One of the first signs signifying a serious relationship between Mike and me came when his mother gave us a few pieces of Fiestaware. I’d expressed interest in colorful tableware. Her purchasing us a chip and dip platter and a bread plate signified that this was a relationship headed towards bigger steps. A year later, we were engaged and received several more pieces of brightly colored Fiestaware as wedding gifts. I love mixing the bright colors.
I bought a few pieces that I loved when I found them on sale, my favorite being striped tumblers. Until this point, our glassware consisted of cups my mother in law gave us and pint glasses scored from local bars. For some reason, the tumblers made everything feel put together. They match our dining room’s antique metal table and Norman Rockwell “Rookie” print.
As the years go by, these tumblers have seen a lot of love. The original eight have dwindled to six faded, paint chipped glasses. Mike mentioned that it might be time to buy new ones. He’s said the same thing about our faded, fraying towels. Last weekend, we entertained. As I took out the glasses, I felt the need to explain why I keep them, knowing that my friend didn’t care or judge my old cups.
My old cups and towels signify a life well lived. I used those cups the morning of our wedding and late to drink bubble water to quell my morning sickness. My mom drank from those cups when she last visited. The towels, which no longer match our newly painted bathroom, were used when Liam was a baby. The same towels that barely comes to his knees when he wraps them around his shoulders used to swaddle his entire body. Just as I have earned my laugh lines, the towels and glasses have earned their fading and wear. They signify that Mike and I created this blessed life together. I love that we have lived in this home long enough to wear things out. Seeing these paint chipped glasses reminds me that we have been through so much in the ten plus years in this house. While I may replace the cups that have broken, I don’t see myself replacing the remaining glasses.
In less than one month, I will turn forty-one. For my fortieth, Mike asked what I wanted to do. I’d always said I wanted to visit the West Coast and put my feet in the Pacific Ocean. Summit training provided me that opportunity twice. Being realistic, I decided on a party in the backyard. It wasn’t fancy. It was simply a night with all of my favorite people together. Mike borrowed a bouncy house “for the kids” from a coworker. We barbequed and ate great food, talked, and laughed. I was a little nervous that people would bring up politics as it was a few days before the election; people stuck to safer topics. I loved seeing friends from different parts of my life come together and get to know each other. We sat around the fire belting out old school rap. It was perfect!
Turning forty is a milestone to be celebrated. However, turning forty-one simply means that you are in your forties. Why does this feel different? I remember being seven, the same age as my son. I also remember when my mom was forty-one. My thirties brought quite a few changes and milestones:
Buying a house
Becoming a mother
Losing my mother
An older friend recently told me that her forties were her favorite decade. Her forties brought her confidence and health. I’m trying to decide how I feel about being in my forties. I, too, think this might be my decade. I weigh more than I have in awhile. While I wish I could lose ten pounds, I am proud of what my body can do. I’m strong and getting stronger. I can run (slowly). I’m able to perform yoga poses that previously eluded me. I am also thankful that I have the time and support to work towards bettering myself. If my thirties were spent trying to figure out who my friends are, my forties provides strong friendships. I’m blessed with my yoga crew, a strong core of mom friends, and spectacular coworkers. Mike and I have a great marriage. We have this amazing son who teaches and inspires us every day. I am really happy with where I am right now.
In college, I remember writing a list of all the things I hoped to accomplish in my adult life. When I stumbled upon it years later, I was happy to realize I had accomplished a few. I found myself back to being an active member of a church. I can appreciate Shakespeare, even asking the Reverend to read Sonnet 116 during our wedding. My toes have touched the Pacific Ocean.
Fanfare and celebration accompany of life’s biggest milestones; turning forty was no exception. In the next few weeks, I will officially become in my forties. I can honestly say that I am looking forward to this portion of my life. Life is pretty good when the only thing I can think that I really want is a cup warmer for school because I am constantly getting caught up in things and letting my tea get cold. I love this simplicity. I am hopeful that my forties will be the start of my favorite decades.