I just got dragged kicking and screaming out of my 30’s this week. My husband Ian woke me up at 12:30am on May 15 to whisper, “Happy Birthday…how does it feel to be 40?” It didn’t feel good. A few tears even popped into my eyes. My 30’s were really, really over. What does it mean to be a 40-year-old woman? And why is it bothering me like this?
Friends and family showered me with love on that milestone day with cards, messages, flowers, wine, and my favorite treat: chocolate-covered strawberries. Ian and I had margaritas at lunch and a divine Italian dinner for two at our favorite restaurant while sweet messages continued to pour in. By the end of the day, I felt a little like George Bailey in the last scene of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Milestones really help you realize how many awesome people you’ve collected in your life.
Now that the “death of my youth” has sunk in (thanks to the smartass friend who posted that thoughtful comment on Facebook!) I am making peace with it. What does it mean to be 40?
I think I see the answer in a Mother’s Day photo Ian snapped at the ballpark last weekend. In my face, I see happy eyes with some “smile lines” at the corners. I see lips that turned up in a sincere smile but bare of lipstick after a long day chasing kids at ballgames. I see wind blowing through messy hair that still held a bit of wild curl and bobby pins from a play the night before. I see a woman surrounded by love in the form of a tiny “funnygirl” who keeps her young, a blonde 8-year-old beauty who helps her see rainbows through rain, and a tall, handsome pre-teen ballplayer (just an inch or so away from eclipsing her height) who just handed his mom yellow roses.
I see the love in the man behind the camera who insisted that his wife allow him to capture this moment (even though she was hesitant because of her lack of makeup and the after-effects of a late night cast party.)
It’s a picture I couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago. Or even 10.
This is 40. This is okay.
No. Not okay. This is GOOD.