I meant to write this post on the weekend I turned 56, but too many things have been happening that I haven’t caught a breath since, and it’s been more than 20 days.
It feels good to be 56. I see the wrinkles on my face and the wisps of white popping up in my temples and other unexpected places, but I can deal with all that. It’s called aging gracefully. I know I don’t look my age and I always say it’s Asian skin. (Thanks to the melanin!). It might also be because I’ve learned to embrace the passing of the years with acceptance, and a desire to enjoy life as best I can. I am in a happy place, even if a million dollars would make me happier. I could shed not just a few pounds, too, but I’ll take the pound or two that just loves me so much it refuses to leave me.
My not so little guy is actually a man now, getting ready to conquer the world and leave his mum’s protective embrace. Give me a little more time to come to terms with that as I watch him enjoy every meal I cook, or as he hugs me tenderly from out of the blue. And well trained that he is, he still calls out “I love you, mum” in the middle of his video game, guitar playing, or whatever he may be busy with. How he has grown.. how he has changed and stayed the same. If there is one proud accomplishment I can lay claim to, it’s raising this wonderful human being. Motherhood has made the passage of time easier to contend with when you see the heart in this human being you gave birth to. He is always his mother’s son— whether he’s here beside me or somewhere else being his own person. I will let go.. in time.. not just yet. So he plays the guitar and I sing “Yesterday”.. it’s our song not because of the lyric or what the song says, but simply because we can actually pull off a performance from start to finish and be proud of it. (Waiting for him to learn the other songs within my range..)
The son gifted me with two new books I requested. One was a book by former President Obama and Bruce Springsteen which, although I wasn’t a fan, was a bibliophile’s dream acquisition even if unsigned. And there was the paperback of one of my forever favorite authors, John Grisham, Rouge Lawyer. Reading has been such a welcome escape. He still owed me the dedication and birthday card. I have always been very sentimental with the birthday cards, more so from those who need to go out of their way to get one, and write from the heart. For those revealing words, I am truly grateful. And the Starbucks mug from England is a welcome addition to my collection. I always feel special when people remember I am a collector and bring me a mug home from their travels
So I laugh harder and louder. I greet everyone with a genuine optimism and joy — like I really mean the “good” when I said “Good morning.” I had a real smile on my face instead of the usual half-smile that went with the perfunctory greeting. I’m trying to learn more about hockey and trying to understand the men in ice skates and what they are all trying to do. I hang tight with the sudden u-turns but let my heart swing with the car— I don’t fight it. I try to set the pace with a gentle tug as a reminder that I take smaller strides and I don’t walk as fast. I listen but weigh the words— I watch from the distance, almost afraid to take it for what it is. In many ways, this golden girl has been jaded many times over, but not jaded enough not to enjoy the moment. There are just those moments that are meant to be savored as part of “now”, without regard for what comes tomorrow. I am happy.
Life, in general, has been busy. I feel like I am watching my days unfolding in very unexpected ways— and I’m discovering new things that have sparked joy. It was ironic that one of the best birthday presents I received actually came from someone who didn’t even know it was my birthday. It was very spontaneous and honest and raw. Who knew? Sometimes those little surprises that the universe springs upon us are the most impactful.
I feel like the universe is steering me in a certain direction that I am wary of heading towards, because of the choices that need to be made. I have always been open to the many possibilities that are out there, and I have learned to keep expectations and standards reasonable. I will take joy in any shape or form it comes in, and relish it while it is there for the taking. All I know is that I am listening to and watching how the universe is unfolding.
It was a happy birthday. I am smiling even now as I look forward to more surprises from the universe, like the ones that have come my way and have been a warm hug to my heart. I close my eyes and say a prayer of thanks. As a favorite verse says, “I know He hears. I see His sign, the ancient promise of His love.”
I give thanks. I sit in silence and listen. I just take it all in with gratitude and appreciation for all the good in my life. They have given me the strength to face the challenges and the pain with a firmer resolve to make it to another day.
I find myself in that point in my life where I’m thinking of the future. Perhaps it’s Angelo’s leaving for college. Perhaps it’s just that I have put off so many things for so long that they have caught up with me. And I’m wondering if decisions made before should be reconsidered and thought out again. In time.