Number 40

Today is the third and final part a series featuring the other members of my writing group. Rachelle, our frequent host who makes great popcorn, is up today.  She writes poetry and prose that typically focuses on her family.

Rachelle is a Marketing Communications Manager at a publishing company. She describes herself as a 40 year old suburban mom who enjoys reading, decoupage and rollercoasters.

I never expected to be someone that is shy about their age.  But now that I am firmly entrenched in the throes of middle age, I have grudgingly become that someone.

It wasn’t always this way.  When I was a kid, birthdays were exciting occasions with parties, presents, cake, and 25 of my closest friends.  As I got older, I proudly celebrated all the birthday milestones that really mattered- my Bat Mitzvah, being old enough to drive, to vote, and to drink. But somewhere around that quarter century mark, birthdays just started getting tiresome.  By age 30, they were starting to hurt.

Turning 40 sent me into a tailspin, and I had a minor mid-life crisis.  I couldn’t afford to buy a sports car or take an expensive vacation.  I was far too chubby and lazy to have a steamy affair.  So, I decided, that was it.  I put my foot down.  The buck stops here.  From now on, I’m turning 40.  I may be old and grey and drooling in the old age home, but I will still be 40.

Funny how age works. While I readily admit to being age-averse, I would never want to go back in time and relive my more energetic youth.  Although I wouldn’t mind correcting some errors in judgment, the thought of re-experiencing high school, acne, and dating makes me cringe.

We have five kids in my modern-day blended family, ages 21, 19, 18, 17 and 8.  One can legally drink and gamble.  Two are in college.  Three can vote.  Four can drive.  And one is still my beautiful cherubic faced, curly haired baby.  She will always be my baby, even when she has babies of her own.

A few months ago, we made a birthday party for my “baby,” at Chuck E. Cheese.   It was crowded and the noise was absolutely deafening.  But it was wonderful to see her giddy with sheer delight as she stood proudly in her blue soccer uniform while we sang happy birthday, and she blew out the candles on a Costco buttercream cake.  It was her birthday, she turned eight, and she was thrilled.  So thrilled that she can’t wait for her next birthday when she will be nine.

I have heard time and time again that age is just a number.  Well, my baby’s number and the other children can continue to rise, but me – my number is 40.