Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turning Almost Thirty

Birthdays are interesting. Even in childhood they can be bittersweet. Mine is in July, so as a kid I never got to have the classroom party with everyone at school. My zodiac sign is Cancer which means literally nothing to me except that it introduced me to paranoia at an early age because I thought it meant I would get cancer as an adult. Other than those things, though, birthdays as a kid are pretty awesome. Lots of sugar, presents, and friends. As an adult it's sort of different. There is typically a lot less fanfare and slightly less sugar. 

I don't freak out about getting older because I usually already feel about 15 years older in my mind and body than I am. And because Bobby is ten years older than me, so I can always look at him and think, "Well, I'm not THAT old." But 29 has a strange feel to it. I've decided it's not even an age, it's simply "Almost thirty." Almost thirty and nearly an adult. I look at people under 25 and call them 'kids' now. Teenagers are babies. Anything below that is practically an infant.

Of course, to be fair to Almost Thirty, I might not feel the same way if I was still single. If it weren't for marriage, and children, and autism, I'm sure I would view this birthday differently. I might be panicking about how old I'm getting because my perception of life would probably be very different than it is now. There are certain things that speed up the aging process--mentally, emotionally, and physically...and there is just no avoiding it. 

I don't view this as a bad thing.

I've been married for the majority of my twenties so my experience with that decade is not exactly typical. It's probably the reason I'm not so attached to them. I think it's common for people who get married young to eventually resent the loss of what our society considers your time to be free and experience the world. The truth for me is the complete opposite of that. Marriage has taught me so much about life and relationships...how you react to people and situations, what battles are worth fighting, and what battles shouldn't even be battles. What real intimacy is, what real compromise is...just how much feeling like you're part of a team makes a difference. And I completely understand now how so many marriages in this country end in divorce. If you aren't teachable, if you can't let down your pride, if you view your own needs/wants as more important than your spouse's...it just isn't going to work. 

I'm not saying you can't learn similar lessons to these if you aren't married. I'm just saying that for me, I could never look back on the last (nearly) seven years and wish I was still single and "free", or even that I had waited longer to get married. 

I'm completely fine with Bobby being the defining moment of my twenties and I can't imagine stepping into my thirties without him.

And if marriage is about sacrifice, having children is about sacrifice on top of sacrifice, drizzled with sacrifice dressing, rolled up in a sacrifice wrap. (Sorry, it's lunch time.) But there is no greater reward, no bigger blessing, no better life coach than parenthood. My boys have softened me and very simply made me a better person.

Nothing prepares you for becoming a mom; there is no book, no amount of information or anecdotes that is going to make you feel completely capable the first time that baby is placed in your arms. But in my mind, there is no circumstance life can throw me where I don't feel like motherhood has prepared me to take it on. If I can be a semi-successful mom (by the sheer grace of Jesus only), then I feel like I can handle pretty much anything else.

*Autism hears this and bulldozes its way through*

I've talked before about how I refuse to celebrate autism in the terrifying way this country is trying to make me. Autism is NOT a blessing in disguise, it is NOT how God made Joshua different and special, it IS an intruder that is holding my little boy hostage, period. 

But...

I have figured out a little something about embracing the journey and gleaning what you can from it, no matter how horrible it is. I'm going to allow my faith to be proven and let patience have its perfect work. I'm going to exhibit persistence in faith. I am going to fight the good fight and finish the race. Because if there is one thing autism has awakened in me, it's the will to fight until the end, no matter what anyone around you says or thinks. These will not be wasted years spiritually, and what the enemy has stolen will be repaid with interest.

My twenties have been full of ups, downs, and everything in between and I have one more year to add to them. I am so grateful for this life I have been blessed with and I can't wait to watch the rest unfold. 

Here's to taking it all in and making it count.

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