Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy to be 39

I went to the doc last week so he could check a bump on my leg. Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a hypochondriac? I was worried about blood clots, since the coloring of the bruise had gone away, but the bump was still there. The nurse asks me how old I am: "29" I laugh. "Just kidding. Sorry, I'm... how old am I? Oh, yeah, 39 next week." She checks my paper again: "What did you say you hit when you slipped in the tub?"
I’m not sure where the ‘29’came from. I haven’t lied about my age for many years. I have, in fact, been a little impatient with women who claim to be 29 for years. Be proud of your age. Look at what the years have brought you: a new baby, a new job, a new calling, a trip to a new place or the opening of a new vision of who you are. Maybe it was the opportunity to see your children grow another year. Whatever it was, be grateful; many women haven’t had the blessing of living to your age.
I think of Valerie and Melissa, school teachers in New Jersey. Both died following the cesarean delivery of their first baby (both girls). Valerie was 35 years old and Melissa was 28. The things those mothers have missed and the things their babies have missed, not having their mothers. I look at my children and am so grateful… they have taught me, just by letting me be their mom.
One day, years ago, when I had just three boys, we were at the mall. We ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I was proudly showing off my boys when Jayson piped up, “Jared is eight, I’m six, John is two and my mom is twenty-one!” You do the math! OWW! Jayson just had his birthday and was so excited about it. He was really interested in how old everyone was. He kept asking me how old I was. I tried telling him it isn’t polite to ask a woman how old she is, but he persisted. I told him I was 21. That is how I came to be standing in the mall, doing the math to realize I had my first baby at 13! Yikes! Happily, my friend just laughed, winked at me and said, “You have him trained well.”
Today I turn 39. I’ll take it. It is better than the option. I’m grateful for this last year. I’ve gotten a new job and I’m enjoying it. I’ve taken on a new challenge in ICAN: being the Clarion editor and I’m learning lots. I’ve made new friends. My children growing up and I’m here to be a part of their lives. Isn’t that what it is all about?

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