Life has a crazy way of sneaking up on you. One day you are getting your driver’s license, the next day you are getting ready to turn 40. How the heck does that happen??? Is there a time warp machine? I try to keep this blog focused mainly on sweets and treats, but I also enjoying sometimes having the chance to connect on levels beyond butter, sugar and flour, so here we are, talking about turning forty. Or 40. Or no longer in your thirties. Yup, that is what Friday brings for me. I am one who likes to use new years, birthdays, anniversaries and other events to take a look back, reflect, take stock and look to the future.
As I find myself turning 40, I have to say, life at 40 probably isn’t quite what I pictured 20, 10 or even five years ago. I have so many blessings that I am so thankful for. I have my health. I have two beautiful girls who are the light of my life. I have a husband who has been by my side for over 20 years. I have my parents, siblings and family. I have a cozy home that my kids are growing up in. I have sweet (and crazy!) pets, special friends and this blog that has become my job, one that I adore and has introduced me to so many wonderful people and experiences. I am even getting to write a cookbook! Me. A cookbook. This year I’ve appeared on national tv and took part in the filming of a promotional video for tequila. Me! All because of this blog where I just thought I’d share some recipes. It’s kinda crazy if you ask me. There is so much to be thankful each and every day.
That said, in all honesty the past two years have been a bumpy ones, possibly some of the bumpiest ever. In a little over a year’s time, six family members have passed away. I’ve said goodbye to three grandparents, with both of my beloved grandfathers passing away in just the last TWO weeks.
Still trying to wrap my head around that. Both of my parents have divorced (each for the second time) and we’ve seen big changes in our family as a result. Family members have struggled with serious health problems, car accidents and financial challenges. We’ve had a lot of change and a lot of loss and not many moments to stop and catch our breath. Life, it does come at you fast.
Some of my readers know that I am also a special needs mom. Being a special needs mom is a funny thing. You never think you’ll be “that” mom. That annoying mom talking about therapy and insurance and support coordinators and occupational therapy equipment and vitamin supplements and doctors and diagnoses. I mean geeze, who does that, who talks like that? Oh, yeah, funny thing - you do when you find yourself in that role. Surprise surprise, despite your best efforts not to. One day you wake up, and it’s you (and yes, it even mortifies you bit)! It has probably brought more change into my life, and more change to who I am, than any other experience I’ve had.
Special needs life is an experience full of love, confusion, joy, fear, frustration, grief, laughter, loneliness, heartbreak, humility, setbacks, celebrations, stress and hope. We’ve had our year of “something isn’t quite right”. Our year of “we are going to figure out what this is and we’ll just fix it” and finally we are coming into our year of “grieving, learning, accepting and dreaming new dreams”. While you wouldn’t change your child, my heart often aches for her to have an easier life. I wish we spent our time at playgrounds and play dates, singing songs at toddler gym classes, going to her first ballet classes and watching her make little friends. Instead much, if not most of our time each day is spent at therapy offices, then at home doing therapy homework with her, managing tantrums and meltdowns that are frustrating to everyone involved, having people come into our home to work with her on behavioral programs, and me researching treatment options and scientific advances, finding funding for augmentative communication devices, fighting for services and insurance coverage and trying to find the patience, strength and peace of mind to get us through our days and moving towards the future. I miss doing the “regular” things, spending time with friends, getting out with my husband, being able to travel or even visit family and friends locally without worrying about things that special needs parents have to worry about every time they leave the house. While I miss those days, I try to embrace our new days and find the gifts and beauty that come with them.
So as I round the corner on 40, I find myself at a place I never really imagined. A journey full of twists and turns, one that teaches me that you never know what each day will bring, and that change is truly the constant in our lives. I’m reminded, especially in recent days, that time is so precious, and so short, and each day is a gift and we need to live in the moment and do all we can to make the most of it. Life doesn’t always go as planned, but it can still be sweet. And we should embrace it. Come what may, and love it.
I welcome 40. I look forward to the coming year. Some never even make it to see that age and another year is always something to celebrate and rejoice. I look at it as a milestone, a marker and a chance for a fresh start. I can’t wait to finish up my cookbook and share it with the world. I’m excited for my little one to start preschool (okay, excited, nervous and kind of terrified!) and hope and pray she enjoys it and makes some friends. I’m excited to have a few extra hours during those preschool days to share more sprinkles and cake pops and cinnamon rolls with you, my amazing readers. I am hopeful that a few hours a day to myself will allow me to find more balance in life, a little less chaos and even some more creativity (okay, maybe I’m aiming a bit high with two hours a day, four days a week!). I hope we finally settle into our long term therapy routine for my little one, and that it starts to truly feel like our normal. I look forward to trying to create change and improve on things that I know can be made better in life. I love that birthdays remind us that at any time we can make new choices, take new adventures and dream new dreams.
Thank you for sharing the love of baking with me here on Love From The Oven. It means so much to connect and share with you.