Wow, 46 years! I am sure I am not the first person to ask themselves repeatedly, ” Where does the time go?” It just flies by.
One year you are almost four passing the swim test for the neighborhood pool. The lifeguard is defensively telling your mother, ” But ma’am , I know the sign says anyone that passes the swim test can come to the pool by themselves, but she is four! ” To which your mother replies, ” Oh no, as long as that is your rule, you will let her take the test.” And then she stands there on a 60-something degree day waiting and watching proudly as you pass the test and you smile because she believed in you, even when you started to sink really low.
The next thing you know you are five living in PA with your grandparents and mom and sister while your dad is on an isolated tour of duty in Korea for a year. You wake up every day from nap time to your mom drying her eyes from writing your dad his daily letter and you get your first glimpse of real love and dedication. Then you walk to Joyner’s Store with your sister and cousins for real five and dime candy.
Then these fantastic years of elementary school with great friends that you still keep in touch with just fly by. Softball games, Girl Scouts, the pool, hours on the playground, digging holes on the playground while carefully laying sticks and newspaper to recover the holes only for some unsuspecting slide rider to come crashing down through the ground ( kids, don’t try this at home), first dances at the chapel, shooting spaceships from the back of a hatchback on the way home from the original release of the first Star Wars.
The next thing you know you spot the love of your life in middle school. Move to the rival school when your parents buy a house and make some of the dearest lifelong friends.
High school just buzzes by with sports, plays and musicals, dances, Keyettes, wearing your dad’s flight suit to school with bowling shoes with your buddy, burning tires at Reichle’s property, playing flashlight tag on the battlefield, stopping in at Pops for a game-winning hot dog, hanging out at Heritage Square McDonalds, cruising Yorktown and falling in love with the love of your life.
The next thing you know you are making memories at Ferrum College sliding on cafeteria trays in the snow-filled hills while starring as the lead in the school plays. A transfer to Old Dominion University to be with the one you love and joining Circle K co-ed service fraternity proves to be a fun, rewarding and bonding experience as you navigate school and then, poof, you are married.
Along comes your first precious little one and you learn to make the best monkey impersonations with him while eating your sandwiches on the bench in front of the monkey cage at the zoo. Then along comes another boy and another boy and a girl all in less than five years and your home and your heart are overflowing with love.
You spend the next nine years living life with amazing friends watching your children grow together. You share heartaches and sorrows and great mountain top joys. It is one of the most remarkable and unforgettable times in your life. Another sweet girl and then another and then you move.
Seminary stretches your family beyond words. Homeschool begins. So many times of laughter and tears, lessons learned, opportunities to be creative, and having two more boys. Up and down the highway you go between NC and OH making precious friends as you journey.
You move to your hometown and spend sweet time in ministry while you live life and make memories with your wonderful parents, family and great friends. God completes your family with the arrival of your baby girl. There are roller coasters and water slides to ride, special breakfasts, coffees in the vault, musicals, vacations, conferences, canoes to row, boats to ride, graduations, children to college, children married, floods to navigate, stopping by the parents’ house for candy and lunch, and just wonderful days lived.
The next thing you know, you are back in OH, reconnecting with precious friends from the past and making dear new ones, living in a house you feel you were born to live in, still learning and growing as a mom, relearning grammar despite your college English major, Reds games, sledding, pools, playgrounds, being blessed not once but twice as a Mamie as your wonderful daughter-in-law gives birth to two incredibly, beautiful redheads 19 months apart and then…
You wake up on the morning of your 46th birthday wondering why your organic honey nut oats cereal with strawberries and coconut milk is crackling like it is really Rice Krispies. You decide to eat it anyway because you realize getting older isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ve had one of the hardest years of your life during many moments as you work with your aging body whose hormones are misbehaving , so you decide, shoot, it’s going to take more than a chemical reaction in my bowl of cereal to take this girl out. I have a lot more living to do, so on brave days and happy days, I plan to do just that…LIVE, surrounded and supported by a loving family, grand friends near and far, embracing the laughter and the tears, looking for the next slide to ride, sunset to see ( very rarely a sunrise, I am not an early riser), concept to learn, and feeling blessed and grateful all along the way. You even smile when your four year old gasp and then says, ” WOW!” when she ask how old you are today.
Thank you God for the 46, I am looking forward to more 🙂