There are things that get better with age: wine, artwork, architecture. But some of my favorite things in life also get better with age and experience. People often fight like hell against getting older. Me? I’m pretty ok with it. I look around at my life, and I realize that my twenties had nothing on what my thirties have in store. These are the things, in my life, that just keep getting better.
Friendship – My best friend has known me forever. Literally. Well, since junior high school. It feels like forever. At that time, we were typical friends. We would hang out, talk about boys, laugh. And we still do. We get together as often as our busy lives allow. We still talk about boys and laugh. Only now, we talk about our marriages and our children. We talk about the most important things in our lives. We share our dreams with each other. We share our greatest heartbreaks. She knows me so well and I would be a mess without her! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also made a couple of other close friendships with some great women. They challenge me, they support me, they teach me, they help me grow. I am so grateful for these women who have enriched my life.
Marriage – I haven’t been married very long. Maybe I can’t say much on this subject. I’m no expert. But, I have learned a few things. I have matured. And because I didn’t get married until I was older, I think I appreciate it more than I would have when I was 20. I fight harder than I would have when I was 20. I understand better what it means. It is still hard and it is still work, but I remember what the alternative is. And I’m looking forward to what lies in store for the future.
Motherhood – When Isaiah was just a tiny guy, I made some mistakes. I made some mistakes that could have resulted in my child being one of those kids other parents talk about and nobody wants to be friends with. Someone who loves me a whole lot called me out on it and I stepped back and evaluated. I didn’t really like what I saw. Because it was just Isaiah and I, I had a tendency to let him get away with everything. He was not turning into the young man he needed to be. So, I changed. I made the concerted effort to be a better mom. I learned to let go of some of the things that don’t really matter and focus on what’s important. To focus on raising him to be a strong, confident, Godly gentleman. To focus on making memories he will remember. And, sometimes, to focus on me so that I can be relaxed and happy and better able to be his mommy. Of course, I still make mistakes. I am not perfect. I could probably stand to do some things better. But, I realize now that teaching him and correcting him are the best things I could ever do for him. They will make him a better man. And, aside from loving him, that is my purpose in his life.
I also have acquired a fantastic little girl in the last couple of years. The challenges of step-parenting (I hate that term, by the way. There should be another way to say it.) are more than I ever could have imagined. And the benefits are more than I could describe. There is an inexplainable bond that grows between a parent and a child. Every parent knows that. But there is something completely different, yet equally beautiful, and somehow so much the same about a parent and a step-child. This person that I didn’t love automatically because they were created by me. This person that I fell in love with just as I fell in love with her daddy. This person that I chose to love. That I chose to treat just as if she were my own. That I chose to vow to protect and sacrifice for. There is power in that kind of love.
Me – I hear people all the time talk about how they would love to go back and relive high school or the year they were 21 or 25. Not me! I look back at who I was then. I think back to the stupid mistakes I made. I remember the way I let other people treat me. I would never go back. I am in the best stage my life has ever held. I am confident (mostly). I am happy. I am in love. I have surrounded myself with people that make me better. I know who I am. I know what I want out of life. I am learning when it’s important to stand up for myself and when it’s important to let something go. I am learning how to be by myself sometimes. I am learning how to balance being a wife and a mother, and still being me. I know how to love someone without losing myself. I know how to make myself happy and not look to someone else to do it. I am learning how to be a little less stressed and a little more open to change. I am learning that life doesn’t always go as you have planned so you need to take what life gives you and run with it. The me I am now is better than I’ve ever been.
Go back? Not a chance. It has only gotten better with age.
What about you? Would you go back? Would you stay and look forward? Why?