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Remember, I was very young then, and a year was forever and a day...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"I lead a small life...small, but valuable."
-Kathleen Kelly, "You've Got Mail"

The day started out as any other day. Jabin let me "sleep in" until five minutes after 7 before insisting that he be fed. Jude and Noah were awake and out of their rooms before I got all the way to Jabin's room. (They share a wall with his room, but in our bungalow-style house, there is a whole other set of rooms and a hallway between the master bedroom and the nursery--I use the baby monitor to tell me when Jabin is awake, but it is a minor trek to get over there and do something about it.)

So, the fact that all three children were awake precluded me from going back to bed after feeding the baby.

I put on a Feivel movie for the older boys, fed Jabin, put him back to bed, and then decided that I may as well get dressed. There just seemed like nothing better to do. Then I remembered:

"It's my birthday!"

Twenty-nine years old. The last year of excuses for immaturity. For three hundred and sixty-five more days, I will still be in my twenties. For the next three thousand, six hundred and fifty I will be existing in my thirties.

The twenties began the same year I got engaged for the first time. The same year I broke off said engagement. The same year I spent 5 months in India. The same year it seems my entire life changed--and I entered the world of adulthood.

The twenties are only a hop, skip and a jump past the teens. When you're in your twenties you can still feel like you will live forever once in a while. Your whole life is ahead of you!

The day you turn thirty, you suddenly have a ten-year buffer between you-in-the-now and the-teenage-you. While in some ways, this is good, it's kind of like entering a No-Man's-Land as far as age is concerned. You are no longer in the hip twenties, but not yet to your forties, when you have (hopefully) made something of yourself, started well on your way to raising your children successfully, and have a fairly secure financial base under you. Your whole life is NOT before you--you suddenly realize that a good chunk of it is behind you. The thirty-year-old-you is who the seventeen-year-old-you thought of as someone who was "older." An "older person." Someone much, much older than you were. While twenty was the age of emancipation, thirty seemed like a far-off, hazy future--if you even lived that long.

Now, only three hundred sixty-five more sleeps until I can kiss the hip twenties goodbye. What are the thirties? I guess I'll find out when I get there. (I suspect they will be whatever I make of them. Pretty clever, huh? I figured that one out all by myself.)

So, after I realized that this day marked the beginning of the Last Year of Hipness in my life, my day still continued to unfold pretty much the same as usual. I still went about my routine, playing with, instructing, and serving my family. I still read blogs in the morning before breakfast. I still did my office work. I still just went about the business of living. However, there were a few exceptions.

I received four Happy Birthday e-mails. One of them was from a friend who, while she obviously did not remember it was my birthday, was so good to receive a letter from--a personal note from a real person--that I'm counting it anyway. The other three were great, too--thanks for the roses, Ang, by the way! Electronic is not quite as fragrant, but definitely worth it's weight in entertainment value.

I received two Happy Birthday text messages.

I received one Happy Birthday phone call--from my brother! You have no idea how momentous this is unless you know that this may be the second (or is it the third?) time he's called me, using a real phone and everything, in five years. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been more than three. He's more the type that will drive all night from Seattle and show up on your doorstep for breakfast with no forewarning at all. The phone? Pffft! Whoever uses that archaic device? I'm sure glad he decided to suffer the inconvenience of punching buttons today instead of just hopping in the car and landing on my doorstep with a cake, albeit a slightly wilty one from twenty hours of driving--it really meant a lot, bro.

Best of all, Jason and I went on a date. A real one. We left our kids at our new friends, the Neufelds, and went to see "The Devil Wears Prada." In our small-town theatre, it was either that or "Talladega Nights"--and neither of us like Will Ferrell. It was a chick flick--we could tell even before it started, because Jason was the only guy in the sparsely-populated theatre. Beforehand, we went to DQ and got dessert--mine was a choco-strawberry milkshake. I drank about 1/4 of it before the movie, then 1/4 of it after, and decided I was done. And then I had a pounding headache for the next half hour. You'd think a girl would learn! (Man, I wish we had a Booster Juice in this town!)

The two best things that happened to me today were nearly at the end of it:

1. As we drove back up to Neufeld's house, I could see Jude in the big picture window waiting for us, grinning and waving as we drove up the block. It's not like I missed the kids while we were out, but the mere three hour break was enough to make me appreciate them that much more when we got back--and that beaming, excited cherub-face that eagerly greeted us at the door reminded me how great and special it is to be a mommy. No harder job in the world--and no better one, either.

2. As I finished up my kitchen chores for the night, after the boys were in bed, Jason came out of the office and said he was going to turn in. He asked me, somewhat nonchalantly, if I was going to blog tonight. This is not his usual going-to-bed question. Most nights I hear, "Are you coming to bed soon?" So I thought something might be up--perhaps he sent me an e-card from Blue Mountain, as he is rather fond of doing. I was not prepared for what awaited me.

No, it wasn't a room full of balloons and streamers and flowers and chocolates. (He did that for Valentine's Day when we were in college.) I came into the office and plunked down in my chair, then noticed the plain white number ten envelope propped against my computer with my first name on it, scrawled in Jason's distinctive eleven-point-font hand.

Jason has written me a few letters before, and they always melt me. But this one I shall read every day for the rest of my life. I don't know what I did to deserve a man who loves me as much as he does, but I only wish every woman was so blessed. Thank you, honey, for the best birthday gift you've ever given.

So, as I wrap up my first day as a twenty-nine-year-old, I remember that although my world seems small, and it seems I am not making much of a difference, that I should not measure my life in breadth, but in value.

And today, I know my life is valuable. (Even if the hipness is waning. --Hey, I heard that! Stop with the comments from the peanut gallery! I said "hipness", not "hippy-ness!" The Frisch child-bearing hips aren't THAT big!)

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter in strife?
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes?
How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love...

("Seasons of Love" from
Rent by Jonathon Larson)

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  1. Happy Birthday!

    I always assumed you were older than me (I am 30). Before you start hating me for saying that, it was only based on the fact that you already have three kids and I just about got through a year with my first one.

    Sounds like you had the perfect birthday there...

  2. Happy Birthday!! I'm glad your twenties are a time you look back happily at. And, I am delighted you had such a beautiful day!

  3. Oh, T. This was wonderful to read from beginning to end (including the middle). I guess 29 has a way of having a philosophical affect on you. I felt the same way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a beautiful woman and friend. It does my heart good to see the joy and blessings in your life.

  4. Rohini - I understand. I have often been caught up from the same thing--one of my best friends son turned six yesterday, and I always forget that she is not, in fact, older than me just because her oldest child almost is twice my oldest child's age.

    Ace - Thanks so much, Aakanksha!

    Colleen - Thanks so much Colleen. And for the complements, too! LY!

  5. happy belated birthday to you! may your 29th year be a true blessing in every way~! (goodness, i feel old!)

  6. Denise - Thanks so much! Sorry if my post made you feel old--that was not the intention. Really, these days, I don't think someone hits "old" until at least seventy. Unless they start believing they are much sooner than that--I've met some old twenty-two-year-olds. And some young seventy-year olds.

    From what I can tell, you are one of the "young-for-your-age" types. Good for you.

  7. Hey! I was 29 when I was your age! Happy birthday!

    Hello, Talena.

  8. Hey, this is a post from August! I just noticed that when I looked at your new post, wondering where this one went. My Google Reader just showed it to me yesterday.

    Well, happy super belated birthday anyway.

    Hello again.

  9. Well, that explains a lot. I was as confused as you--but I republished this one with labels yesterday, so that would be why. (Still a bit weird, though--usually I only get stuff e-mailed to me on the first publishing, so I would have thought the same would go for atom readers.)

    (And I am totally flattered that you have signed up for my atom feed. Bless you, young man. You just made my day.) :-)


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