woman’s life- the 10 years between 39 and 40.”

“The ‘I just woke up’ face of your 30’s is the ‘all day long’ face of your 40’s.” -Libby Reid

And the one that was on the t-shirt my mom gave my dad for his 40th birthday, “40 isn’t old if you’re a TREE.”

When I turned 30 it didn’t really faze me. It feels like it was just a few months ago, but I know that isn’t true because last week I turned 39. Steve Miller was right, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’… Into the future.” Getting older doesn’t really bother me any more now than it did at 30. Getting older is a gift, something I feel even stronger about since my mother’s death when she was just 52. So, I celebrate the completion of my 39th year… up next:  the big 4-0! It seems fitting that I do something to solemnize the completion of another decade in some way, so I spent this week thinking about what that should be.

I thought about making a bucket list. I have one and I could publish it for the whole world to see. A few of my friends have marked such an occasions with ‘40 things to do before I’m 40’ check lists. Those lists make me nervous. What if I don’t do them all? Sometimes I have a hard time quieting my inner perfectionist.

I thought about making a goal. A friend of mine marked the occasion of her 40th by taking up running and completed a marathon that year. I admire her accomplishment and at one time I seriously considered the challenge, but over the last year I’ve been nursing a foot injury that has been stubbornly slow in healing. I think that one is still a few years out for me.

I thought about going back to school, but I don’t have that I absolutely must or I won’t be complete drive inside me about it. School is a huge commitment that would require finances, time and sacrifices that I am not sure are really worth it for the things I hope to accomplish in my life, and besides, I have a degree, so there’s a little of the “been there, done that” element to that option as well.

So what I have decided to do is write a collection of 40 letters to my kids. When I began this blog I thought I would do more of that here on this site, and as it turns out that isn’t really where things went. Yes, I have written a lot about things that I want them to know, but I haven’t really made Hannah, Rachel and Rylon prominent as my audience. So over the next year, along with the usual style of writing I have done, I will be writing a collection letters specifically written for the 3 precious gifts that are my children. Their questions, their innocence, and their love inspire me and have shaped so much of who I am today. I am humbled and privileged to be their mom.

My Muses

I also hope you will enjoy the ‘40’ journey with me. Thank you so much for being my audience. Your encouragement and enthusiasm have brought so much meaning to this journey. I am overwhelmed by your support! It humbles me to think that I might have the words that speak into your own stories. To God be the glory.

I couldn’t end without a few more quotes for the road…

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” -John Burroughs

“At 40, every time you suck in your gut, your ankles swell.”

With Love,

Vicki

Closure

I was listening to NPR while I was out and about today, but I suspect that I would have heard the same type of broadcast on any news radio station I chose today. Elated callers were sharing their patriotic enthusiasm for the killing of Osama Bin Laden and many of them expressed their thankfulness for the closure that taking out Bin Laden would give the families of the victims of 9/11.  I just don’t see how this will provide any closure for our family or any other 9/11 families.  “Closure”…  What is meant by that word anyway?  Now that Bin Laden is dead, should we feel lighter?  Should we feel less loss?  Should we feel like 9/11 is more behind us?

Our family, immediate and extended, has learned to adapt to the post 9/11 new normal. We have learned to live without, much like one would have to live without after loosing a limb.  I would suppose Killing Osama Bin Laden gives us as much closure as an artificial limb gives closure to an amputee.  Even though we have become accustomed to the loss, we are painfully aware of it nonetheless.  When my husband received his Doctorate 9 years ago, my mother in law celebrated her son’s achievement without her husband, when my husband’s first son was born 6 years ago, my husband was painfully aware that his father would never meet his grandson, and when our son was the ring bearer for his oldest cousin last May, their Grandpa would have been beaming and we all missed seeing Grandpa’s proud smile.  We have learned to live the new normal, not because we want to, but because we have to.

So before you thank God for giving us closure, think about much closure you would have with your artificial limb.  Think about how easy it is to open a mayonnaise jar.  Think about the way your child’s had feels when laced with yours.  Think about the joy you remember when you see your wedding band on your left ring finger.  And then think about how that would feel with prosthetic, artificial, metal or plastic hands.  Sure you’ll adjust, but you will never have closure.  Maybe instead it would be more appropriate to thank God for the strength He has given us to not live with hardened hearts and the strength found through Christ alone to every day keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Now those things, those are worth being thankful for.

Visiting Grandpa's Memorial at Arlington Cemetery