Something about this dreary, (sideways-) rain day shoved me back in front of my dusty laptop. Add to that dramatic rain, Ellis is turning 4 tomorrow and I turn 40 on 10.4.
Wow, I haven’t just declared it like that until now.
Fitting birthdate as I will have lived 10 decades (x 4) come 10.4, Lord willing.
When friendlier neighbors ask my young morsels how old they are and I answer for them in whole numbers, they are quick to add, “AND A HALF!” or “But ALMOST six!” or “Almost four!”
On the other hand, there’s they Mama who enters her age on the elliptical machine more covertly than she enters her ATM PIN. (And for her weight, ‘bows be out).
When did this happen? I am open and honest to a fault but now, I hear myself lecture, “Micah, you don’t have to announce Mommy’s age when we’re walking on the sidewalk, talking about how Mommy is the oldest in our family so I should walk closest to the street to protect everyone. I mean, I’m not ashamed of my age or anything but some information is not for sharing with everyone.”
And I started using vague phrases like, “pretty big birthday coming up” even to acquaintances who already know that I won’t be turning a milestone 30 or 50.
The number is a lot to wrap my mind around. I loved my 30s. Even the word “thirty” sounds cute to me whereas “forty” with that leading “f” sounds too strong and overbearing. I was 30 when I got married, 34 when I had #1, and three days shy of 36 when I had #2, the same ages Michelle Obama, my crush, was when she had her kids.
As my baby son turns four tomorrow and I turn 40 a few days after, I feel emotional about saying goodbye to my Three Year Old baby, and goodbye to my 30s.
[Dear 30s, you were my most fulfilling decade thus far. I love you. You were a blessing beyond my technicolor dreams, though not without valleys. As I stare 40 in the face, I am overcome with gratitude for you.]
I try to be grateful, even on the days I have to force myself to be in light of certain challenges in our lives. Not because I am naturally positive or holy (ahahahaha loaded word) but because I know gratitude engenders good health.
Lately, it felt different from head-knowledge-gratitude. I’ve been FEELING so grateful that I’ve wanted to raise my hands to the heavens while walking down Queens Blvd.
And God used the things I usually cannot FEEL grateful for.
One – our too small apartment and too small kitchen. Due to an emergency gas leak, our building turned off our cooking gas, oven, and laundry for nearly two months this past summer. While I tried to remind myself that we are still among the most comfortable on this entire globe, it sucked.
Two months was a long time. I forgot what stovetop fire looked like. When I went to a friend’s house for a playdate and she turned on her stove, all casual like it wasn’t no thang, the fire looked crazy, all that blue and orange coming out of a cube, like we were in a sci-fi movie.
And when the fire re-emerged on our very own white stove, I jumped back like a cave woman, held the kids back, in awe. While I am still praying for wide open spaces, thank you LORD for the miracle of fire in our small kitchen.
Two – the subway. I can devote a whole Instagram account, if I had one, to subway experiences and observations.
The other day, during the crowded morning commute while we all tried to funnel our way in, I saw a Latina mama wearing her newborn daughter, with her older son, maybe around 10 or 11, alongside her on the platform. As crowd sardined our way in, I gestured for the son to come closer and get past me so he wouldn’t lose his mom and sister. They got settled in and he began gazing at his baby sister.
THE LOOK ON THAT BOY’S FACE? It made me tear up. How much love he had for his new sister, this new human being who had just entered his life.
That moment felt divine, downright HOLY, even as the subway made its usual delay announcements and my nostrils tried to identify different body odors and my hand squirmed for a piece of the pole.
My friend who is going through a major health hurdle told me that she started an album on her phone called “Reminders of God” as friends send her different inspirational nuggets.
As I join the 40 club, I am going to search more consistently for reminders of Him. It won’t be hard because they are everywhere.
Thank you Lord for my (nearly) 40 years. And thank You for the Peanuts movie on HBO Demand which kept the boys quiet while I cranked out this post.