What do I know about thirty? Well, I have a clear memory of a time when I did not know a single person over thirty aside from my parents, their relatives and friends. When I began my first job at a law firm, I was left with about thirty dollars a week after paying board to my parents (back when this was normal and you felt proud to do so) and I can clearly recall celebrating my thirtieth birthday.
I was about three months pregnant with our second child and could not zip my skirt up fully but wore it anyway as the suit jacket covered the opening. My parents came to mind our little girl Alexandria, who would turn three shortly after her brother Harry would be born. We were living in our first house and I was a founding teacher at the spanking new school built for our growing bayside area. We had fabulous neighbors whom we remain friends with to this day – although we moved away, travelled the country and the wider world with my husband’s military career which demanded resilience but also delivered adventure and financial security.
We spent a year apart when he was completing officer cadet training and became engaged mid way through that year. We had no time to enjoy selecting a ring together so I was to narrow the choice ready for his brief return so that we could have an engagement celebration at my parent’s home. My sister and I had some fun looking and as I was set on a gold band with a solitaire diamond, the choice was quite easy. We picked the ring up together when he was visiting me for his short leave and it was sweet and lovely – but not quite the same as looking from scratch together.
So for my thirtieth birthday I wanted to go out together and select a pretty ring which is exactly what we did. I love my dainty bowtie ring with diamond wings and a deep blue sapphire bow. I wore it to dinner that night which was in a refurbished lighthouse on the bay. Celebrating my o birthdays (really they should be called zero’s I guess) have been – interesting. My one and only birthday party was my 21st – at home, under Mum and Dad’s house with friends, a bbq and a flin flam man (yeah it was that long ago). My other 0 birthday for 40 was spent unpacking boxes in an apartment in Jerusalem looking for the 2 minute noodles I had stashed for our – three kids by now, (Annie born two years after Harry) whilst the UN had the military Dad in East Jerusalem at a particularly good turkish restaurant. The date was the 6th September, 2011 and we could never imagine the tragic events that would soon alter our own paths and countless others across the world.
Sadly for my 0 birthday for 50, I was losing my father and our sweet Mum would follow just five weeks after Dad had passed. My birthday was a deeply private affair with just my children and my sister. Military Dad was in the middle east, had been so for the past year and was awaiting the arrival of the new commander to do the handover. He did not make it home to spend time with my Dad, but I am forever grateful he was there for the funeral and to help with the comforting of Mum. My parents had given me five hundred dollars and wanted me to select a gift. With my sister again, I selected a solid, silver bracelet which I was able to show to my Dad and Mum. Seven years on, I wear it daily and feel happy and comforted to do so.
There is another 0 birthday on my horizons – a 30th for our first-born. Thirty, really and just when did that happen? Alexandria turns 30 on May 4, 2019. Her due date was actually June 15 which is my mother’s birthday but Alex showed her true personality very early on, as was her birth – which was six weeks early, complicated but able to be sorted out with time in special care. I came home without her but after two weeks we were able to experience the full joy and absolute fear of taking our first baby home.
Now here we are, happily preparing to have a small celebration of her own 0 birthday. This is a smart young women with outstanding academic and career achievements already gained. She is married to Greg and they have faced the excruciating loss of Greg’s Mum Julie, a beautiful soul taken way too soon, bore it together and like any of us have ridden the waves of love, loss, fun and weariness in their family. They have two tiny dogs, (‘rats’ the military Dad calls them secretly – well, not so secret anymore) busy jobs and a house in construction. They live happily except for each winter in the southern and yes, very chilly part of the country!
So my baby is turning 30 – do I feel old? No time for that as I have been playing at organizing her boho themed garden party (oh lord do not let it rain) and making sure she has the very best afternoon possible. It is a blessing, a gift to be so privileged to see my ‘children’ grow up. I know how young thirty years into the world really is and how many more wonderful and fulfilling adventures and life experiences are ahead for our daughter and those whom she loves and chooses to share her life with. 30 – oh my, what a joy to celebrate.
Happy Birthday Alpal, see you soon honey bunches.