Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another Trip Around The Sun

Birthdays are wonderful!

All of them.

I don't care if you are 1, our 21, or 51 or 101--birthdays are special and I'm all for embracing the number of candles on your cake!

I find it odd that when I was turning 30, there was the talk of it being a "big" birthday, or that I was turning "29 again". Ummm...all birthdays are big--just ask your mother. And no, I wasn't--I was turning 30, and this year I turned 32--not another celebration of my 29th birthday thank-you-very-much.

Youth is great and all, but wisdom comes with age, and I'll take all of the wisdom that I can get! I don't want to go backwards, or even stand still. Life is progressive and I want to live fully--which includes aging. And part of aging well is to accept yourself for who you are today, trying to better that person, but not trying to be someone that you are not, nor wishing that you are who you were in the past.

Silver streaks are beginning to weave their way through my hair, and I'm at a crossroads. I love beautiful, gray hair that marks a woman as dignified and distinguished. Especially when the woman is confident and comfortable in the gorgeous locks that God has graced her with, without apology. However, can I stand against a society that tells men that gray is okay, but tells women that the bottle of dye is their answer? I don't yet know the answer. Those lines around my eyes from years of laughter are starting to show, and while the woman at the department store wants to sell me her miracle eye cream, I'm still very content knowing that these are lines from a life full of joy--and I don't regret that for a moment! While someday I may feel differently, I know that I cannot turn back the hands of time, nor do I wish to. I'd rather age gracefully, instead of fighting the process and wishing in 60 years that I enjoyed my youth while it was still here and lamenting at that time how foolish I was to consider my 30's or 40's or 50's "getting older". While technically, it is--it's not. I have at least 30-40 more years of youth ahead of me.

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to celebrate my 32nd trip around the sun with family and friends. All things considered (like, backed up plumbing and an emergency visit from a plumber on Saturday night as Jason and I were getting ready to go out for the evening!), the weekend could not have been more perfect and celebrated precisely in a manner that breathes life into me.

My mom came to visit Wednesday and Thursday, and between going out to dinner at one of our favorite local joints, a few rousing games of Bananagrams and introducing her to the TV show Hoarders, we had a fun evening. Thursday she helped me get the kids to school before heading back to her home in Ohio.

Friday started with a playdate at the Rhythm! Discovery Center in downtown Indianapolis with my MOPS group. We had a blast playing drums and other percussion instruments all morning. Afterwards, a few of us went to the Weber Grill restaurant which is upstairs from the museum to have lunch together. I've never been there with children before, but Weber definitely earned a lot of child-friendly points and may be my new favorite child-friendly restaurant downtown! With a table of 7 children under the age of 5, they had their work cut out for them to keep chaos at a minimum and they not only hit the bar, they far exceeded my expectations!

Friday night, our kids went to the babysitting co-op that our family is apart of. Now, let me follow a rabbit trail and tell you right now that the babysitting co-op is the best.thing.ever. for our family! With 4 kids and no family in town, cost becomes prohibitive for Jason and I to make regular date nights a priority. Especially if we want to go out just for coffee and a walk through the park, when we factor in an extra $40-50+ for a few hours of childcare, suddenly coffee on the back patio sounds more appealing. With the co-op, we pay a nominal fee for snacks for the semester, volunteer to provide childcare for 2 nights, and then have 8 scheduled date nights where other couples provide the childcare. For 3.5 hours, we are child-free to sit at the bookstore and browse, or take a leisurely walk along the canal downtown, or come home and have dinner in a quiet house with no children. The things that we would likely decide aren't big enough plans to hire a sitter for, but are invaluable to our marriage. This week, while the kids played with their friends at the co-op, we went to the State Fairgrounds to to Boat, Sport and Travel Show and the Motorcycle Expo. That's right--nearly 3 child-free hours of RVs, back-packing/camping, and Harley-Davidson goodness! It was glorious!!!

Saturday, we capped off the celebration with our family tradition of sharing the homemade birthday cake that Jason made for me, then (after dealing with explosive plumbing problems!) as the kids were getting ready for bed and our babysitter arrived, Jason and I slipped out for a few hours for a dinner date to Maggiano's. I've only been there one other time, and it was for appetizers only, so I was unfamiliar with how they serve. When you order a pasta dish, they serve one (huge!) portion to the table and the chef boxes a second (different, if you prefer) portion straight from the kitchen and ready to refrigerate and reheat the next day. Needless to say, we have continued the celebration today, as well, with reheated Maggiano's for both lunch and dinner. Reheated in the oven, of course!

I give most of the credit to Jason for planning most of the weekend for me, knowing what I love to do and how I prefer to celebrate--a little on the quiet side, with family and a few friends. I feel very loved and refreshed, and am eagerly looking ahead to what my 33rd trip around the sun holds!

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