As I am sitting here on this beautiful beach with my beautiful children, I can’t help but reflect back on the first year of my 40s. I always thought turning fourty was becoming “over the hill”. Funny thing is, I don’t feel old. Well, I lie. I do feel old when I wake up in the morning with an aching back, aching feet and joints popping that I wasn’t aware I have. Other than that, I don’t feel that old. So, I started reflecting back on my life, where I was at 20, at 30, and now.
At 20, I was in the middle of nursing school at Clemson and working part time as a nursing assistant. I thought I knew exactly how my life was going to turn out. I was going to be married right out of nursing school (nevermind the fact that I did not have a boyfriend, nor did I have the time for one). I planned to be done with having my 4 kids by the time I was 30. Um, yeah. That didn’t happen.
At 30, I was a still-single RN working in the war zone that is the ER. It was just me and my dog, and I liked it that way, or so I told myself. I dropped the dreams of 20 and decided I would have three kids instead of four. I was still misguided and waiting for Prince Charming.
My thirties were a whirlwind of good and bad. Pretty much everyone who knows me or has read this blog knows about the bad. The good happened on 6/10/2007 and 1/23/2010. My two boys changed everything about me. I am somebody’s mom. Being the mom of these two is way cool. They are neat guys. I’ve learned not to freak out (visibly anyway) when they do backflips off the couch or jump to the floor from the highest step possible. I try not to roll my eyes when my oldest is in the middle of a 20 minute long dissertation about the finer points of Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U versus Mario Kart 7 on Nintendo 3DS, while I am trying to get him to go to sleep, mind you. I indulge his need to watch the weather radar when it storms, watch tornado videos, and learn everything possible about moons, stars, and planets. He has a million questions, always, and is 100 times smarter than I was at the same age. He wants to be a scientist when he grows up, and I’m good with that. I’ve learned much about autism, courtesy of my youngest. I’ve learned he is more than his diagnosis, he is himself, 100% tenacious little boy who is incredibly knowledgeable about every John Deere model of farm equipment ever made and the difference between Matchbox Cars and Hot Wheels. He also knows every line of The Lego Movie verbatim and recites them as we watch the movie for the 1000th time.
At 40, I have discovered that I didn’t get my Prince Charming, but I did get two little princes. Life has done a 180 in the past year, but I think the three of us are happier for the change. When Mommy is happy, everyone is happy. Something about 40 makes a person let go of the old and start over anew. Throw out the old baggage, so to speak. One hopes that the lessons learned along the way will stick and bad choices will not be repeated.
As I start to traverse my “over the hill” years, I have hopes. I still have dreams. I still wonder about Prince Charming, like where the hell he is and why hasn’t he shown up yet, but that’s another blog post. Most of all, I am at peace with who I am and feel content. As much as I can be when listening to my 7 year old and almost 5 year old call each other crazy buttheads and fartknockers, while I am typing this. *sigh* And it begins…