40! It just doesn't seem possible. I've been dreading leaving my 30s, which were awesome.
I think I've been dreading it because of the memory I have of my mother turning 40. She had a terrible bout of the flu the week before her birthday. One night while she was sick, she got up, passed out, and gashed her head, resulting in a midnight trip to the E.R. A few days later it was her birthday, and I can see the photo in my mind's eye - my brothers and I gathered around our mom, who is sporting a tired face and a head wound. I hope I gave her a nice present that year, but seeing as I was a preteen goofball, the chances are good that I didn't.
|Not "the" photo, but same era|
Now, I know her appearance in that photo had nothing to do with being 40, but my subconcious has held on to the idea of "40 = tired and wounded." And I'm happy to report that the Big Day arrived and it felt normal. Not old. Not wounded. I spent a lovely day with my five favorite people in the Big City, doing some of my favorite things - eating good food, and sitting on a beautiful beach. Then -to take advantage of being in the big city - we did one of my most unfavorite things - shopping for jeans. (Grace: why can't I find jeans long enough? Me: Because you're a giantess living in Asia, my dear.)
After pondering 40 for a while I came to the conclusion that it feels about right. We're past the little kid years and firmly planted in the middle years with kids in elementary school and high school.
I still play basketball (more than I ever did as a junior varsity Jenkins High School Warrior Bench Warmer), I watch cartoons, I love candy, I like comics, I listen to whatever music my teens do. I Just Dance. That all makes me feel young, and like I couldn't possibly be older than 26. But then, there's the side of me that seems a bit old, if not old-fashioned, the side of me that likes to take naps, read Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and resist new technology. I took an online quiz that said I was 64. David says I was born a hundred years too late.
So maybe 40 is about right.
In other news, we sent our two high schoolers off on the annual Outdoor Education trip this week. They're deep in the interior of Papua now, serving the people of the Kosarek area in a variety of ways: water storage projects, kids' clubs, HIV-AIDS awareness programs, and medical clinics. Grace left not feeling well, and she was a bit nervous about the whole thing. Carter - this being his third OE - was hyped about the trip. David got to fly them in and see them off.
I struggled with saying goodbye to them. Each small goodbye like this feels like a warm-up, a rehearsal for the BIG goodbye that looms in the not-too-distant future for our family. Carter graduates from high school next year and will be moving back to the U.S., and it is a scary thought to ponder, him on one side of the globe, and us on the other.
The updates we're getting are very positive - kids are healthy, they're vaccinating people against measles, hiking to other villages, doing work projects, just all kinds of cool stuff. Hopefully in my next post I'll have some of their stories and photos to share.