I am turning 58 this week. I am still in awe of the aging process. Most of me feels young. All of me wants to feel young. I have signs of aging. Not big ol' OMIGOODNESS, You is old! signs. My two index fingers are a smidgeon misshapen with arthritis (I guess?, although there is not much pain to be felt. But they look like my mother's fingers.)
I am not a grandmother, but I belong to a women's group which apparently attracts that moniker; grandma. And at our daughter's wedding last summer, a wedding guest called me Grandma not once, after which I replied that I had no grandchildren - and not twice, after which I responded that even though I was of that chapter in life, I had no little Kinder underfoot - and finally the third time I was beckoned as Grandma, I just smiled and said, "Thank you so much for coming."
So here is 58. Fifty-eight. It looks pretty good. Hearth and home are good. Spouse is hale and hearty. We've been challenged by daughter Gillian to attain 50 miles each month in running - in my case, walking and running. This has been really fun for our entire family. Some of us think nothing of running that many miles even with broken ribs from a ski-to-tree altercation. One of us rode something like 251 miles on her bike trainer this month. Over-achievers.
Fifty-eight. I appreciate that I can still run a mile down the road. I can play the cello (poorly, but who is listening?). Twice a month I make a meal for our Emergency Shelter (read: homeless). I take pride in my cooking, which I love to do, but even so, sometimes it is hit or miss, and for that I am always humbled. Humbling, even at 58, is good.
Fifty-seven saw me at my father's funeral, and my mother's funeral. Such a tsunami of grief, and yet, we, most of us, all, go though this chapter in life. Fifty-seven also acknowledged the passing of my sweet mother-in-law and then, my sweet father-in-law, in Australia - at the same time as my own parents were passing. How blessed was I that my inlaws were so perfectly strong, wise, and fun?
This week sees me heading to Waikiki. The ultimate destination is Australia, to say goodbye and have closure on the passing of my wonderful inlaws.
I guess here is where I put the funny in:
I am so DONE with flying direct to Australia. So done leaving Kansas City, going to LAX and then spending LORDHAVEMERCY too many hours on a plane with a kabillion other passengers who are hacking, coughing, and sneezing into my airspace, for 16+ hours. That is the credo to which that Spouse o' Mine adheres to. ("Get there soon. Period.")
I, on the other hand, have opted (as I have in the past; read this, couples.) to stop in Honolulu on the way over, and on the way back as well. All by my lonesome. I am very comfortable in my lonesome. Honolulu, Iceland, Lisbon: I cope quite well on my lonesome. I love that Spouse o' Mine, and we are terrific travelers together. But we both know our capacities and limitations, and his is to "get there" and mine is to "be sane and enjoy the ride". And so, we go.
How fun is it then, to have received an email just last week from son Graham: a short question: "What is your itinerary to Australia?" I sent him my itinerary, thinking that our sweet son just wanted to keep tabs on ol' 58-year old Mom as she flits from one hemisphere to another. Such a considerate son.
Well, better than all that, he then made plans to meet me in Honolulu and join me on my flight to Brisbane! Yes! What a great birthday gift! No, no, he did not make these travel plans to the land Down Under as a gift to me, to be sure! But I am taking his meeting me this birthday week of mine as a sweet gift from son to Mom, and I am thrilled.
And so this birthday week goes. Most years, I might ride my bike the birthday years, but not this time. 20, 25, 30 mph winds are prohibitive. And I am really enjoying daughter Gillian's 50-miles/month challenge. (Join us! It's a 2018 thing.)
Here I am.
So many changes in the past year, and lots of new in the future.
I'll take it.