I definitely have a lot to be thankful for and a holiday to reflect on that is a wonderful thing. My husband and partner in this crazy journey turned 40 this month. It’s so hard to believe that I met him about a month before his 29th birthday at a Boulder bar near closing time, and here we are now. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t learned how to make an overseas phone call, naively not realizing it would cost me about $200 to simply dial the few numbers, to wish him a Happy Birthday?!
It’s funny what a 40th birthday can bring up, even for those of us affiliated with the honoree. He definitely had some issues and spent a weekend riding around in a bus and drinking beer with childhood friends, bless his little heart. But it’s odd knowing I’m married to a 40-year-old man—how did that happen? Planning his birthday party brought back a lot of memories of being involved in my Mom’s planning of my Dad’s 40th birthday party. My Dad still seems 40 to me, which still seems a lot older than me. Steve turning 40 made me realize my own parents are in fact in their late 60s, just like my grandparents were at the time of my Dad’s party. It’s also made me realize that I’M nearing 40 myself! We are middle-aged, adult parents with school-aged kids. Wow! Somebody pinch me!
I guess maybe I always thought my parents had it so pulled together by the time they reached this age, and were so wise and adult, and I still feel like a floundering mess half the time. I’m now learning that they didn’t necessarily believe that about themselves at the time. I wonder if I’m fooling my kids as much as they possibly fooled me?
Anyway, it all made me feel very proud of my husband and the man he is. He had a tough upbringing and it took him awhile, but he’s become a teacher to tough kids that most of us wouldn’t go near with a 10-foot pole. He’s an incredible, involved and devoted father and husband and he enjoys showing everyone around him a good time. He does not refuse a request for help. In my mind he’s done well in his 40 years! Reflecting on his life now made me feel so blessed to be in the season of our lives that we are in, and feel more secure about being these middle-aged parents, floundering or not. It’s a beautiful time and I’m glad we have each other to share it with.
Last weekend, a bit early, we celebrated our 3rd Thanksgiving over here—can you believe it?! It was an absolutely gorgeous, perfect day, filled with lovely, fun, kind, generous, supportive friends that I cherish. We had every American we could round up, a few South Africans, who have American ties and who I just feel a kinship with having all made the same big move. We also had a few Australians who have celebrated with us now for more than one year, and we added in our neighbors this year, to make it feel truly authentic—the Pilgrims (us) sharing a feast with the Natives, who have helped us to feel more comfortable in our new home and showed us the lay of the land. And the difference with our feast is, we won’t steal their land and wipe them out after! Bad joke, I know. But…..All in all 40 people, half of them under age 6, filled our home with fun, fellowship and food for the day. And even though I will always miss being in the USA among extended family on that day (I know I will especially miss it on Friday here this week, when everyone there is celebrating), our celebration was a pretty darn good substitute, I must say. Even better in its own way. I really can’t even compare the two.
And, now that all that’s over, focus has turned to preparing to head out of town next Friday! Wow! In some ways I can’t believe it’s here, and in others, if it wasn’t here, I’d be a wreck. There is SO much to do to get ready—a long time to be gone and a long distance to go. But it is fun preparation.
Unfortunately, we’ve had some tough issues that have come up lately related to Drew’s toileting abilities/choices and Zach’s meal time behavior. To add to that, for some reason, I haven’t been feeling very well physically and haven’t been sleeping well for a few nights now, so yesterday and today things imploded a bit and I haven’t behaved like the person I want to be. Thankfully, I’ve learned what I need on days like these: I hid my embarrassment and sought out a trusted friend and had a good cry. I also had tea! I think it actually does help! 😉
I also had to deal with some difficult people over the weekend, and try as I might to learn healthy coping techniques: not letting others’ behavior affect me, feeling empathy for them related to their life experiences and how they’ve unfortunately responded to them, adjusting my own expectations as to how people should behave, realizing that we don’t get our happiness based on how other people behave but rather by how we react, etc., when I actually have to spend concentrated time with people who I don’t feel are treating my family members kindly and lovingly, it affects me deeply. I wish it wouldn’t. Sigh. Guess all I can do is keep trying……
The issues with my kids make me feel like an incompetent parent. I go way back! Steve is surprised at my memory, but I worry that leaving Drew to cry for too long or trying to be more disciplined about his feedings as a baby, rather than feeding fully on-demand, have caused this problem. I know it might sound silly, but it honestly sounds plausible to me.
Anyway, Drew’s teachers really helped this morning. They said it’s very common; it’s typically related to nothing more than being too busy to stop to go to the toilet and I shouldn’t be concerned at all for the next 2-3 years. Whew! Another friend really helped by suggesting a fantabulous reward system on our trip, if nothing else to save our own sanity and the flooring and noses of the people around us! The worries of how it would affect our travel and the people we’ll be around, honestly, greatly added to the stress I have been feeling over his issues.
As for Zach, we will try his own spectacular reward system and hope with fingers crossed that he does not embarrass us nightly at dinner. He seems to behave better when other people are around anyway. I lost it a bit on him today—not proud of myself for that. But we did just take a nap together and we are back to good.
If I can just get my physical health back to normal, the day should go much better now!
Just a quick update on our plans until we go, because I don’t know when I will write again:
-We all will experience our 1st school “swimming carnival” on Friday. From what I can tell, it sounds like Field Day, but instead involves races in the school’s own outdoor pool. I know Drew will love it and I am excited to watch him!
-We are hoping to get in a good beach day on Saturday. Our best laid plans on getting to the proper beach kept getting waylaid these past couple months and we have all been hoping for one good day before we head to the cold for a while, knowing, of course, that it’s been mostly fun plans that have been preventing us from going anyway, so either way is really fine.
-My company has its annual Christmas party on Saturday night. Our neighbors are generously keeping the boys for a sleepover, so Steve and I are all set to enjoy a truly no cost night out.
-Monday and Tuesday are my last days of work for the year (I’ve slowed down the freelance writing this month already and finished up everything to get my Level 2 Yoga certificate as well. I teach Drew’s class for practice for the last time tomorrow.) and Zach’s last days of day care. Next year, he will go to preschool/kindy !
-The boys wrap up their swimming lessons on Wednesday.
-Steve and Drew finish up work and school next Thursday, and then Drew will officially be a 1st grader!
-Next Friday, we are off! We fly to Sydney and then have a layover of over 4 hours (blah!), then to LA, then to Dallas. We arrive there Friday night and sleepily rent a car and drive out to my former boss/dear friend’s house for the night. Saturday we are off to Austin and San Antonio until Wednesday. We drive back to Dallas that night to be at the airport again by 4:30 the next morning and by 7:30 Thursday morning, we should be in Denver!!!!
We’ve got plenty of family and friend celebrations planned as well as fun in the snow. I haven’t decided yet how “connected” to technology I want to be (obviously, I’m pretty connected these days!). My latest decision is that there’s no need to decide. I can work all that out……