Friday, September 19, 2008

Thoughts on Turning Fif....Fif...25x2

It’s true: time flies when you’re having fun. That’s why I’m having a hard time believing that I turn 50 today…I just don’t feel like I’ve been alive that long. And yet when I consider how much the world has changed since I arrived well into the Baby Boom years, I realize that 50 years is a long time (gulp).

When I was little, ladies wore hats and gloves to church; now some wear jeans and show cleavage. My dad, my grandpa and all of my uncles smoked, as did several of my aunts. Many of the adults I’d see in cars, restaurants and on the street smoked; now I don’t see many smokers in public at all, and no one in my family smokes except one aunt.

As a child, I rode in heavy metal cars with lots of chrome; now cars are plastic or thin metal, and they’re smaller and have more safety features. I remember holding my baby sister in the car; no, she wasn’t in a baby seat, nor did I wear a seat belt.

Like the rest of the kids in my neighborhood, I walked to school in the morning, walked home for lunch (and Bozo’s Circus on channel 9 at noon), walked back to school after lunch and walked back home at 3 o’clock. I always felt safe, because most of the houses I passed had moms in them. In fact, I didn’t know anyone whose mom had a job outside the home until I was in high school.

I never thought much about what it would be like to be 50 someday, but I have to admit there have been a few surprises. I didn’t think I’d need bifocals until much later, and who knew all those fillings my childhood dentist gave me would give out in my 40s, so that I now have more crowns than the Queen of England?

I don’t mind the gray hair (my crown of glory, according to the Bible) or the crow’s feet and smile lines (from lots of good times and laughter), but gravity is definitely taking its toll in a few places. Luckily, I don’t have my glasses on when I come out of the shower, which faces the mirror.

A sad surprise has been how many friends I would lose before I hit 50. A couple of my high school friends passed away within a few years of graduation. One of my childhood friends was murdered the year we turned 30; a pregnant homeschooling mom I knew passed away in her sleep two years later. My friend Linda died four years ago this month after fighting an aggressive cancer. My friend Gary died suddenly a few months ago. I guess I assumed all of us would make it to old age.

Other surprises: My dh and I bought our first house when we were 22, which might explain why I never dreamed I’d be renting a home at 50. But that’s how it worked out, and I’m certainly not complaining! God has blessed us with a nice home in a beautiful area, and while I don’t know what the future holds, I know He has it in His hands.

I also assumed I’d be working full-time outside the home by now, but instead I have a small business and can work at home, plus I’m fortunate enough to still have two kids at home, and to be able to homeschool them. This sure beats the high-powered career the 1970s feminists told my generation we’d need in order to be happy.

A few things do not surprise me. I’m not surprised that I’m still married…I never had any doubts that it would last, because God gave me a wonderful husband. Nor am I surprised that I love motherhood every bit as much as I thought I would. It’s been a fantastic experience that I continue to enjoy as the mom of two adults and two teens….and since last year, mother-in-law to one more!

As for the future, and the thought of turning 60, or 70, or 80, or even older (my great aunt lived to be 104!), that’s in God’s hands. Each year, more and more, I see His hand in everything, as He patiently reminds me that He’s in charge, and it’s all good.


Katherine said...

Happy birthday! I hope you have some time to celebrate with family!

Janet said...

Wow, what a great post. I loved it. Happy 50th! That is something wonderful to celebrate!!!!

Jen said...

Happy Birthday! Love the reflections on changes in our society...I too remember walking all over the neighborhood with my siblings and seeing all the moms. I hope it's a world we'll know again some day.

Melissa Markham said...

Happy Birthday! I enjoyed reading your post and walking down memory lane with you.

Blessings, friend!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!!!!!!! September birthday are the best! ;)

Brumbemom said...

Hey Barb. Happy belated birthday! I turned 42 this year and I have figured out that life tends to get better with age. I like thinking that I am little bit more mature/experienced than I was last birthday.
Happy Birthday again!!

Mamosa said...

I loved that post! Happy Birthday!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday!!!!

I beat you by a few months ;-)

Barbara Frank said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for the lovely birthday greetings. Thanks also to those who did so via email :)

Barbara Frank said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for the lovely birthday greetings. Thanks also to those who did so via email :)

Renae said...

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

I noticed this post a couple days ago, but wanted to wait until I could really read it. Thank you for sharing your reflections on turning 25x2. ;)

You give me great hope that I will walk through the coming years with graceful speech and smiling eyes.