I wanted to reflect on every week of my first month being forty:
First Week: It involved running everywhere to prepare for Wlad and I's 40th birthday bash. I pride myself in being thrifty and wise with money but a dollar here and a dollar there heaped up to more than a couple thousand and I was upset at myself for spending so much for a birthday party. Jennifer Covelli, who was my assistant teacher for a while, was the brains behind the event (Roaring 20's theme) and she had to keep reminding me that I was only going to be 40 once; that everyone will remember this day, and that yes, Wlad and I were well worth it...It turned out to be a party worth every penny and more. A night Wlad and I would never forget.
Second Week: Baby Paris, my cousin's daughter, who was 2 1/2 years old, died two days after that birthday bash. I learned that I was not as strong as I thought. I pride myself in being able to muster cerebral strength no matter the situation and I could focus on anything, especially when it involved work, no matter what was happening at home. The day after Paris died I wrote my boss and told her I could not come to work that week. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I cried everyday. For me, it wasn't about losing Paris, although that in itself brought its unbearable weight of sorrow. I could not function because I had witnessed my cousin, Nightingale, and her husband, Chris, wrestle with their sanity in the process of losing their first born. I watched them in that hospital room, overcome with anguish and pain...their sorrow was maddening. I had never felt so helpless, so useless in my life. I walked out of the ICU room at one point, found a corner in the hallway, and sobbed. I wasn't weeping at that moment for Paris. I was in agony for my cousins...
Third Week: The day after we buried Paris, Alanna got sick. The next day she tested positive for Influenza A, the same flu that eventually put her on life support four years before. I pride myself in staying calm and cool in front of others, nomatter the situation. But by Tuesday, when we had to take Nana to Columbia Presbyterian, I bursted into tears at work. I never burst into tears. I do not cry in front of others over my pain. I cry for other people's pain but I do not cry over my own, especially not in public. We had just buried Paris. And now we were back in the hospital with my daughter. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally spent...but I knew, deep down, that Nana would be ok. And she was...I learned that it was ok to break down and cry. Earthquakes do not follow as a consequence. The world does not fall apart. Sometimes it is quite ok to burst into tears.
Fourth Week: The last week of March was my busiest at work. I had 5 tours and I was finishing a course online. Toward the end of the week, I had an interview with a clearly well educated and wealthy parent. I had prided myself in not accepting a child impulsively in our program--but that day, I went against my own protocol. I did not complete the interview the way I normally do. I did not consult with the teachers in the room who were assessing the child. I accepted the child impulsively. And by the time that interview was done, every fiber of my being knew I had made an absolute wrong decision. I went home angry. Before the night was over, I knew I was angry only at myself. I have learned from the past that impulsive acceptance always had a consequence, and I had made a vow to follow protocol. But because I set the rules, I freely broke them. I learned, once again, that even if you're the one calling the shots, you have to abide by the regulations set in place. Rules are there for our own protection.
What a roller coaster it was for my first month being forty; I realized that even at this age, the things I think I can pride myself over are dependent on the situations going on in my life. I have entered 40 so full of confidence at knowing who I am. In one month's time, I've discovered I am still in the process of getting to know me. It was a rough month and I am so thankful for God being there, and I am relieved it's over.
And now, April has begun...