Last month I celebrated a birthday. I had a nice day. It was the first time in ten years that I didn’t have some kind of choral rehearsal or performance to go to. I was free to celebrate with family and friends on the actual day. I was surprised what a difference that made. I was also surprised to have my friend Pippa from London in town unexpectedly! After my morning work obligations, we met for lunch. Later, at home, I received a birthday call from my daughter and then headed out again for a routine hair appointment. In the evening my husband, son, Pippa and her sister Martha all met for dinner at a new Nepalese restaurant in town called “Base Camp.” Later at home we lit some candles on a carrot cake and I opened some gifts. These shoes were in the pile.
In case you were wondering; I was the one who ordered them. That’s how my husband and I handle most of our gift giving and I highly recommend it. I had been looking for Chelsea boots (see my last post) but then I found these. I took a chance on an Italian brand I had noticed often but never tried. I got lucky. These shoes are wonderful; beautifully crafted and feel like heaven to wear. It always lifts my spirits to discover a new shoe designer to covet. More soles to search, more fodder for the blog.
All very normal, regular stuff… except for the fact that I turned 55. How exactly did that happen?
I don’t know about you, but I have more trouble grasping the middle of the decade than I do the beginning. Turning 50 seemed novel. It took time to sink in and it was easy to ignore at first. But turning 55 is much harder to disregard. When the second number is equal or greater than the first number, things start to get real.
I was watching some old home video footage of a Junior Choir Advent musical play I directed at my church in 2004. My daughter was in it and she was 8 years old. She was so little and her voice so high and squeaky. She had a few teeth missing and her hair needed a good brushing. I remember it like it was yesterday. Today she’s sitting in her dorm room in upstate New York getting ready for her first semester finals. My son wasn’t yet with us back then. In fact, he was only a few months old and living in Russia. Today he is a fifth grader with smelly armpits and a love for MineCraft. Where did all that time go? Where are those children? Those babies?
I see myself in the video too. I’m more or less the same. I have the same haircut with the same blond highlights and except for a few extra pounds and a few wrinkles I look just the same today as I did then. I might even still own that dress. I’m about to put together yet another Junior Choir Advent musical. I think this is number 23 or 24. I’ve lost count. It all starts to blur together. If it wasn’t for the videos and the photos, I wouldn’t know when anything happened because it all feels like yesterday.
It all feels like yesterday until I remember that my Dad is gone and my Mom just sold the house we all grew up in to only the third owner it has ever had. She’s living in a very small but nice apartment in a retirement community called Rolling Hills Ranch in Omaha, NE. She’ll be the first to you that nothing’s the same. My husband’s parents have been long gone but when I watch the video of my daughter, I can remember a time when my mother-in-law was very much in the picture. Our daughter was her first and only grandchild and she would lavish her with gifts both at Hannukah and Christmas time. It would drive me nuts when she would call or email in November and insist that I give her very detailed gift suggestions so that she would know what to buy. I would think, “why do I have to do her shopping AND my shopping too?” How silly of me. What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice on the other end of the phone today.
I see the parents with the car seats and the diaper bags and the kiddos in the restaurants with the booster seats and the french fries and I think; that was just me. Now I’m the one with the half empty nest collecting up all the picture books and toys to pass along to the next generation. Some of these things may even be antiques by now.
Let’s change the topic back to shoes shall we? A friend of mine mentioned a movie called “Only You” about a woman who falls in love with an Italian shoe maker. It’s on my must see list now. I want to do a post on shoe related movies. Send me your suggestions. “Cinderella” and “The Red Shoes” come to mind but there must be more. I need your help on this one.