It was a hard week.
Monday, we discovered that Sam, our 10-year old needs braces. $4100.
Tuesday, at 8:30am, my husband phoned to say that he needs a root canal. No fun.
At 9:30am, he called again and asked me to sit down. Our oldest Honda was going to Honda Heaven. It had finally, after 13 years, bit the bullet.
By 1:30pm on Wednesday, we were at the dealership. And now, I drive a van and am lamenting why I ever judged before. The side doors rock my world and the fact that I can drown my ears in podcasts while the kids watch a video makes me more happy than you can know, in addition to the fact that all of their friends can pile inside.
To round out the week, on Friday, I started my period and had a mammogram. I do not advise getting your boobs smooshed onto a plate when your hormones are raging and in general, you don't want a soul to even bump your ta-tas, let alone transform them into a pancake.
That said, here I sit. Sunday night. The kids are asleep. A candle is lit. Tea is cooling in a cup and I am so tired and so emotional and so well, feeling my station in life.
As my youngest daughter, Claire was brushing her teeth, she asked me if I was 58. I looked into the mirror with her and said, no I'm 40, why do you ask? To which she replied, I just know you're old.
And it's true. I am old. Old enough to a know a few things.
Money comes and money goes. In my life, with three children, it feels much more like it ebbs than flows. But nonetheless, I have more sometimes than others.
Losing your car or your tooth or your job is not an unbearable crisis when you have the counsel of good friends, the love of your family and faith to see you through.
What is hard and scary and seemingly insurmountable is when you read a Facebook update that a friend is enjoying a fun hairstyle before the chemo takes over....or a little girl the same age as yours is fighting a scary and perilous battle with a form of pediatric cancer...or 100+ people who happened to frequent a public place in Kenya or Paris have lost their lives at the hands of utter and absolute unspeakable madness.
These things I am old enough to know.
And there are moments in my life like Thursday afternoon, when I sobbed in my kitchen because I just couldn't breathe wondering how to make it all work six weeks before Christmas.
But then, I breathed. In and out. In and out. Over and over again.
And I remembered, I've been here before. During college. In graduate school. Giving birth. Quitting my job to stay at home. Standing along my two-month old baby during a hospitalization.
I can do hard things. We all can.
We're old enough to know that.
And we're also old enough to know not to judge others in the process of how they do their hard stuff. Because the good times come just as easily as the hard times. And sometimes, there's no rhyme or reason or silver lining. It just is.
My mom told me that character comes when you take it, the good and the bad, and endure, not alone, but fully. She said, "Wait until you're a few decades older, you'll appreciate how powerful it is to truly know in your soul that the material things that break are meant to, so that your spirit can be tested and your tenacity and faith can rise."
Here's to being old enough to rise to that which matters.