Turning 40 in a year of firsts. This is going to be a year of firsts, at least until April 30th, 2017 rolls around. My 40th birthday is on Thursday, September 15th.
You know how people get all “woe is me” a few months before a big birthday? Worried about turning 30, scared of 40 and so on. I have not felt that way. My 30’s weren’t the worst (trying and stressful but not awful) and I have looked ahead to 40 with interest and planning. I am a planner. So 40 to me was a year of things I wanted to get done with 2016 holding a set of goals I had hoped to attain.
On the outside I feel pretty good about turning 40. My kids are older, healthy, my husband is employed in a job he likes, we have a home and I have a good career. There are not many things I would change. Not many people can say that and really mean it.
But by the beginning of March of this year things really hit the bottom. I was pretty sick and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. After literally every test you can run it was determined not only that my gall bladder was toast, but it was affecting my liver function. After what was to be a pretty simple surgery, I had to have a suture repair and the recovery was a lot longer than I had anticipated. No one seemed to get that and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t bounce back ‘in days’. That was very frustrating.
During this time, when I was helpless to help care for her as I was laid up myself, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and quickly started her treatments. You can read more about that here. After 2 days in the hospital suffering through a secondary infection, she passed away at the age of 58. That’s all I want to say about that. I can’t really talk about it anymore. After 4 months the wall of grief has finally hit me.
In all of this many have been so supportive I have wondered how I got so lucky to know such great people. Some, have not. There are some people who I have never heard from. Or they have never contacted my kids to check on them- and that is the worst I think. So those are pages and connections I am moving on from no matter who they are.
But turning 40 has a new meaning for me this year. It’s like it isn’t even really happening and I am having a hard time summoning up the interest in it at all. My dad and sister really are trying to come up with a fun day, and I thank them. They are trying to fill big shoes. I remember throwing a surprise birthday party for my mom’s 40th birthday. And the thought sticks with me literally every day: my mom lived 18 years more than the age I am right now. What if I only have 18 more years to be with my family?
So on Thursday I am not really planning much. Friends had told me to take a trip alone. Go to New York, go to a winery, go to a spa. I may! Who knows. I may just go have lunch somewhere I love then come home and read in a sunny spot in my yard.
But one thing I will miss in this year of turning 40 is my mom. She was so excited to help celebrate my birthday this year and she would have made my annual birthday cake: Texas Sheet Cake. Without fail every year she made this and it was always perfect.
I panicked that the Texas Sheet Cake recipe was lost with her like so many other family treasures- but then my brother found this post in search of my website files the other day. I shared it in 2011. I am so glad I did, I hope you enjoy it.