Posted on | November 8, 2013 | 2 Comments
Last night, my mother told me that a childhood friend’s sister had surgery on Monday for breast cancer. As the words bounced around in my brain, I thought about girl scouts and soccer games and late night slumber parties. I thought about her and my sister having birthdays close together and remembered ski trips and camping trips and… hell… childhood.
As the word “cancer” rolled around inside me, I realized what 35 really means.
I have become middle-aged.
I am sitting on the cusp of my 20 year high school reunion, railing against the worry lines, and laugh lines, and crow’s feet and yes, of course stretch marks. I feel 20 but my driver’s license and c-section scar and four year old child and divorce papers all tell me that I am, in fact, way closer to 40 than even 30 much less 20. Somehow, as I graduated high school and college and law school, as I married and divorced, as I birthed and raised a child, I never quite realized that time is still passing by. I never realized that I was treading closer to a time when no one would think to card me or cat call or even call me anything other than “Ma’am.” It doesn’t seem possible that 30 years have passed since I set my first foot in Miss Angel’s kindergarten class (yes, that was her name.). It can’t be right that I am approaching 40, semi-single and still feeling like any minute my life is going to start.
I remember sitting at 7 and wondering when time would speed up and bring my birthday or Christmas or Easter. I remember being 16 in the front seat of my Ford Tempo and thinking if I could just get through the year, life would be amazing. I remember wondering how long before I’d graduate college, when I’d finally fall in love, how much longer until J arrived. Every moment passed with me anxiously awaiting the next and then the next after that. Every moment passed with me waiting for something else, waiting to be a grown up, waiting for my life to “really” start.
Any minute that will happen, yes?
Any minute, I’ll grow up, right?
Any minute I’ll have a clue about who and what I am… any minute I will act my age. Any minute I will become the 35 year old single mother/attorney that I actually am. Right?
Or maybe one day I’ll just wake up and hurt in more places than I can count. Maybe one day I’ll look in the mirror and I won’t recognize the lines on my face, the gray in my hair. Maybe one day I’ll just wake up and realize that every ounce of my youth is behind me.
As the word “cancer” spun and twirled inside my brain and I remembered losing two Jennifers and two grandfathers and several acquaintances along these all too short 35 years … I realized that maybe that day is today.