Another Year Older

On this very day, many moons ago, I was born.  Recently, I read a someecard that said, “I find it strange that we celebrate you on a day that your mother did all the work.”  In all the previous years of my life when my mom was alive, this never occurred to me, but today I’m thinking about it.  24 years ago, she was in a hospital room, very much in pain, and very exhausted (because I was one of those annoying twenty-three-hour-labor babies).  Today, I sit comfortably in our house, a little tired (cause it’s late), but not in pain.  At least, not in any physical pain.

This weekend, we got our first cold front of the season, which ushered in the beginning of fall weather.  Because it was autumn when I returned home from California last year, because all winter she was so sick and then passed away, the cold weather ushered in a whole host of renewed emotions of the mother I loved and lost.  I don’t know if I’ll feel this way every fall, but since this is the first return of cold weather since I lost her, I feel this way now.

Last year on my birthday, I was happily in AmeriCorps NCCC, and I had no idea what was in store for me in my 23rd year.  I had a modest, but lovely, birthday celebration with my TL friends – in fact, at midnight, because another TL was born October 6th, and so we tag-teamed.  My mom wasn’t with me, but she sent me a care package with an abnormally large and hilarious singing card.  She was always so good with birthdays, holidays, and surprises in general.  The last birthday we celebrated together was hers, last November.  It was the day after Thanksgiving, and our friends Cathy and Brian came over for leftovers.

I’m not sure how I feel about turning 24.  As I told my friend Jess, now that we’re 24, we’re officially in our mid-20s.  Sure, I still have 5 more birthdays to celebrate being a 20-something, this is the beginning of the end of my youth.  I don’t mean that to sound morbid or pessimistic, but it’s the truth.  I was thinking as I drove back from Yorktown today about how much I know now compared to when I was 17.  There was very little that troubled me at the age of 17, other than my grades and college plans.  I wonder what I’ll be thinking about when I’m 31 about my 24-year-old self.

My mom always told me that she wanted me to be happy.  She also made a real point of telling me that she was proud of the person I’d become.  In fact, the term she used was “person I’d grown up to be,” but somehow that doesn’t sit well with me.  I’ve done so much growing up this year, and I’ve got so much growing up left to do.  There’s so much I haven’t learned, so many things I haven’t experienced.

I have big plans for the coming year.  After today’s meeting, I plan to volunteer regularly with the National Park Service.  I’m going to continue to get organized so that I can move confidently in the direction of my dreams.  And I’m going to make sure the important people in my life know how much they mean to me.

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