Rambling Birthday Thoughts or, 38 is Great

It’s my birthday! Go me for living another year and keeping everyone in my house alive too! Though I’m sure Tony and divine intervention played some small part in both those feats.

Cue nostalgic music…

Birthdays are one of those times during the year when I reflect back, and think about my plans for the future. During Advent (the start of the Church’s new year) I think about my spiritual life and how I can improve it. As the new year begins, I write out resolutions and goals for the months ahead. In August, I review the school year, what my children have learned, and write out my lessons for the year to come.

But on my birthday, I take stock of my whole life. On September 26th, I always look at the big picture and think, “Is this where I want to be, and if it’s not, do I still have time to get somewhere else?” For the last couple years I’ve started to wonder, is it too late to do this, or is it too late to start that…

There’s something about hitting your late thirties that makes you wonder if all of life’s opportunities have passed you by; if perhaps your path is set in stone and unchangeable at this point. I don’t think I’ve hit the point of no return yet, but I look at older people who have, and who haven’t done all they wanted, and I’m almost midway between them and 21.

I’ve started looking older and my goal now is no longer to look younger, but to look “good for my age.” I have no illusions about passing for someone in my twenties anymore, and I’m fine with that. My body is older and I get tired more easily. I’ve realized that no diet, or exercises or supplements can completely make up for the fact that my body is aging, and that I treated it pretty poorly for a few years. coughCOLLEGEcough

But the good part about getting older is I’m happy with who I am. I’m not wise, I know far from everything, but I’m good at what I do, and I know how to learn what else I need to know. I’m not old and stubborn, and hopefully not “stuck in my ways”, but I know what works for me, and there’s a lot of freedom in that self-knowledge, most of which was gleaned from the last ten years.

On the day after my birthday is my oldest’s birthday, and so, in many ways, my introspection is tied up closely in watching her grow. She is who made me a mother, she shares many of my physical characteristics and several of my personality traits as well,. She will be 14. She has started high school. It’s a new era when your children hit ages, and milestones, that you keenly remember. I look at how she is starting to tackle these awkward teenage years and I can’t help but think about my own adolescence, the good and the bad. Have I become the best mother to guide her through this stage? What example do I set for her every day?

I may jokingly say “Where did the time go??” when I see this tall young lady in front of me, but I know that while she had to bear the brunt of my inexperienced parenting, I enjoy the process of watching her grow up and don’t wish to make her small again to relive some moments I might not have experienced to the fullest. I am so proud of her. I hope I can continue to do alright by her.

And I look at all my other children who came so quickly in the subsequent years and presented me with so many challenges I never could have imagined, and more love than I realized was possible. I know that I must be on the right path to have so much to celebrate year after year. Some things should definitely not change, nor accidentally become a casualty of new plans.

It’s the fifth birthday that’s passed since starting this blog. I’m so glad I have this platform to pull up memories and see what has transpired year to year. On my birthday….

Four years ago, the nursing agency called to say we were losing Fulton’s daytime nursing.  (Admittedly, in the running for the worst birthday EVER.)

Three years ago, I kept a sense of humor and wrote out my funeral wishes. because all the running I was doing for my 35th birthday felt like it would kill me.

Two years ago, Hallie Lord emailed to ask if I would speak at Edel ’15 in Charleston, SC. 

Last year, I was in Philadelphia for the Papal visit. 

This year, I just saw a story about a promising SMA drug (which I’ve been following for years) that will hopefully, finally!, be released to the general public within six to ten months. And I thought the highlight of my day was getting sushi for dinner. When I was a kid, it was all about the toys or new clothes, the cake, and making wishes over smokey candles. Now another year with my family, a potentially healthier year with my family, rivals any package topped with a bow.

As a bonus, here’s William Shatner wishing me a happy birthday (and telling me I still look hot.) It’s all downhill from here.


  1. I LOVE this post, Kelly! Happy Birthday (week) to you. I love all of the taking stock opportunities that you have suring the year, and especially the birthday big picture reckoning. I turned 60(!) this year, and while you are right about some doors being closed forever (I am not ever going to take up downhill skiing) there are actually always new beginnings, big and small, that present themselves. And then we discern our response. – nancyo

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