I recently passed what I consider to be a milestone birthday. You know the kind…where both numbers match; 11, 22, 33, 44…etc? You only get a very few of those in a lifetime.
Suffice it to say, I’m now officially “etc.” years old. 😂 Because I was not looking forward to this particular birthday, I decided early on to make it a special one.
I planned ahead to make sure that on the big day I would be doing my very favorite things with my very favorite people. And so naturally that meant I was off to visit my grandkiddos.
Granny Puckett from Hoodwinked Too!
Spending time with young people is supposed to make you feel energized and youthful. Spending time with my busy little ones, ages 3 1/2 and 16 months however, quickly made me feel every single year the oldster. Wait. How can that be? Wasn’t I just dealing with my own kiddos a few years back? Well…maybe a bit longer ago than that-but it still feels like yesterday to me.
So what’s changed? Besides the fact I’m not as peppy…(understatement)… seemingly in a blink diapers are different, baby food now comes in pouches instead of teeny jars-(more like food I imagine astronauts eat), and don’t get me started on the blasted red button on car seats! Just when I figured out the over-the-shoulder straps and click into place, my hands didn’t have the super-human strength required to snap that damn red button. (Inconveniently located in an area where I could do a lot of harm with a misfire, I might add. Who designs these crazy things? )
Now to officially sound like an old person on a rant…
Life was so much easier when I had my kids in the 80’s and 90’s. Probably not as safe when it comes to car seats, but definitely easier!
I never did get the knack of fastening those two car seats the entire time I was there…but I did do things that reawakened long forgotten sights, sounds, and feelings from way back in the day when I was a younger version of me.
Starting with the sights. The majestic mountains reminded me of the many times I had driven alongside them on trips from Idaho to Utah. Starting at about age 19 I would drive my car (Henry) down to see my friends at college for brief visits. We wouldn’t really do much of anything, but we always had a great time together doing whatever it is that kids do at that age.
Fast forward a few brief years, and I was frequently taking my baby daughter to the University Hospital there to receive treatment for her kidney disease. Gazing at the hospital now it surprised me that I was dealing with all that at 24 or 25 years old. Either I was very strong back then, or it was the youthful blessing of ignorance is bliss…
Of course when you look back with hindsight, you’re glad you didn’t know all that was coming. But it was a tender time, and those tender feelings rushed back.
I actually felt grateful to be older (& wiser) because those uncertain times were now behind me.
On to happier times, and fast forward quite a bit, and I remembered traveling up from Texas to drop my son for his time in the Americorps where he worked in the rugged wilderness of Utah for a time. A skip ahead brought memories of my daughter and her hubby married in the Salt Lake City Temple, and then a year later dropping my other son off for a two-year church mission. (That was a rough one as memories go…)
Lots of memories and lots of years. But all of these things-past, brought me here today to my milestone birthday-present!
Time to celebrate the here and now.
My birthday dinner was at The Roof Restaurant overlooking Temple Square where my daughter and son-in-law were married. (It also happens to be the same building where we celebrated their marriage with a lovely luncheon reception.)
With beautiful views of Temple Square, the surrounding mountains, downtown cityscape, and the Capitol building, it was a wonderful place to be.
The pianist even played a jazzy version of Happy Birthday just for me! It was a bit awkward when the waitress showed up with crème brûlée and a lit candle-not because I felt shy, but because I was sitting there drooling over a plate of tiny desserts, fork-at-the-ready that I’d already nabbed from the dessert buffet using my grandson as a decoy.
Oh well, eat, drink, be merry, and all that. I’m daily marching closer to the “all that” so I might as well enjoy it a bit.
Being with my grands was the best gift I could have given myself, and a timely reminder to enjoy the dailies. And I did. Like sampling lots of little desserts on a plate. Picking wildflowers in a field. Blowing bubbles. Feeding the ducks and playing at the park. Bath time! The joy of boardgames, baking cookies, and watching cartoons. Going to the library and reading lots of books. Mud puddles and dancing. Jumping on an air mattress…(don’t try that one-just sayin’.)
Being yourself with no inhibitions. Trying new things. Like Mickey Mouse waffles and kid’s toothpaste. (Yuck-bubblegum flavor? not so much…)
Or trying old things you forgot about…like blue cotton candy, fruit loops, and cheap blue box mac & cheese.
I even had Kool-aid for the first time in a million years. (Ok-not quite a million, I’m not THAT old!)
Turns out, although I was dreading it, getting older really is just a state of mind. And if it continues to go the way it’s been going, I think I might like year 55 best of all.
The year I learned that to be happy being “big” you actually have to think “small.”
That’s me having my cake and eating it too!
Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional.
When I was growing up my grandma used to tell me I was born under a lucky star. 🌟 She had me convinced I was the luckiest girl ever, and good fortune did seem to follow me. Only years later did it dawn on me that she was:
A. Possibly biased
B. Most certainly “helping” my luck along by letting me win!
In the game of life (win or lose), in her typical grandma way, she always made me feel like a winner. Her faith in me, in turn made me a believer that plenty of good things were strewn along my path, just waiting for me to swoop down and scoop them up. Older but wiser, I realize I’ve done a lot of scooping all right. However, my harvests haven’t always been what I anticipated…(but then again, you reap what you sow, right?)
Now a granny myself, and a bit more jaded, I realize this is also the same grandma who had me out looking for four-leaf clovers the better part of a summer day every time she visited…(hmmm…lucky my fanny!) I think my exuberance (i.e. ADHD), may have been sugar-coated as “luck” in order to keep me happily occupied. I spent lots of time literally rolling in clover!
Oh well, busy hands are happy hands, I always say. And I did have a knack for finding those four-leaf clovers. Which I would then proudly present to her, and she would then press them between the pages of a book, thereby preserving their magic. (The magic is in the leaves, or so I’ve been told…)
You can keep your plain-old clover with it’s leaves of three☘ (you know what that means–leave them be.) The four-leaf clover is considered lucky both because it’s rare and because the four leaves represent faith, hope, love, and luck.🍀
(You notice you have to have the faith and hope before the love and luck kick in? And even with love, you still need luck–ain’t that always the way?)
Four-leaf clovers are rare. 1 tucked in amongst 10,000 in fact…
Well who in the world had the time or patience for that study? Obviously someone with very bad luck indeed. (If she were still alive my grandma would have volunteered me for sure!)
Which got me to thinkin’ about this LUCK thing…(always a danger zone). I tend to think of luck as a good thing. But luck is a two-way street. It can go either way.
You got your Good luck and you’ve got your Bad luck.
Luck as defined by Merriam-Webster is: The things that happen to a person because of chance, or the accidental way things happen without being planned.
So apparently, we can plan till the cows come home, but life’s gonna roll out as a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events.
It’s all just dumb luck.
OR IS IT?
(It’s way more fun if you say it in Keith Morrison’s voice.)
Can life really be that haphazard?
Believe it or not, someone actually wrote a song about a four-leaf clover (from way back in my grandma’s day-go figure!) that sheds some light on the subject. It goes like this:
I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before…
One leaf is sunshine,
the second is rain,
third is the roses that grow in the lane…
Old-timey I know…but a lot of profound stuff in that simple verse. So I’m going to break it down to how I see it.
Sometimes we are blessed in life with sunshine all the way. Often we don’t even notice the bright and shiny days till the storm clouds gather on the horizon, and the rain beats down-at which point we really miss those sunny days! It can seem unrelenting, but the rains don’t last forever. And afterwards, new growth and roses blooming in the lane.
Rain and sunshine can be either good or bad— depending on the circumstances. But roses need both in order to blossom.
Which brings me to the overlooking part. We tend to think of life in terms of good and bad days, good and bad times, or even good and bad luck. Meanwhile we’re completely missing the dailies. You know what I mean. Blessings that just happen. Everyday. And we take them for granted. Like sunshine, for example. And rain. And roses.
Miracles, really. But as it turns out, not really random in the least. It’s all interconnected. All of it. The sunshine, the rain, the roses. Us.
I saved the best part of the song for last:
No need explaining, the one remaining is somebody I adore…I’m looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before.
I have lots of somebodies I adore. Like my grandma, for one.
So maybe…in the end…it’s less about being born under a lucky star, and more about thanking those lucky stars.
And speaking of stars…while I’m at it, I think I’ll give a shout out heavenward to my grandma too. Just for luck.