Bidding Farewell the Roaring Twenties…Hello the…Thrilling Thirties?
September 20, 2011 § 8 Comments
My husband leans over me, and I am in a haze, barely aware this is reality. He kisses my cheek several times, whispers, “‘Bye Baby. Happy birthday. Go back to sleep.” I smile. Murmur, “thank you,” and obey him.
Ninety minutes later, I wake up. The dogs are fed. The cats are fed. All four have gone back to bed–Morning Nap, Round One. (There will be no fewer than three morning naps taken by the animals today, as usual.) I grab my newest morning accessories (trash can, Kleenex box, glass of water) and shuffle to the kitchen, intent upon popping some pills. Breakfast isn’t an option just yet.
And then I feel it.
That little flip-flop flutter that has become increasingly more noticeable since that first football game when I cheered our team to victory from the comfort of my living room.
I smile for the second time this morning.
“Good morning, Baby.”
I pop my pills (opening one capsule and mixing its contents into a dollop of cinnamon applesauce), chug a glass of water, and relish the feeling of this obvious uterine squirm.
Last night, I whimpered to my husband that my twenties were gone forever. I was scared…knowing that when I woke up the next morning, I would never be in my twenties ever again. It is the diametric opposite to going to sleep on Christmas Eve with the promise of Christmas morning. As I drifted off, my mind reeled. What had I done with the last decade? What goals had I not met? What would my 16-year-old Self have said to know that this was her future?
And then Robert took my hand and said without prompting, “You got married. You’re going to have a baby. You’re finishing a degree.”
I nestled further into my pillow and drifted off.
I woke up this morning 30 for the first time.
So far, 30 feels like strep throat. (Robert came down with a bacterial respiratory infection last week. I caught it, and it settled in my throat. I’m on a pill that I find difficult to swallow with my fiery throat, so I pour it into applesauce.) I spent my last day of 29 drifting in and out of fever-induced naps while my husband substitute taught my class for me. My first day of 30 feels noticeably better, but I’m still not well enough to teach, so class has been canceled. Robert has made dinner reservations at our favorite nice restaurant, and I’m willing my body to heal enough so that I can enjoy dinner.
Before this post goes any further, I must put a preemptive halt to any pity I might receive. Out of 30 birthdays, I have probably been sick for 2/3 of them. September is my sick month. School has started again, so I’m exposed to all kinds of new viruses and bacteria. Things are blooming that I may or may not have an allergy to (I’ve never had an allergy panel done). The weather is beginning to dip down for the first time in months. Just as it’s a fact of life that I have always worked or been in school on or around my birthday (except when it falls on a weekend), it’s also a fact of life that I have a high probability of being sick on or around my birthday. It’s not as big a deal now as it was when I was little and had to sacrifice deeply-wished-for sleepovers and birthday parties. Even if Robert and I have to cancel our dinner plans, I am sure we can just reschedule for sometime next week.
Before I came down with this infection, Robert hosted a party in honor of the Big 3-0. I had told him a couple of months ago that I would need to be surrounded by people who were happy to be with me, happy that I was celebrating another birthday, happy that I was celebrating this birthday. I hoped it would rub off on me.
I am so grateful to have all of you in my life. Regardless if you were at the party or not, you have added an important element to my life. I have learned much from each one of you, and I look forward to learning more. I was afraid of 30. It seemed so…adult, so much the beginning of the end. The end of youth, the end of fun, the end of silliness, the end of immaturity. I see now that it’s not the end. I have many women (and men…but we women have a special bond) in my life who have gracefully and beautifully floated right on by 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80. I have learned from all of them that there is always still room for fun, for youth, for silliness, for immaturity. At my grandmother’s 80th birthday last December, her 89-year-old sister shared a fascinating series of stories from their childhood, all of which had the entire room in stitches. As she recounted those stories, she was silly. She was young. She was immature. My mind began to shift then and has continued to shift as I’ve allowed myself to learn from the other incredible women in my life.
30 is not the end. It is not a death sentence. Yes, I have new responsibilities now than when I was 16. One of the most noticeable responsibilities is taking care of this little growing fetus. And when that baby is born, I will have to be a responsible parent. But that doesn’t mean a curmudgeonly parent. Or a dowdy parent. Or even an above-it-all parent. I’m allowed to have fun. I’m allowed to be silly. I’m allowed some immaturity. That’s what the 30s will be about for me. Learning through teaching my child (maybe one day children, if we are so fortunate) that life can be fun.
So, farewell 20s. Here’s to 30!