Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday's Reflection: Forty Years

When my mother would call to wish me "Happy Birthday," she would add, "I can't believe you are x years and that makes me x years." I admit I was irritated by her need to focus on what MY birthday meant about her own age, but our daughter Kate turns 40 this month, and now I find myself thinking about the relevance of those years in my own life. How is it possible that I have a daughter who is 40, I think, and yes, that means, I am 66. How did that happen? Sorry, Mom, I now understand why my birthdays were not just a celebration of my life, but also a measurement of yours. 

I look at our beautiful and talented daughter, who seems to handle all the facets of her busy life with such ease, and see that she is in the prime of her life. Her husband Mike and the kids, her work, including a new business she is starting, 9 Open Doors, Enneagram Coaching and Consulting, volunteer work, care of her home, her extended family, and friends, and attention to her own physical and emotional needs all add up to a bustling, on-the-go life. She seems to thrive, and I am in awe. 

I'm lucky, for I am her mother and therefore, she is a key person in my life, but if I didn't have the good fortune of being in that role Kate is someone I would want to know. Clearly, I am not the only one, for at the birthday party Mike arranged for her the other night, their backyard was full of friends and family who love and respect her. 

Yes, this is her time to celebrate and be celebrated, but one of the gifts of having children is how they become a measure of our own days. 

* 40 years ago Bruce graduated from medical school and started his residency in family practice in Minneapolis. For forty years he has been a vital and caring physician to families and individuals in all stages of life. Now Dr. B is in a new stage of life himself--partial retirement and working from home. 

* 40 years ago I ended my teaching career as a high school English teacher, but over the years I reclaimed and reformed myself as a teacher in a variety of ways; ways I could never have imagined when I left my classroom at Webster Groves High School on that last day. Today I wonder what the next form my life as teacher will take. 
 * 40 years ago Bruce and I moved from St Louis, where he attended medical school, to St Paul. He drove the U-Haul truck, and I drove our car. I was pregnant, very pregnant, and we had no idea yet if we would get the loan for the house we hoped to buy. Fortunately, we did get the loan, but we had to live with my parents for a month before we closed on that house. A testament to  my parents' generosity. Since then we have moved many times and 40 years later we now live in the very same neighborhood, only blocks away, from our first house. 
 * 40 years ago we became parents for the first time, and we embarked on four decades of life, love, surprises, jolts, obstacles, changes, delights, and growth, so much growth. However, we didn't always take the time to acknowledge it all. That's what this time--40 years later--is for. 

Kate is 40 this month and Geof turned 35 in March, and yes, I wonder how it is possible that the time has passed so quickly. I have a hard time remembering myself at those ages, and I suspect they are living in a more conscious and intentional way than I did. I hope so. I know they have given so much to us, and I look at them and the passage of time with wonder and gratitude. 

* 40 years ago was a time of huge change for us. This past year has been another time of huge change for us, as well. It is good to honor our own resiliency and adaptability and to count our joys. 

An Invitation
What milestones have made you look back over your life recently? How do you measure your days? Are there ways you need to acknowledge the passage of time? I would love to know. 


  1. She's a beauty, inside and out! Congratulations to all of you. Love M

  2. Wow, Mom. Thank you! I love you!

  3. I am glad you don't kind the focus on you, but you deserve it. I love you, too.


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