I feel like it was just yesterday I was writing a post about thirty-three. What a happy age that is (was). Then here I am now another year older. Another year down the road. Another 365 days of lessons learned, mistakes made, joys multiplied. With each year passing, I shake my head at how quickly they seem to move. For my junior high school students, one month is an eternity, a year is a length that they can barely wrap their brains around. For me, it is a blink of an eye.
Thirty years ago today, I turned four. I wasn't yet in school. My memories of the time before pre-school began the following year are fuzzy at best. A toddler brother. My favorite pink pajamas with the fluttery sleeves. Tulip, my giant stuffed dog at the end of my bed, named for her flannel covering dotted with red tulips. My tricycle that was blue. Still fearful of mustaches and thunderstorms. The world was a giant adventure for me, and I was excited by it all.
Twenty years ago I was marching up the front lawn of my parents' home after a full day of 8th grade, carrying about a dozen Mylar balloons. The fad in my middle school was to collect as many balloons as you could from friends on your birthday. The more balloons, the more clout you had. I had a banner year in 1992. I may have been a band nerd, but I was the coolest band nerd on the block.
Ten years ago I hit twenty four. I had met the man who was to become my husband. We wouldn't start dating for a few more weeks though. Of all the birthdays I have ever had, it was the loneliest. My beloved grandmother had passed one month prior. I was living across the state from my family. I felt completely alone. I can still remember driving my little red Beetle down the highway and thinking that the birthday card from grandma would be in my mailbox when I got home. This thought was quickly followed by the realization that there wouldn't be any more from her. I would spend that day alone in my tiny apartment. Little did I know how much my life was about to change.
Today I feel like I am the luckiest woman I know. I have a beautiful little family. I am surrounded by friends. I have a comfortable home that is my favorite place in the world. Every day I get to laugh, hug, smile, kiss, talk to and with, the man I am lucky enough to share this life with. The other day our son asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him "to spend time with the men I love most-him and his dad." I am fortunate to have expanded my world beyond that of my four year-old self. Wise enough to know the true measure of love and friendship is not measured by the number of balloons (or gifts) given to me. Blessed in the replacement of loneliness with love and happiness. What other gifts can a woman need?
Thirty-four, I welcome you. Let us see what new challenges, struggles, joys, and wisdom you shall bring to me.