(Thoughts on 30...originally published in my Lipstick & Pearlscolumn at the Hillsboro Free Press)
It’s the start of a new decade this week. I turn 30. Over the past days, a few friends asked if I was doing anything special to celebrate. The answer: not really. At least nothing big.
My mom and I are going shopping without kids. (So I guess that’s pretty big in and of itself. I won’t have to chase kids out of the clothes racks. Or continually repeat the phrase “stay with me.” My mom won’t try to run away from me.... At least I don’t think she will.)
Anyway, I figured the big day would arrive. I would pour myself a big cup of coffee, sit down at the computer and receive my Facebook well-wishes with a gratified status update. I would fill both daughters’ cereal bowls at least three times each. And maybe I would also have time to eat something before the morning disappeared.
My girls would be excited about my birthday for a few minutes then go about their day. And my son won’t really care how old I am as long as he is well-fed, well-rested and clean.
The day would be just another one. Thirty would just be a number. No big deal.
But Sunday evening, it was a big deal. My mom, along with a bunch of accomplices, threw me a surprise party.
Admittedly, I’ve given my mom a hard time for me being the lone child who didn’t receive a surprise party growing up—which she argues...but I’m pretty sure she’s remembering my sister’s party. Anyway, it was worth the wait.
I had no idea of everything that was going on behind my back. In fact, my only tip came when my husband asked me if I was sure I wanted to wear sweats to go get pizza.
I said, “What, are we going to a surprise party? It's just Gambino’s!”
But just in case, I discarded the sweats in favor of jeans.
The girls got in a knock-down, drag-out fight right before we were going to leave. And I was tempted to throw in the towel. But my craving for Gambino’s cheese sticks won out and we loaded the van.
But instead of driving out of town to Marion, we turned on Wilson Street...and then I knew. And to solidify things, my daughters kept pointing out all the familiar vehicles gathered in one location.
Friends and family were waiting to usher me into the 30 Club. And for me, whose primary “love languages” are quality time and words of affirmation, having a bunch of wonderful people in the same place was the best gift I could have received.
I’ve been blessed these past 30 years. And having a party with my loved ones was the perfect way to be reminded of that.
While turning 30 doesn’t make me feel old, it’s humbling to realize I have three decades of memories to celebrate. And lots of people to thank for contributing.
From family I have known since the beginning, to people who have become family more recently. From my college roommate to my first Bible study group right out of college (between the six of us, we now have 19 kids). Plus even more wonderful friends from church and other small groups I’ve been a part of. We’ve shared so much, and I am thankful. And happy.
And as soon as my Gambino’s craving has also been satisfied, I will be fully prepared to tackle the next years.