My 50th Birthday Celebration!

Today I am 50 years of age. Notice I did not say “old”.  I do not feel a day older than yesterday. I had a few minutes to reflect on the things I love about myself and what I have accomplished by age 50.

  • I love how healthy and physically fit I feel. I am in good shape and rarely have illnesses.
  • I love my new job, the people I interact with, the programs I am involved in coordinating, the hours I work and the people I work with.
  • I love that I am able to provide health insurance for my whole family.
  • I love that my daughter is quickly becoming an independent and responsible adult.
  • I love that my son has a sense of confidence and direction for his future.
  • I love that my husband is in good health and enjoying his retirement with fun activities that give him (and me) pleasure.
  • I love that we splurged on the new kitchen. Every day it gives me pleasure to cook healthy, delicious meals for family or friends.
  • I love how productive my garden has been this year. I enjoy harvesting bouquets of flowers, pints of raspberries, armloads of collard greens and bunches of fresh herbs.
  • I love the attention my dogs give me- especially on days when I return from work. Whether they want to go for a walk or just cuddle up for a snuggle, they are loyal companions.
  • I love all the outpouring of love and support from my greater family: parents, sisters, cousins, in-laws, who are always there to encourage my endeavors and cheer me up when I need it.
  • I love having the time to compose my thoughts and share my reflections with everyone who follows my blog.

In thinking about all these positive things that I love about being myself at age 50, all the negative things that I fear or hate- like grey hairs, wrinkles, age spots and reading glasses- seem so shallow and insignificant. Anyone who knows me, sees a much more positive picture. Going into my fifties, I still have the same spunk I had when I was in the single digits. This should be a really good decade.

LAURAS

Thanks to all my family who made me feel special!

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Family Jewels: My Aunt’s Favorite Ring

One of the most special people in my life was my Aunt. She taught music to school children and always seemed full of energy and humor. I was born on her birthday and she and I shared a special bond. When I was just learning to speak, I pronounced my name “Audi”. That name stuck with her and, once I had outgrown it, she was the only person I allowed to still use it. I was old enough to be the flower girl at her wedding and many years later she was overjoyed to celebrate mine.

Aunt and Uncle had no children of their own; so whenever we saw them, we always made sure to have some special time together. With Aunt, this often included singing some songs. She had a lovely voice and knew plenty of kid friendly music.

She and my uncle had classic taste. Their house was full of antiques which they collected at weekend auctions or estate sales. Her wardrobe consisted of turtlenecks and sweaters ordered through the LL Bean catalog- nothing flashy or fancy. Her jewelry, on the other hand, was where she made her statement. Sapphire was her birthstone, but she also loved rubies and emeralds. Uncle was pleased to surprise her with beautiful pieces he had found at some of the sales they attended.

She would walk into the house wearing a navy turtleneck with dark pants and a sweater, but she would sport pearl earrings and a sapphire and diamond ring on her hand. As a kid, her cheery smile and warm hug as I rushed into her arms was what really mattered to me.

Sadly, her life was cut short by lung cancer. By that time I had children of my own and their memories of her are as an ill person who tried to be friendly  between coughing fits. I have tried to pass on some of the songs she sang to me and create  a different picture of her for my kids.

A few years ago, my uncle decided it was time to pass along some of Aunt’s jewelry. I have two sisters who were equally close to her. Uncle sent us a package to go through together. Some things were for us to sort out ourselves, others were specifically earmarked by him for one or another of us. This sparkling sapphire and diamond ring was one of her favorites and Uncle thought I should have it since Aunt and I shared a birthday.

It means a lot to me. Whenever I look at it, I think of her. I remember her bright smile and optimistic outlook on life. At Christmas, I sing one of the school children songs she taught.  I miss her on our birthday and often shed a tear. I would gladly give her ring back in exchange for another cheery hug. As beautiful as this ring is, it could never replace her.