The Big 3…0h
Well, I’m 30. While most grieve about the aging process, I welcome it. I rejoice and bask in the glory of my fleeting youth. I am still young and I have so many years ahead of me to experience what our short time on this planet has to offer. I still have the energy and zest to grab life by the horns and ride gracefully into my old age. I shall never complain about the big 3-0, for age is but a number. You’re only as old as you feel. Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese.
Oh, forget it.
I CAN’T FOR THE LIFE OF ME UNDERSTAND HOW I AM 30 YEARS OLD. That sounds old. But now that I’m actually 30, it doesn’t seem that old, really. I was telling Zach the other day that my 20s seemed so long when I was in them. And now they’re gone. What the heck.
I LOVE my birthday. I know all my readers have come to know that fact. I love celebrations in general, especially ones centered around me or those close to me. If you go into my social media history and my blog history, you will find that every September 30th I have no problem wishing myself a happy birthday and throwing myself a huge party. What does it say about me that I do this? Conceited? A tad. Indulgent? Yes. Ridiculous? Certainly. But mostly, I do it because I love being around everyone. I love having a house full of people, probably because that is how I grew up. My birthday is simply an excuse to throw a party. The last party I threw with friends was when I was 27. You might remember me blogging about my “Roaring 20s” party. That was a good one. I invited my parents and Zach’s parents to that one. I tried not to get too drunk until after they left. I recall saying, “Zach’s parents are gone. I’m getting drunk!” Oh, to be 27 again.
At the time, I had an inkling that I would soon be engaged, and I made a note to myself that my 27 party might be one of my last blow out parties that I would throw on my own and it was. I got married two months after I turned 28, so I didn’t throw a party that year. When I turned 29, we went out to bars in the city instead of hosting a house party at our apartment. “I’ll skip throwing a party this year. I’ll go big for 30.”
We all know the crappy crap that happened to me while I was 29. No need to reiterate that. And if you are joining us here at the “Kate centric” blog for the first time, go back a few posts to review my last year.
That was my thought process the closer I got to turning 30. 29 sucked. But as I reflect, I realize I am a bad person for saying that because a lot of good things happened around me when I was 29. My one sister-in-law gave birth to my nephew, Joseph. My little brother got married. I found out one of sisters-in-law was expecting her first baby. My best friend had her baby, Kennedy. My other sister-in-law had her baby, Jane. I attended weddings and birthday parties for various loved ones. I began year 2 of my incredible marriage. We FINALLY closed on our house my very last day of being 29. At 29, on 9/29, I bought a house. There has been so much good around me and while I still struggle with the pain within me, I am so grateful for all of these wonderful things happening around me. It does seem like a lot of people have been getting pregnant or having babies and others have said to me, “Is this hard for you?” It’s really not. I need that reminder of joy. I want to be excited for other people and I enjoy focusing on being happy for others.
I didn’t throw a blow out party this year like I said I would. As my birthday got closer, I felt indifferent about it. I told Zach originally that I didn’t want to do anything. I said I wanted to wait till his birthday and we could celebrate him turning 30. (Yes, he’s younger than me. Let’s get that out of the way. He turns 30 November 22nd, so you all know. Don’t worry, I’ll be reminding you). My best friend Alexis was shocked I wasn’t throwing a rager for my 30th. She said, “Um, are you turning 90 and I didn’t realize it?”
I didn’t feel the need to celebrate me this year because I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed in myself for the miscarriages (yes, I know it’s still silly for me to think that, but again I can’t help it). Mostly, I was/am disappointed that I have lost myself a bit in this struggle. I’m a different person now and I am still adjusting to these new feelings, this new reality of life that I have been thrust into. I still have that joy, I still have that zest to celebrate, but it’s been dimmed. And I feel badly about that because those around me expect me to have that spark, but I have had trouble reigniting it.
Despite my indifference, I still threw myself a party. I really wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.
“You’re turning 30 on the 30th and it’s a Saturday. You have to do something!”-Zach
I invited my immediate family and Zach’s immediate family over for dinner. It was good timing that we closed on our house the day before because we had a chance to give some of them a tour. We held the party at my temporary home, the Sprandio Inn, as I like to call it. While I was overjoyed to have the families together under one roof, I found that I was feeling that tinge of indifference again. I was happy, very happy, but I felt reserved. I slunk back and watched the party from a distance. I watched how happy everyone looked. How both my family and Zach’s family interacted so well. I watched Zach, beaming because he was with his family who he doesn’t see as often as we see mine. I watched the kids being their joyful little selves. There was so much love in the room, so much positivity, so much hope. And yet I couldn’t help the thoughts of what happened while I was 29 slip into my thought process. Even in the happiest of moments, I have that lingering thought of disappointment. Thoughts like, “imagine if the first one didn’t happen, I’d have a baby in my arms right now. Or, imagine if the second one didn’t happen, I’d have a pregnant belly right now.” I wanted to talk about it, but rather than bring it up to everyone, I kept those feelings inside and simply watched the conversations. I wanted everyone to enjoy each other.
After dinner, my brother John and his wife Mary gave me a gift. They made me a movie. Since I was 13 and first learned to use iMovie on my Mac, I have been making movies for big events. Birthdays, engagements, weddings, graduations, etc. I’ve been paid to do a few, but mostly they’re for close family members. The “movies” consist of photos, quotes, sometimes video clips. I do it whether or not I am asked to, simply because I love to do it. I have made one for each of my nieces and nephews for their 1st birthday parties. I have made one for each of my brothers’ graduations, and engagements. I made one for myself when I graduated high school and when I got engaged. I even made one for Zach for his 30th and showed it at my party last weekend. I couldn’t wait two more months to give it to him.
When my dad came in and said, “Kate, is it time for the movie?” I immediately said, “Oh, Zach, I made you a movie. I know your birthday isn’t for another two months. I couldn’t wait,” thinking that was what my dad was talking about. We walked into the living room and my brother John was standing at the TV. He pressed play and the screen said, “Kate is 30!” Wait, what!
They had photos of me from all different years of my life. The premise was my life according to my social media accounts. Made me realize I share a hell of a lot of stuff on the Internet! They had quotes from my brothers, sisters-in-law, my parents, Zach’s parents, and some of my aunts. I was and still am so touched by their thoughtfulness. I know those projects can be time consuming. Even just getting the material together from other people can be a hassle. I can’t thank them enough for taking time out of their busy lives to create that for me.
As I watched the movie, I had Grace and Sadie climbing in and out of my arms. The other little ones and everyone else were all around watching. It was the reality check I think I needed. I was surrounded by my families watching a video about myself, what could be better! I was struck with everyone’s quotes. Mary said nobody knew what the others were writing and they all had something to do with my joy for life. As I read the quotes, I thought, THIS is who you are. You’ve lost sight of this person. Don’t do that. Hold on to her. She’s hit a few bumps, that’s okay. It happens to all of us. Don’t lose this version of yourself because all of these people love you for being that person.
I wanted to thank everyone that night, my parents, my in-laws, my brothers, my husband…I wanted to thank them for the comfort and support they have given me through everything, but I didn’t know what to say. Surprising, Kate kept quiet in front of her family.
I wanted to thank them for being the joy in my life. They are all the reason I am happy, excited, and willing to celebrate anything and everything. I wanted to thank them for reminding me what life is about and reminding me that I am never alone. I wanted to thank them for keeping me in touch with who I really am. Crap happens and it changes people. Change is okay, though. It helps us grow, but when the change starts to affect who you really are, it’s not good. This change that I experienced while being 29, brought out a different side of me. I think that’s okay overall, but I can’t lose who I really am in the process of growing with this change. These people keep me grounded. They remind me where I come from, they remind me who I am and how I’ve grown, and they help me develop and share in my life as I head into the future. Grateful isn’t a strong enough word to express how, well, how grateful I am for all of them.
After the dinner party, we kept the party going at Iron Hill Brewery up the street with Zach’s sisters and his brother-in-law. After they left, Zach and I walked home. Being true to myself, I broke down to Zach later that night. I couldn’t hold it in and I am so blessed Zach gives me the time to let it out. When we arrived in the driveway, we started talking and I cried. I cried in his arms and he held me, just like he had been doing off and on the past eight months. I cried because I was overwhelmed with the love and support that I have. I cried that I wasn’t myself that night and I needed to get back in touch with the real me. I cried for my pregnancies. As he held me, he reminded me of how loved I am and how I bring people together. He reminded me that it’s okay to feel this way and that I am still the person he fell in love with and the person he will always love.
So, here I am. 30 years old. I have a few battle scars on my heart, but I am loved. I am supported. I am respected. And, I have a house.
Good bye, 29. You were a real ass at times, but I appreciate what I learned. You’ve helped me grow up just a little bit more and recognize the important things in life.
Get ready, 30. I have a feeling I am going to be more ME than I’ve ever been.