Tuesday, November 15, 2011

48 today

How quickly life flies,
Born to a series of Goodbyes;
Childhood dashing off with grasping hands
without a care,
adolescence departing, after so much turmoil,
with a mere shrug,
Youth, stars in its eyes, journeying forward on a path
glittering with dreams and desires,
greedy to gather them all.

Goodbye to growing life in the womb
and sleepy nurslings at the breast,
to toddlers with dimpled knees and creased wrists,
to lisping three year-olds in dishtowel capes,
and tanned, long-limbed ten year-olds,
toothy, gappy grins and sparkling eyes filled to the brim with life.

Goodbye to children as they sprint away
to follow their own paths.
We stand back, letting go,
aching for the backward glance, "Goodbye" catching in our throats,
breathless as we realize they've taken our hearts with them.

Goodbye to friends of old, some who just seemed to dissolve in a mist,
others who moved on ahead, and who perhaps wait for us.

Goodbye to grandparents, and parents, too,
Losing sight of them, but not of their footsteps as we follow behind,
moving forward, looking back,
watching the distance stretch behind us.

Moments move into days and days into months, dripping steadily,
drop by drop
without stopping,
until we are full of years
and smiles, and tears.

I am 48 today, and I am not depressed by it, just a bit melancholy.  I really am only very slightly dismayed at the thickening waistline, the lines in my face, the gray hair, all things on me surrendering to gravity.  I actually have a much harder time with my children's birthdays, as my inability to stop them from growing up and moving on is very hard for me to bear.  

I waited so long--too long--to have my first child, and late it was that I discovered that it was having children, watching them unfold and blossom, that has brought me the most joy, the greatest sense of purpose and the deepest understanding of our Creator's self-sacrificial love for us.  It is hard saying goodbye to this phase of life, which began too late and is over too soon.  There will be no more births for me, no nursing babies, and soon, no more toddlers (oh, how I love toddlers, in spite of all their willfulness!).  

Still, I am trying to enjoy this phase of life, too--being able to spend more time doing things with the older children, having a bit more free time as they take over some of the chores, enjoying conversations with them and marveling at the brilliance of their creativity and astuteness of their observations.

Life is good.  God is good.  I am glad to be here.  Thank you to all those who are making the journey, in spite of all its difficulties, an overall pleasant one.  What would a journey be without fellow travelers?


  1. Happy Happy Birthday Nadja! 48 is a very good year. And you look a decade younger at any rate, fwiw....and while a little nostalgia can be savory...don't tred too long in melancholy today - birthdays are the best celebration of the best of gifts. Enjoy!!! You're a beautiful amazing talented wonder of a 48 year old woman who continues to bring such gifts to your family, ones that will ripple far beyond your ken.
    Will off a bday rosary for you today!

  2. Happy Birthday! I will offer my rosary for you today. No need for melancholy - your life is a lovely tapestry. And isn't it incredible that you are ONLY 48 years young - given that we will live for ETERNITY, and that our time here on earth is just a tiny time of our eternal life.

    Tipping my tea cup your way.

  3. Oh, thank you Michele and Marilyn! Your prayers are very dear gifts to me. I can't say how many times I have been able to actually feel the effects of prayers offered on my behalf...

  4. God bless you! You are so beautiful, so blessed.

  5. Well, I got my birthday wishes in early, but it brings me joy to say, "Happy Birthday!" again. Your thoughts above are beautiful. You know I share them. May God bless you always! Love, Annita

  6. This brought me to tears. This morning I sang at the local retirement home and as I looked around at all the old women (for the women far outnumbered the men) I wondered at their lives: the men they'd loved, the children they raised, the many loads of laundry and dishes they'd done...and I saw my mother in them, and myself...and my daughters. It is melancholy.
    Still, I'm so glad you were born, because you've brought beauty and richness to so many lives, including mine! Happy Birthday. Your poem is so beautiful.

  7. Just read you for the first time- sent to me by my sister. I waited until I was 30 to start mothering. I am 43 now and the year after my husband and I reluctantly made the final decision to stop having babies, his eldest became pregnant at the age of 18. Despite all the worry, disappointment, etc that came with that- there arrived this perfect baby girl who is 7 months old now and who fills that space in us reserved for cuddling and kissing and rocking the babies. SO much joy now when we least expected it. Happy Birthday- you never know what is just around the corner...

  8. Happy Birthday!

    I know how you feel about the baby season being over. My almost 5 yo has learned to read and has a loose tooth and I broke down and cried.

    Your children are beautiful, your family is blessed and you are a wonderful gift to all who surround you, in your life and on the web.

  9. Happy, Happy Birthday dearest Nadja! Such beautiful, truthful thoughts, and I can relate so well to so many of them (my birthday was just the other day, we almost share). Enjoy a blessed, joyful day with your lovely, jolly family! Eat, drink and be merry. And thankful, as I know you are. xo (and Aves too)

  10. Thank you so much. My mom just came by with a Nusskuchen (nut cake) and a bottle of Irish Whiskey to put in my tea when it gets really cold this winter!

  11. Nadja, wising you a beautiful birthday surrounded by your gorgeous family. Life offers us so much on our journey through it. I think one of the greatest gifts is watching our children unfold and blossom before us. Happiest days to you. Jacinta x

  12. Happy Birthday! I hope you had a good day. It wouldn't be much of a journey if everything stayed the same. Enjoy!

  13. Sorry you are feeling depressed on your birthday. When you are 58 or 68 or 78 you will wish you could be only 48 again. Every day is a gift. Each phase brings blessing. Enjoy now! I know these things because I am 63 with the thick waist, mostly grown kids and wrinkles. Life is good. Happy Birthday!

  14. First thing - Happy (belated) birthday!!
    Second, this is so beautiful...can you see the beauty in your words? <3 Your life is so full and blessed.

    I hope you had a day as beautiful as you are!! XO

  15. Happy Belated Birthday, Nadja! So sorry I missed your special day.
    I think life is all about seasons ~ enjoy each one as it comes. I had my last child at 40 and two years ago was blessed with my first grandchild. It was so nice to rock a baby again! He is such a joy to our lives now. Your "mothering" days are never over, just altered a bit. :-) Before you know it, you will be rocking another little one again.
    Enjoy each season as it comes! God knows what's best. :-)
    God bless you and prayers for a long and happy life,
    Anne ♥

  16. Thank you so much, Anne, for your sentiments. Yes, you are right: my mothering is something that will go on for the rest of my life, just a bit differently.

    I started so late--I pray I live long enough to hold my grandbabies!

  17. Nadja, the joy your children bring you comes out in so many ways here in your space. That sadness of knowing there will be no more little ones or that the ones you have a growing oh so quickly comes at any age. I began motherhood at 25 and still share those very same sentiments many times—on birthdays, when I've noticed they've outgrown something, when they've learned something new... And remember this, bearing children late keeps you perceptively young. People assume you are younger because of the young children around you. The extra energy and youth that is need to keep up with young children radiates from a mother—of any age. You are a beautiful 48, Nadja. Happy birthday.

  18. hello old friend...and i don't mean "old" as in you are old...teeheehee...i am sorry i missed your b-day. i've been so out of it lately, can't even seem to lurk on my favorite blogs like i was for a while, so i am skimming and scanning, trying to catch up as quickly as i can! glad to see you are well. you and your beautiful little family. belated wishes and blessings for many, many, more. may the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. and shine HIS face on you. xo.

  19. I know how you feel. Lurking is a good word for what it feels like right as fall moves in. Wish I could hear what it is the Lord is telling me. I open my hart and mind and just wait patently.
    I love you blog. Thank you for always being there.

    God Bless,


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