Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Gifts At 50

As I have mentioned a couple of times before, I'm turning 50. Soon. Like, day-after-tomorrow soon.

I have not made plans for a big blowout party, or really any plans to celebrate my birthday officially. What I will be doing on Friday is what I've been doing since last Thursday---taking care of my ill mother-in-law.

My MIL had a very extensive and significant surgery recently and SO and I will be rotating weeks to care for her. While this is a challenging time because we are supposed to be planning our wedding, not to mention that 50th birthday, it feels as if it's a gift of more import to me.

My own mother and I had a complicated and sad relationship, one that left me feeling "less than" in many ways and wondering about my sensitivity and worth as a person. With SO's mother it's not like that because I'm not her daughter, there are no agendas, points to prove, or struggles for power. Though I'm her daughter-in-law, we have more of a friend relationship. We like many of the same things and share some creative tastes, and engage in raunchy girl-talk (much to SO's chagrin).

When SO and I began talking about MIL's care, I wasn't sure how well I'd do; for the reasons mentioned above. I am learning that I am much more caring than I'd thought, more capable than I'd thought, more available to be leaned on emotionally and physically than I'd thought.

While I won't be at an evening soiree' like the one I had for my 40th birthday, or dancing around in a coconut bra and grass skirt at Joe's Crab Shack like I did about six years ago, I'll be doing something equally fulfilling; receiving confirmation that I've grown into a woman that can be depended on and can think of others first; a woman who can be a friend and companion; that maybe in some small way I've paid it forward so that someone can do the same for me one day.

I know I've become a woman of value; that's a fine birthday present if you ask me.