“Tell me a funny story about when you were 10.” My daughter sits next to me on the bed, pen poised, ready to note my memory in our book.
Crochet hook in hand, my fingers work looping and pulling yarn. A funny story from nearly 30 years ago? I was in 5th grade, a year that I don’t remember in great detail, and nothing “funny” comes to mind. I remember that year to be more about the increasing realization that we were each quite different – boys and girls were changing, personalities developing, and “going together” became a part of life.
This conversation, coupled with my desire to celebrate my 30s, gave me pause…
What is it that makes a year in our lives memorable? Is it an event? A coming of age? Strong emotions? And when we have years that don’t involve high emotions or life changes or events, are the years highlighted by this and that moment?
As I reflected on the year I was 30, I found that there isn’t much I remember about that year. My daughter took her first steps a week before my 30th birthday meaning that I started the decade with a child that kept me on my toes as walking for her (for us) meant the first spreading of her wings. Within six months she was running and climbing. While she celebrated her first birthday, I breathed deeply as my first year of being a solo parent drew to a close – I had done a wonderful job. I remember the coldest inter I ever experienced, losing one job and finding another, moving my little family back to Virginia, and beginning the process of building a home. My 30th year ended with the events of 9/11and a community that largely closed windows and doors, taking shelter.
Perhaps I remember more than I thought I did?
When I think about the year I was 30, as well as the year before, a few things stand out – While friends and family wondered, privately and not to privately, how I would parent on my own, I didn’t doubt that I could and that I would. While they struggled with the idea of my being a single parent; I embraced the blessing of my daughter and attempted to release the confusion I felt toward her dad and his choices.
Throughout that first year of my 30’s, I faced single parenthood head on, fully trusting that the universe had my back!
When I think about it now, I think of grace. It is an unusual term to use to describe a year that included unemployment, child care concerns, and concerns about the environment in which I was choosing to raise my daughter; but, throughout the year, there was grace.
I remember the month of -40 wind chills – and the man who picked us up nearly every morning to ensure our safe arrival at our destinations.
I remember finding the school I wanted my daughter to attend, then the neighborhood in which I wanted to live, and how everything *fell* into place. And the sense of relief I felt when I found a childcare facility near our new home. Despite a waiting list of 50 people, my daughter received a place reminding me that, despite how it appeared, I was not in this parenting alone. The universe always had my back.
Grace – a year of grace. Old friends, new people who would become old friends, a flexible job, and access to nature. Even though that year ended with the events of 9/11, again reminding of the responsibilities that come with parenting and parenting on my own, it was a year I can celebrate. The year is a year of events – life changing choices. I would not be where I am now were I to have made different choices during the year I was 30 years old. I suppose it is a year filled with emotions and lessons.
Ten years have passed, yet as I write, I relive parts of this year – the images, the laughter, and experiences. I am sure I could even come up with a funny story about when I was 30!
I return to my daughter’s question, a funny story from when I was ten – I am at a loss. I suppose being ten is a year that is more about moments, or maybe it is about the kid I was at school – or maybe my memory isn’t what it used to be. I remember a good year, the beginning of a friendship I enjoy to date, and school. It was the first yea, of many, r of change, just as being 30 was a year of grace.