Thursday, April 10, 2008

It seems there have been a few birthdays in blogland and I've managed to observe a few different takes on aging yet another year. In general, I find people down about the whole thing and I don't understand why. I love my birthday. Correction... I LOOOOOOVVVE my birthday and every year I feel the same twinge of excitement over celebrating where I've come from and where I'm going. Of course there will be birthdays harder to embrace than others when things really start sagging and wrinkling and aching and falling apart physically for example, but overall they should be celebrated for each year that passes there is growth and change (hopefully) and that's what this life is all about. I've had a busy 26 years, so many things to be proud of and to look forward to. I decided to give myself the opportunity to recap those years and to really let that sink in, I've come so far. Sure, there are plenty of things I could say I wish I've done or could do one day, but I really feel that life is about how you greet each day and wishing or playing the should-a-could-a-would-a game is wholly unproductive. Do not get me wrong, I still play that game sometimes!

I was born in Boston, MA and lived there very briefly before my parent's divorce landed me in Washington State where I've remained to this day. I've traveled around a few other states and many times back to Boston, but also to Mexico for short and long stays and to Romania for three months in 2000. My Mom remarried and divorced again and despite the attachment and deep loss suffered by the departure of my first step-father, the remaining whole in my heart was filled immediately by my mom's current (and final) husband whom I call Dad. If you open the dictionary to the page containing the words "saint" or "incredible" or "role-filler" or "funny-wonderful-job-doer-life-giver-hand-holder-supporter-best-Dad-ever" that's where you'll find my Dad's picture. My Mom's picture won't be far away under "tough as nails" or "bounces back with a vengeance" and "loves you passionately." It's pretty amazing of someone to marry into an insta-family with two nearly grown children and BAGGAGE GALORE, but my Dad did it and I love him for every lesson he has learned or taught us and for all the
things he is for me that my bio-dad never was. So, Mom finally finds the winner and they decide to add some more munchkins to the mix... enter my three younger sisters born when I was eleven, then another when I was twelve and another when I was fourteen. I think she still wonders why she started over when she was almost done!

We've all been through heck and back over the years as we trudged on in our blended family with so many personalities and so many "sides." I've learned a great deal from having a sister with Down Syndrome (the middle of the three girls) and from having sisters in general who are complex, to say the least. When the girls were little I simultaneously wanted to home school which I began in the sixth grade and continued with until I graduated. I finished school before turning eighteen and with nearly a 4.0 average which allowed me to leave home and take the aforementioned trip to Romania for the Spring. I didn't really pick Romania, I was reaching for Ireland, but in general I wanted to get out of here which meant I would take whatever I could get. I left allot behind and was so very ready stretch out on my own. I cut off my extremely long and fabulous hair and made a new start for myself. All through school I was conveniently at home a great deal and I felt I was made to watch my sisters far too much. I reached a point where I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to fight a little for my independence and freedom. I needed to fight for my identity too. I grew up in the same circle of friends as my brother and his best friend during high school was Hans... sound familiar? Well Hans comes in to play in this little life re-cap, hang on.

While I was mucking about in Romania our dear Hans was suffering a great loss back home, his Dad was dying and he passed away before I returned. There are so many details to our story, but the point of this post is a general overview so I'm skipping ahead a bit, respectfully. Hans and I discovered each other again when I returned from Romania and he was "returning" from a huge change in his life as well. In our youth we had liked one another subtly, but in the Summer of 2000 things had completely and mysteriously changed. After a year of the courtship dance (again, there are many great details) we were married in October of 2001... I can hardly believe it will be seven years this Fall! We shared an amazing dating experience, one that was exactly as I hoped for all along. No sex until marriage and not even a kiss until we were nearly engaged. I hold those things as high accomplishments for both of us, I saved myself for someone important and so did he. Now that we have a sum of years behind us I can see that we've been a dynamic team and kept ourselves moving forward and enjoying life fully. Hans and I have been able to purchase two homes which currently makes us landlords as well as homeowners and we have rescued a whole handful of dogs. We have very little debt and were able to start retirement plans and investments early on in our marriage and budget planning. I've made a couple of career changes, but the most wonderful has been my return to vision care here on Whidbey since 2005. In my 26 years I've mastered sign language (interpreted for a local college among other things), Spanish and almost Romanian as well as volunteered for a therapeutic horseback riding program and taken my dog through a couple years of agility. I've been a part of the "child rearing village" for several kids as a nanny and as a Montessori assistant which makes me feel old when I see said children who look like they are six feet tall and twelve going on twenty. I have great and wise friends, most of whom are over the age of 50 and I'm excited about what more my dear husband and I can do in the future. I'm currently working towards another medical certification and find not having a TV very helpful as I look for the time to study. We don't have allot of extra income to take fancy trips or buy many "things," but we can find ways to take a weekend and head over the mountains to be with friends or to enjoy a special date once in awhile.

As for the really trivial things... I'm turning 26 and on my birthday I'll be zooming around in my Mini Cooper and I have this here laptop and a mobile phone too. My favorite indulgence of ours, the king size bed. I count those things as luxuries, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to enjoy them however long it lasts. A huge THANK YOU to all of you who've been a part of my journey and especially for celebrating these milestone birthdays with me. There's always more details than one can even remember, but I'm just generally feeling so grateful for where I'm at this year. And to my dearest Hans, you're the love of my life and I couldn't stand to party without you!

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