Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Year of The Decades

It's funny what you reflect on sometimes. Even funnier when you are struck with something in the midst of that reflection. These little "epiphanies" make us smile, laugh, cry....bring us joy, make us wistful...and somtimes- they can suck the breath right from our lungs.
As I sit here reflecting on my "big" birthday coming later this year and imagining how it will feel to turn another decade older.....I am suddenly struck by all the other decades that are being marked this year.
You see, I'll be 50 in October. Five decades. Half a century. I've walked this planet (well, existed on it anyway) for almost 50 years. I look back through those decades and remember just how much things, times, people and myself have changed. How far I've come and how far I still have to go. I think about the milestones in those five decades and can't help but acknowledge them.
40- four decades. Four decades ago my baby brother was born. He just celebrated his 40th birthday in Vegas. Forty years and yet I can still remember the day he was born quite clearly. Waking up to bath towels on the kitchen floor and my Aunt Denise getting me off to school. Sitting in Miss Chiles' third grade classroom watching the clock and waiting for "the call" and being shocked (and confused) at how nice she was to me that day. Miss Chiles was NEVER nice to me.
30-three decades. In July three decades will have passed since I found out there was a tiny little person growing inside of me. It seems like yesterday that I sat there, crying and terrifed at the news and unable to register a single thing the nurse on the other end of the phone said to me once she uttered that word. Three decades of the scariest, most joyous roller coaster ride a person could ever take.
20-two decades. My very first baby girl will turn two decades old in May. How? How can this even be real? Wasn't it just last week that she was playing with her dolls and wearing those adorably uneven pigtails? Now she is all grown up into a beautiful mother. Where did those decades go?
And then......the breath sucker. That proverbial punch in the stomach. 10.
Ten years.
Ten years ago I sat at my desk thinking something just felt off. Ten years ago I went home from work and peed on a stick. And saw the lines. Positive. Three weeks later I stared at a screen in disbelief at not one but two tiny little people nestled in my womb. I spent the next months fluctuating between ridiculous JOY as I imagined, planned for and (im)patiently waited to meet my baby girls and sheer TERROR at the prospect of having not one but four children aged 3 and under to care for AT THE SAME TIME as well as an eight and ten year old and two newly graduated college kids. And then.....
Ten years ago I walked into a doctor's office and watched that screen, searching for some sign of life no matter how small. There were no signs. No life. Just instant, overwhelming, raw grief and an excruciating and soul shattering agony. In August- a decade will have passed since the last time my daughters took a breath. A decade of missed milestones in the midst of so many others being marked and remembered.
Yes, the breathing will be labored this year.....this year of the decades.

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