Thursday, November 09, 2017


My birthday is this weekend.  I will be 40.  At one time, forty seemed to me to be quite old, but now it just seems rather normal.  I remember talking to people about exercise when I was in my 20s and telling them, "I just want to stay in shape so I can play basketball with my kids when I'm forty."  Forty seemed a world away and rather abstract.  And now it's here.

My life isn't exactly what I pictured. While I'm in great shape and even took to running half marathons in my 30s, I don't play basketball with my kids because none of them particularly likes that sport.   My kids are great people, but they're also normal kids who talk back to their parents at times and tease their younger siblings.  Having lots of kids has been more wonderful than I imagined, but also a lot harder than I ever expected it to be.  My marriage is strong and healthy and I'm blessed with a husband who is as committed to our faith and family as I am.  But we also have a normal marriage where we don't prioritize different aspects of life the same way and we don't always see eye to eye.

At the beginning of the year, I knew this birthday was coming up and I wanted to set some goals for my 40th.  Fitness seemed the obvious choice so I set quite a few goals as a way to be "Fit by 40."  I wanted to improve my 5K time, break 60 minutes in a 10K, and run 2 half marathons and a triathlon, plus tackle my sweet tooth and lose the rest of the weight I gained with Benji. I started January off with a no sugar challenge.  I made it, barely, though for some reason I didn't understand at first, the last two weeks were ten times harder than the first two.  Come February, I figured out why my hormones craved sugar so much, and I settled in for a different kind of marathon, the nine-month-long kind.

Part of me wishes I had some grand achievement to show for my 40th year.  I wish I had run more miles than ever before and hit my goal weight.  But then I remember:  I do have something pretty amazing I worked on all year! I wouldn't trade any other accomplishment for the one I hold in my arms right now.

My body spent most of the year making this little miracle:

And that is better than any kind of trophy I might have earned.  Goals are great, but it's wonderful at times to have them interrupted by more important things.  I weigh more now than I hoped to at this birthday, but it was for a good cause.  And I have a whole year to change my "Fit by 40" goal to a "Fit at 40" one.  I'm thinking maybe it's time to run my second marathon?

And while no other goal can really compare to getting Gideon here, I did have a few other new experiences this year I am proud of:

1.  I learned how to swim and ran my first triathlon. I spent more hours training for the triathlon than I ever did for one of my halfs, and I did it while pregnant and dealing with morning sickness, so I'm very proud of that accomplishment.

2.  Last November, I decided to learn Portuguese.  I am far from fluent, but I am very proud of the progress I made.  I have completed every lesson Duolingo has and later this month, I should hit a 365 day streak!  I need to figure out the next step

3.  I took six months of piano lessons, practiced daily, and got much more competent, just in time to be asked to play for Relief Society.

4.  In April, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.  
We were blessed to enjoy a nice cruise to the Bahamas and explored the Florida Keys, never thinking that six months later, they would be devastated by a hurricane.

5.  This year, I marked the transition to being a mom of an adult child.  Lillian turned 18, graduated from high school, and then headed off to college. I don't claim credit for the amazing person she has become, but the fact that she is such a great person gives me confidence that the rest of the kids will figure it out, too.

This past year has been one of my best and my happiest.  I am so content with my life and what I've been able to accomplish in my 40 years.  

Happy Birthday to me!


kristine barr said...

I'm keeping my piano lessons a secret--really do NOT want to play piano in church at all. 'm just too unsure of myself.

Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

Happy, happy 40th to you! I think your 9 month marathon is infinitely lovelier than any other marathon you could have worked toward. :)

Liz said...

Happy Birthday Christina! This is really neat to see everything that has come together for this season of your life. And what a wonderful way to arrive at 40 with your beautiful Gideon. Great job.

Cibele Santiago said...

Você é uma super mãe, seu Português está muito bom.

Handsfullmom said...

Obrigada! Eu tenho muito a aprender. E sue Inglés é muito mehlor!

Clami Momes said...

Happy birthday! And I can relate to a lot of things you said, except I'm a couple of years older, with only six children from 16 to 1. Your blog's been inspirational for years, but it's the first time I post a comment.


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