Julie is a friend I met through my online writing group. Although I haven’t met her in person, I feel like I know Julie well through the sharing of our experiences as writers and sharing our experiences raising children. I admire and am encouraged by Julie’s ambition, sincerity and the way that she supports her husband and daughters. Thank you, Julie, for sharing your words and thoughts in this 40th celebration!
Cresting The Hill
By Julie Steed
When my mom celebrated her 40th birthday, I was a typical 13-year-old. I thought the black cake I selected for her party was hysterical. “Over The Hill” it proclaimed in bold white letters. I decked out our home with black streamers, black plates, and black napkins. I even placed a stuffed buzzard on the chandelier in the dining room.
But the joke was on me. Twenty-seven years later I realize that cresting that hill successfully is a giant achievement. Becoming a mature adult means leaving the messiness of youth behind. Good riddance. I love being comfortable in my own skin and understanding exactly where I fit into the big picture.
My husband is my soul mate and best friend. The search for that missing piece is over. I have two beautiful, healthy children. They no longer need diapers, high chairs or night feedings – instead, they are independent, growing girls who bring love and personality into our home like nothing I could have ever imagined.
It feels incredible to just be me. I don’t feel the need to conform or change to be more like my peers. I understand my own needs and limitations. I am comfortable asserting my convictions. I feel empowered like never before.
I don’t believe for one second that the next segment of my life will be smooth sailing. As I age, so do my parents. My husband’s work will take him to war zones– not once, but multiple times. In the blink of an eye, I will release my children into the world hoping that I have prepared them properly for adulthood.
I don’t know if my daughters will choose to help me celebrate my 40th birthday with a black cake and a buzzard. If they do, I will relish the moment, because I know that the joke is on them. And one day, when they crest the hill, they will realize that 40 is the perfect age to reflect, regroup, and get ready to pick up speed.