Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beyond ancient

I had a birthday last weekend, not a major milestone but a birthday nonetheless. I am 39 now.

My long-term memory isn't all that great, but I do remember some things. I remember when I couldn't even imagine being as old as I am now. When I was a teenager, 25 seemed old. 35 seemed ancient. I am now beyond ancient.

I have been alive for 39 years. It's hard for me to put it in perspective. 39 birthdays on the sixth of June. 39 summers of mosquitoes and thunderstorms. 39 leaves turning orange and brown in the fall. 39 carved pumpkins, 39 Thanksgiving turkeys and 39 Christmas trees. 39 endless winters of white and ice. 39 egg hunts and first spring robins. 39 lilac blooms, 39 blinking fireflies. And then another birthday, coming round again.

I remember when candy bars were 25 cents. Gas was 95 cents. I remember when computers first came out in stores, big plastic hulking boxes. Rotary telephones were standard. Audio tapes were the ultimate music recording device. Gas came in leaded and unleaded.

I remember when starting out a sentence with the words 'I remember when' meant that you were really, really old.

When you have children, birthdays begin to change. You pay more attention to your kids' birthdays than your own. The passing of time means more because they are getting older, not you. And you realize that Today is what they will be looking back upon when they get older. The Here and Now will become their 'I remember when.'

They will remember when candy bars were 75 cents and gas was $2.95. They will remember when computers had to be plugged into outlets and sat on top of desks. They will remember when phones had push buttons and music was recorded on disc and listened to with headphones. They will remember when cars ran on gas.

Instead of starting your sentences with 'I remember when', you begin to start them with 'I want my kids to remember.'

I want my kids to remember taking walks with their Mom out to the slough, down to the cemetary, through the alfalfa. Picking mulberries and making jam. Swimming and picnicking at the beach on the lake. Finding snakes and salamanders in the tall grass. Baby kittens born in the barn. Worms in the garden soil and planting squash seeds. Baking cookies and licking the dough off the spoon. Tireless games of hide-and-seek, pirates, treasure hunt, kings corners. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the bonfire and watching the first stars come out at dusk.


10 comments:

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

beautiful post!
happy birthday!!!

Hazwani said...

Beautiful reminders for all of us, I'm sure.

Happy Birthday to you.. may you have many more happy memories ahead of you :)

Really Rose said...

Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday! Our birthdays are close as mine is the 10th. I'm older, yet clearly remember the month of June 39 years ago. There's yet another birthday to celebrate this month, and it's my daughter, Jen. She turns 39 on the 17th. Seems so fast that all those birthdays flew by . . . enjoy . . .

Erin said...

Happy Birthday! We are the same age now... for 8 more days.... then I will be 4-0!!! Yikes! Remember when our parents would go to the video store not only to rent the VHS tape, but also to rent the VCR? LOL! And before there were microwaves? My kids won't even believe it! Hope you had a great day!

Karen Sue said...

Happy Birthday!
We were doing a few of the remember whens last night around a fire, roasting JUMBO marshmallows. Would you mind if I gave copies of this post to my Sundayschool friends? we're all women and most are raising kids, at various stages of life. It's always good to have a reminder of what's really important!!
Thanks for the post.

Jo said...

Hi Liz! Thanks, I had a great day. Wish everyday could be like a birthday, except for that whole getting older thing.

Hello Hazwani -- Thank you! And you too!

Hey Rose -- Thanks! It seems like 39 is the age to be. Happy birthday to your daughter later this week!

Hi Erin! Thank you, it is an honor to share an age with you! Let me know what the big 4-0 feels like, so I can prepare ahead of time. Lol! Happy birthday to you too!

Hello Karen Sue -- Thank you! Absolutely you can share this post with you friends. I felt a little silly doing the remember whens at the relatively early age of 39. My Dad, who turned 80 this year, could (and does) completely put my remember whens to shame!

Thistledog said...

Well hello young lady! What a fabulous photo there with you and your boys - nice to see the smiling face behind the great posts and, of course, the saver of the seeds growing in my garden...

39 IS an actual milestone, perhaps you hadn't heard. I'm a decade ahead of you and remember it well...what I don't remember well is how the heck I got this old, already???
Guess we just need to enjoy it as it goes, or comes, or all the above.

Jo said...

Hey Thistledog! I don't remember how I got this old either. In my head I am still 24. I suppose that's true for most everyone, though. Thanks for the nice words!

Harold Phillips said...

Pssst! Hey Jo... you might want to take a look at this :)
http://trishandharold.blogspot.com/2010/06/sense-of-history.html Hope you don't mind!

Jo said...

Harold, you are the bees knees. I am tickled pink. Thank you!!