Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whims. Grace. Luck. Acceptance.

It began on a whim. August always makes me long for change. Summer isn't welcome anymore at my house. There are coughs and colds to keep us from the pool. Friends are traveling. Sister is busy with summer reading and band camp. Every morning, the boys pelt me with,

"Can we watch TV?"


"Do I get to go to school today?"


"Where is Daddy?"


"Can I have some yogurt with cereal on it?"


In writing, the words are neatly spaced and quiet. In person, all questions overlap each other in rapid fire succession. No matter how I dodge them, one always manages to graze me, causing me to lash out, growling at them to just give me a minute.

I always want something to change in August.

With the beginning of preschool (finally!) this week, I am now getting dressed everyday, which is new for 2012. It is my change in August so far. I will get up, get dressed, and leave the house everyday no matter how sad I am or how lonely I feel. There is life to be lived.

Back to my whim. My whim was school. Being one to detest school, I was delighted to finish college and never look back. Now I'm almost 40 and wondering what I want to be when I grow up. But I don't want to decide on a whim.

So much of my life has blown in and out with the changing seasons and a shrug of, "Why not? What else am I going to do?" I've fallen into opportunities by tripping over a little talent, a little more skill, and a lot of luck. Fall finds me dragging a Fender Rhodes into back alley night clubs, and by Summer, I'm arranging for the symphony and playing for a little crowd of 10,000.

There is no grace to what I accomplish. I stumble into success much like I run into walls or fall over trying to zip my boots.

This time, I want to plan. I have this desire to make goals and figure out a graceful way to reach them. Saving the whims for trips to the park or a mid morning doughnut date with my littles, I would so much like to reach 40 with a plan in place.

Or, if not a plan for graceful entry into my midlife, then I would like to reach 40 with the peace of accepting my midlife just the way it is. Maybe that is goal enough.


  1. I think for most of us, August and September feels like the "new year" where we make our goals. Probably due to us still being used to the school year, and the change of the weather. January 1st has never felt like the real "new year" for me. It is just too dark and bleak at that time of the year. What is this crowd of 10,000 that you mentioned?

    1. It was a concert with the North Carolina Symphony in 2004. At an outdoor pavilion. Super fun. The group I'm in played with the symphony as a "back up band," but don't tell them that ;)

  2. I've done a lot of that too—stumbling into things. But it's never led me to perform in front of 10,000. That's really cool.

  3. Ahh, I know this. I found that turning 40 pushed me to figure out some things -- what made me happy, what didn't. I am more confident now, happier in my own skin, better able to say no -- and sometimes yes.

    You'll get there, my friend. I have complete faith in you.

  4. Anonymous3:36 PM

    That concert sounds absolutely incredible.

    YOU are enough.

    Donuts are extremely serious business, though, not a whim. They should stand on their own; no excesses of sprinkles or fillings.

  5. Do not ever, EVER underestimate the importance of the role you play as Mother. That? Is All. It may not seem like it when your brain has turned to oatmeal and threatens to leak out your ears, and you're into your third day of wearing the same pyjamas, but it's true! And, that's not what your boys will remember, anyway. They WILL remember that you took them for donuts. Trust me.

    That said, I know a thing or two about turning forty... It was the year that I was forced to "throw off" the old me, and begin the task of re-creating a whole new life. (I'm still amazed at what you can do when you have no other choice.) I went back to school (with a bunch of smart, gorgeous 22-year-olds, no less), and I realized that age has its advantages. I didn't get pushed around like the younger kids did at their practicum placements, and I learned to say exactly what I felt. I think that was the best thing I learned, actually-- you don't have to put up with the nonsense that other people throw at you.

    I really believe that forty and beyond is an amazing time in a woman's life. You are an incredible woman, Marty-- you will rise to the occasion, in your own way, in your own time. The main thing is not to worry about it too much. It's just a number, after all.

    Sending you much love, as always, CGF xo

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