Understandably (for some), I started struggling with my birthdays as they rolled around each year ever since I hit 27. I was frying chicken on my 27th birthday, and I remember the sobs wracking my body as I forked the cutlets into a pattern and flipped them in the hot grease. My poor husband, who couldn't understand what was happening, but was perhaps afraid that I would soak his super-yummy-smelling supper, tried his best to figure out what was wrong. Between gasping, choking gulps of air, I managed to wail, "I'll be thirty in three yeeeeeeaars!"
Obviously, I survived the debacle, and as any 34-year-old would do on their birthday, I decided to make a list of 34 things that I feel have shaped me into the 34-year-old that I am. Because that's what 34-year-old's do, right? ;)
1.) I once put orange juice on the All-Bran my mother forced me to eat when I was young. Not only did it instill an even deeper hatred of the cereal into my sensitive soul, it also solidified my empathy with my own children, who decidedly do not. like. All-Bran. We are a Cheerio family. :)
2.) If one of my fingernails tears, I get shivery-shivers up and down my spine. I've recently noticed that it's not just a personal thing. If I see a torn fingernail on someone else, I get the same shivers. If I don't have a pair of fingernail clippers to offer them, I drive myself batty with irresistible impulses to run to the nearest store and buy a pair to deliver to them. Which is ridiculous. But never-the-less a part of who I am.
3.) I like peanut butter and mayonnaise. Together. In a sandwich. Or on a banana. Whichever.
4.) Busch Gardens has become a second home to me since I've married my husband. Family tradition on his side dictated that we visit there at least two or three times a summer. I've discovered that I kind of like knowing how to get from Point A to Point B without a map.
5.) Along the same vein, I love kiddie-coasters. They're more my speed.
6.) Some people struggle with their in-laws. I am one of the blessed individuals that is probably just about as close to my in-laws as I am to my own parents. I love this.
7.) Reading is my own personal paradise. A book, to me, represents a journey, a vacation, an adventure, a happy dream.
8.) Which is probably why I love to write, because those dreams don't want to live only in my head. They want to crawl out and give life to other people's dreams as well.
9.) I grew up watching my daddy put aside other priorities to make time for his wife and children, so in turn, I married a guy that spends time every evening when he comes home playing hide-and-seek, or coloring, or Candy Land or baseball or soccer with the kids.
10.) Consequently, the shrieks of "Daddy's home!" that ring with joy and gladness through the house when his truck comes up the driveway is perhaps my favorite time of day.
11.) There should be an intravenous method of injecting chocolate straight to the blood stream. Although that would take away the taste, which is, of course, the best part. So never mind.
12.) I find it inexpressibly sad that Jane Austen never knew what an iconic hero she created when she wrote about Mr. Darcy. Or perhaps she knew, because she created his character, but she had no way of knowing that he lives on in the thoughts of people in the 21st century, and probably will continue to for years to come.
13.) I didn't read Harry Potter until I was twenty-three years old.
14.) I have a secret wish that I had received my owl-post when I was ten years old that invited me to live out my education at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, I'm just a Muggle. Sigh.
15.) I admire people who listen quietly. And then they produce this jewel of thought at some point in the conversation. It's clear and lucid and beautiful, and it's obvious that they've been shaping it and forming it for awhile before they produce it for inspection.
16.) Me, I just vomit words in a never-ending stream, and then wish I could erase half of what I said.
17.) The longer I walk this path called life, the more I realize how little I matter in the grand scheme of things, and the more I am in awe of how much God matters. The diminishing of my own importance is actually a good thing, I think.
18.) When I was in first grade, I had an imaginary giant pet dog that I named Blackie, and he was my friend. He brought me enormous comfort, because as a shy child, I didn't hang out with many other actual humans.
19.) I graduated to imaginary pet horses by third grade, and I named them Tornado, Cyclone, Sun Raider, and Firestorm. They ran in front of our car whenever we went anywhere, and I practiced "driving" them with imaginary reins. It was loads of fun.
20.) Once in first grade, I signed "Nobody" at the top of a paper that I was supposed to hand in. For kicks, I guess. I remember terrible embarrassment and agony when the teacher held it up at the front of the class and asked, sternly, who had done this. No one confessed - that would have been horrific - and I didn't realize that she would have found out by process of elimination anyway. She never scolded me for it; maybe she sensed my shrinking soul.
21.) Out of all the literary characters out there, the one with whom I identify the most is Anne Shirley. And Tim is my Gilbert.
22.) I gain no end of satisfaction from the fact that I was close friends with Tim before we ever started dating. He's a man of few words, so I think if we had started dating without the solid friendship there first, I would have tried and failed to fill long periods of stilted silence. As it was, those silent stretches were comfortable and easy, like pulling on a favorite shoe, each curve of the sole fitted exactly to the heel and toes, and no rubbing and consequent blistering.
23.) When I was a child lying in the darkness of my room at bedtime, I used to pray with intense fervor, "Please, don't let me see an angel," as I stared at the black walls. I'm thinking I thought it would be like seeing a ghost. Maybe it would have, I don't know. One never appeared.
24.) I've always had a sensitive spirit. So much so, that I remember going into my mother's bedroom one time after I was supposed to be in bed and telling her, "Mommy, I feel guilty." She put her book down and asked, "About what?" I shrugged. "I don't know. I just feel guilty."
25.) Summer camp should be a significant part of every child's experience.
26.) The fruit of the Spirit that I have the most trouble exhibiting is self-control. Particularly when there is chocolate in the room.
27.) I look significantly different than I think I look when I run or dance.
28.) I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong time period. Victorian era is much more my cup of tea. And then just when I am in danger of grave era-envy, I remember things like out-houses, and no air-conditioning, and layers and layers of underclothes and petticoats in the hot summers. And chaperones to go anywhere. It helps vastly with being content in the 21st century.
29.) Tim and I make adorable babies.
30.) Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Since I was a kid, I've wanted three things more than anything else. I wanted a husband. I wanted children. And I wanted to write. Today, I am married to my best friend. I have three adorable children who make my life crazy and beautiful at the same time, and I have the ability to stay home and write my imaginings onto paper (or a hard drive, as the case may be). I am feeling mighty blessed.
31.) I am surrounded by quirky friends. This makes me feel better about my own quirkiness.
32.) There is an in-between-ness about my piano skills. I passed the Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb stage years ago. But I never quite got to Mozart level. That is, I play Mozart's works with bumbling non-precision. I'm sure he would hang his head in despair if he could hear me.
33.) Friday is my 9 1/2 year anniversary of marriage to my husband. We've had our ups, downs, and inside-outs, but we've never lost sight of each other through it all. Neither have we lost sight of the One who brought us together. When I was a kid, I did loads of planning how my white dress was going to look and how I was going to do my hair on my wedding day. I didn't think a lot of what would happen after that. So I can't say that it's like I expected, because it's not. It's a whole lot deeper.
34.) Thirty-four is a whole lot more than I thought when I started this post. Took me awhile to wrack my brains for some of these. To close, here's a quote I put on my "About Me" section to the side of this blog, but it resonates deeply with me. "I may not be the best at what I do. But what I do, I do the best that I can."