We will celebrate my granddaughter’s first birthday this month. I imagine both sets of grandparents, a few great-grandparents, and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins will be there to watch her dig into her birthday cake. The tradition in our family is that on your first birthday you get to eat your cake with your fingers, no matter how big a mess you make.
Not long after Abigail’s first birthday, I’ll celebrate my 50th birthday. I won’t be sticking my fingers in the cake unless someone forgets the forks. Instead of making a wish, I prefer to count my blessings. If I counted them all, the candles on the cake would burn out and the ice cream would melt, so I’ll start early, before the guests arrive.
Turning 50 inspires some people to make lists of things they want to accomplish. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul Wesslund, my wonderful editor at Kentucky Living, decided to train and run in a marathon as a way of celebrating his 50th. I love to walk, but I think I’ll pass on the running.
That does remind me, though, that there are lots of things I wish I had learned to do and never got around to. Most people would never guess, but this middle-aged grandmother wishes she’d learned to play the drums. I would have loved to have been a jeans-clad, hair-tossing drummer in a rock ’n’ roll band. It might be a good thing that I didn’t follow that dream. If I had been a drummer, I might not have met Bill, had five children, been a stay-at-home mom, writer, and teacher, and I wouldn’t have passed up those opportunities for all the gold in Fort Knox.
When we have lived half a century it’s easy to look back and say, “I wish I had done this or that.” It is also easier to see the things we wish we hadn’t done. While we can’t change the past and we don’t know what the future may bring, if we have been given the gift of “now,” then that’s worth celebrating, whether it’s your first birthday…or your 50th.