Last week I celebrated my 52nd birthday. On my birth date, most years, I can honestly say that I feel four or five years younger than my chronological age. This year was unique due to the series of events I experienced, some fortunate, others unfortunate. This year I am feeling 52 years old.
A friend has reminded me that this is a transition year for me. No wonder I am feeling my age. It takes energy to transition! I am experiencing many endings and many new beginnings.
In April, I left my job as a financial advisor’s assistant to assist my husband in his own business. This has created a new and, mostly, exciting lifestyle for us. With this decision comes an opportunity for me to redefine myself and explore new interests. (Which is how I wound up with my own blog.)
In May, my son, Buddy, graduated from university with his business degree. In August, my daughter, Princess, the baby, turned 20. Now I watch as Buddy leaves for work each day in necktie and dress shoes, and I taxi Princess to and from the airport as she jets to Montreal on her days off from university. The kids were raised to be independent, functioning members of society. Although this was the plan all along, it is a bittersweet realization that my kids are young adults now. They appreciate me but they don’t need me to get through their day. Officially, the teen years have ended. Now I regard my kids with a sense of pride, as they move towards the people they’re meant to be. They have started along their own paths while I stand back and encourage.
This year I lost both of my parents, Dad in June and Mom in July. I am one in a family of four daughters, fondly known as the 4Ks, and third in the birth order. My birthday is the first to be celebrated without our Mom and Dad.
We started my special day, together, by attending K1’s church for a service dedicated to our father. As far as church services go, I’ve attended many more inspirational, but when Dad’s name was mentioned in prayers, there was a moment for pause and tears were shed. For us, it was further bonding in the grief we are each experiencing since our loss. I found it a comfort to be in fellowship with others who believe, as Dad, in everlasting life.
After the service, we gathered for our traditional lunch that was organized by K2. My family has a history of “sisterhood” and only girls attend our celebratory birthday lunches. It all started long ago with just the 4Ks and Mom but as each of our daughters matured, they were admitted to our special club. We all love it. This year we were missing K4 and her daughter, who have moved to California. And Mom.
This year I say “good-bye” to the “happy birthday” phone call from Dad the day after my celebrations (he had somehow started linking my birthday to Halloween) and Mom would not take her seat amongst her girls, beaming with joy at having us all to herself for a few hours.
But in sharing this day, we feel grateful. Neither Dad nor Mom suffered through a lengthy illness. We had loving parents, who offered each of us a good life. We are more thankful for each other than ever before. We can still order two desserts with 6 forks and enjoy every bite. Our new beginnings have commenced.
It has been quite a year. There have been celebrations and toasts to achievements. There has been time to reflect and time to cope. There has been excitement in discovering a new awareness and possibilities for myself. Adjustments have made with joy and reluctance. I recognize, but am unprepared for, the new gaping space in my life. I am searching for a rudder to steer me through to a new normal. Endings and beginnings.
So, I am feeling each and every one of my 52 years. But, by this time next year, I am sure I will have transitioned to my regular, 48 year-old self.