Nobody Warned me About the Forties

IMG_20160531_160410432_HDRAnd I kind of wish someone had. It’s a horrible decade. It’s a beautiful decade. And I think I can summarize that in my day today. It’s kind of a step-by-step thing so if that kind of writing bores you, x out now 🙂

The featured image? The only relation to today was that it was actually taken while I worked today. To show my dad my setup, which will have to suffice for the next week since I accidentally left my real monitor in our other house. First world problems, I know. But it’s still not totally cool.

Yesterday was a great day. It was a holiday (Memorial Day), and I was filled with a sense of thankfulness for the veterans in my life even as I chose to work instead of joining the locals at the parade. I was happy to cover while some of my co-workers spent time with family and friends. And I still had a great day. That contentment paved the way into my day this morning, which started off swimmingly.

With a slight downer. A friend wanted to get together with our three sons and us before we broke apart. I had the harsh realization that we would have that option for literally two evenings before November. And even then, it would never be in this home again. Ah, well. Life goes on.

I was already ahead in my personal work goals, and we had some interesting issues at work that we (my team-mates and I) resolved. I LOVE it when I can really help people. Noon came, and I had an enjoyable team meeting over Zoom, with 16 co-workers from around the world. I love seeing their faces. Do you see a common thread in this paragraph? I’m intensely into my job, and I love it. It’s the job I began in my forties (when I was 42, actually).

So work was happening, life was going, and as my meeting began I kissed my middle son and waved to his girl as they headed out to Pennsylvania for work training. That letting-go part of parenting that’s still a bit unnerving. And the mail came. It contained info about housing for college for my youngest baby, who is starting college this fall.

Zeb’s leaving and Hudi’s mail ripped my heart a little, but mostly I’m proud of them and happy for them. My meeting ended, and I entered another meeting in which people volunteer time to write lesson plans so inner city kids can learn how to create websites. Nobody has time for anything, yet these people meet weekly to volunteer their expertise to help others. It always inspires me. Good, good people. And one of them is a friend I get to spend a week a year with at Bible camp. So fun to work with her there.

That meeting ended as I headed out for a walk with a friend who has been a buddy for 20+ years. What a gift she is in my life. I have now officially moved, and I’m technically back in town visiting, so we spent a good bit of time dredging up memories of our kids as they grew. She also learned details of my son’s recent engagement. Such joy! But bittersweet since we had to shorten our visit as people came to check out our house for possible rental.

It went well. I think they like it, and we only want the house to go to people who really appreciate it. We’re good with this family. But it also symbolized a clear cut with our decades of reality in the place we have called home.

No time to dwell on that. They left, and I immersed in work again (how lucky am I to have this job where I can work flexible hours like this?!?) for a while. Then Lauren came in to update me on wedding plans. We hit the Internet–hunting for party favors, table decorations and wedding gowns. It was while we were doing this that I found out that a good friend got a job she was interviewed for. And I found out another friend died. So as we celebrated weddings, work, moves and life in general, we also found ourselves donning fancier garb before heading to the funeral parlor for viewing hours.

Before we did anything else, I checked in with my parents. Both of whom have had some stints in the hospital for different issues (they are both home and well on the road to recovery now). While I was on the phone, my husband was on his phone, talking with our son who had made it to his destination in PA, but was reporting a bit of car trouble. Chris talked him through some options. Then we had a nice dinner and headed to our cars.

I stood in line at the viewing. It was particularly heart-wrenching because the grandmother in the family had also passed on, so it was a double funeral. Wife and mom. The line was long and somewhat slow, and I looked at the faces of people I have seen for nearly three decades. Good people, hard-working, honest people. People I’ve been thrilled to have my kids grow up amongst.

And I realize, once again,  it’s kind of hard to leave.

I also realize that the memories that make it so hard to leave are some of the greatest gifts one might receive. That young man smiling at me, telling me all is okay since his mom is now in a happier place? Yeah, that was the kid who talked to me non-stop on the school bus on the fourth grade field trip. That man ahead of us in line? He not only went to college with me, but he was one of the best teachers my son was privileged to have.

People hugged, people laughed, people cried. We have lived, we have loved, and now we are moving on.

The memories and joy will remain. Blessings. Gifts. Not always easy.

I didn’t realize the emotional upheaval one faces in the forties. It’s kind of exhausting, but brilliantly so. This is my day. This is my life. I’m so thankful. 🙂

7 responses to “Nobody Warned me About the Forties”

  1. Chrissie! What a full, rich life you are leading.
    And what an emotional rollercoaster! Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but I will: You think the forties are wild. You wanna try the fifties. Whew!
    PS Not the slightest bit bored by this kind of writing. It’s real. It’s gritty. It’s heartfelt. It’s human. Thank you. I am humbled.

    • Thanks for the warning of the fifties. I will brace myself. I do plan to give the fifties a try at some point 🙂

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