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Thirty and Then…

April 30, 2018

My 70th birthday is still a few months away, but it’s bugging me. I know it’s just a number and I should go by how I feel. I feel more like 45 and look about 60 on most days. Other days I think I’m closer to 80! I wrote this back when I was 30 and thought I’d share it. I’ll write something later for my 70th. ~ Connie

I smiled at my eager children as they waited impatiently for their dad to light the birthday candles.
At least my husband had not put THAT many candles on the cake.
I sighed. What was wrong with being thirty?
“Come on, Mom, your wish can’t be that long.” John, my oldest son, encouraged.
“Yeah, Mom,” Vaughn added. “We want cake.”
John chimed back in, “It’s a good thing Dad didn’t put all thirty candles on or we’d be here all day.”
“Birthday cake! Birthday cake!” Shawn, my two-year-old repeated in a sing-song rhythm.
Jack slipped a comforting arm about my waist, giving me a loving squeeze. “Need a little help?”
“Thanks. I’m not that old yet. I think I can handle fifteen candles.”
Jack placed a light kiss on my cheek. “You’ll never be old to me.”
“Thanks.” But the ancient number echoed around my head.
“Dad, don’t start any mushy stuff now,” John and Vaughn said at the same time. They were nine and seven, but sometimes they seemed more like twins.
“Come on, Mom. Hurry. The icing’s melting.”
I took a deep breath and blew out the not-so-cheery yellow candles. Shawn squealed with delight. I couldn’t help but laugh at his attempts to grab the slowly rising wisps of smoke. I tried too.
Will I ever grow too old to remember trying to catch smoke with my hands?
Each of my sons had made me a birthday card, and after reading them I felt a little better, but still a little sad and lost.
I had no idea why turning thirty was bothering me so much. Later, while washing dishes I let my tears fall into the hot soapy water.
“What’s the matter, Hon?” Jack’s caring voice whispered in my ear as his arms encircled me from behind.
“Nothing.” I brushed aside my tears.
“Ah, I think I understand, but don’t you think it would have been easier to use the faucet to fill up the sink instead of your tears? I can’t imagine the water is hot enough.”
I laughed in spite of the tears. “Silly.” Then I buried my face in his shoulder and let the tears flow freely.
They didn’t last long. “Sorry, I got you all wet.” I brushed my hand over the wet spot, trying to wipe it away.”
“After ten years, I’m getting used to it. I’m a fast dryer.”
I laughed again. “I’m glad. I just don’t understand why turning thirty is bothering me so much. It’s not that old, yet I feel, oh, I don’t know what I feel.” The tears started again.
Silently Jack held me, giving me the love and support I needed.
“Why don’t I take the boys to a movie? That will give you some peace and quiet.”
They were out the door before I finished the dishes. The dishes could wait, I decided. It was time for a walk and a talk with Jesus.
We lived at the end of a large cul-de-sac with a quiet wooded area. I followed the well worn path around to a pile of rocks which was perfect place to sit and reflect. I loved coming here. It was peaceful and quiet. God felt closer to me here in the woods than even in church. I thanked the Lord for giving me such a wonderful and loving family. I told Him how bad I felt about being thirty and asked if He’d tell me why.
I watched the leaves flutter in the gentle breeze and listened to birds singing. It was a beautiful summer evening. Goals popped into my head. Is that why I’m upset? I don’t have any goals?
I’d already met most of the goals I’d set as a teenager–get my RN, get married, and have children. The only one left was to get a BSN. I’d also thought about witnessing to someone who would accept Jesus as their Savior, but that never seemed to be at the top of my goal list. The only new goal I could think of was to lose the stubborn ten pounds I’d gained. Should I add that cruise to Alaska I’d thought about over the years? Ideas began to flood my mind. For my short-term goal I decided to write that book I’d been thinking about and not be so hesitant about sharing God’s love with others. Long term goals were still a little vague–completing my BSN, getting three kids through college, maybe military time, and being a fantastic grandmother. The Alaskan cruise was at the bottom of  the list, saved for my retirement years. By the time I walked back, thirty didn’t seem so bad after all.

From → Everyday Life

  1. Nearly 70?! Wow, what a milestone!!! Congratulations.

    • Thank you. My birthday is July 21st.
      My mother lived to be 80, but my father died young; my older sister is 76 and, in the last couple years I’ve lost 2 younger sisters (both for health reasons). I don’t know where that puts me in the scheme of things! I figure God isn’t through with me yet. There are days I wish he’d give me a heads-up, but maybe I’m not listening hard enough.

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