She’s thirty

Stephanie & Jack

Stephanie & Jack

Friday, November 1st, and we’re heading to Seattle for a long weekend. We’re going down to celebrate, and mark the moment, and wonder where the time has gone. Stephanie turns thirty – 30! – tomorrow. I’ve joked that I’m not sure who is more traumatized between us. I think it’s me. She’s actually excited to be leaving the 20s behind, and feel that she’s fully a member of the adult world.

I’m excited for her. She’s a wife, and a mom, and a teacher, a home-owner, a tax payer. She sees this milestone as a cap to a decade of growth and achievement. A Type-A first-born, she powers through to her goals.

I’m nostalgic. I vaguely remember my mom turning thirty. I clearly remember myself turning thirty. I’m utterly astonished that my daughter could be hitting this marker. Decade birthdays cause reflection, my daughter’s no less than my own. I look at her and have flashbacks to earlier years. Photos and videos tell her story, interwoven with lives of family, friends, and now, her husband and little ones.

I’m proud. She’s funny and smart and pretty, and she’s kind. She follows her faith. She’s organized and creative. She remembers birthdays, calls her grandparents. She’s a better mom than I think I was…firmer, and more disciplined. She’s a strong woman.

I’m humbled. Motherhood will do that. From birth to now, I’ve watched her grow, with awe. She is unique, as all individuals are; yet watching her develop has taught me that from mother to child, the generations repeat the rhythms of life. I hear her talk about Riley and Jack, about her life and her epiphanies, and I identify. Yes, I remember feeling that. I learned that lesson too. I’ve experienced the same emotions as she does. I’m just a few years further along the path. And with the vision of my 53 year-old eyes, I see that my mom, and my grandmothers before, did the same things, said the same things. We are linked by blood, but maybe more importantly, by common experience. With all the changes in the world, we are much the same at heart. Technology and fashions change. Love doesn’t.

One of my favorite quotes of motherhood says that once you have a child, your heart is forever walking around outside your body. That’s more true today than the day she was born. The love for the newborn grows and matures, just like the person. And now, thirty years rich with experience and memory, that love is a deep current that flows between us, mother and daughter. Not often spoken, but always there.

One of my favorite things about now is the ability to talk. We talk daily. Sometimes multiple times a day, usually short exchanges that keep us connected and rooted in the other’s life. The minute-to-minute events of childhood or traffic or a new haircut are the stuff of our conversations. Mostly. Sometimes we wander into deeper stuff, baring our hearts for a few minutes. But largely, through the magic of technology, we have a running dialog of the day-to-day.

Tomorrow we’ll treat her, and ourselves. We’ll open gifts and have dinner out, topped off with cheesecake. We’ll do photos and drink a toast to the day. Rob has a sentimental gift for her. I went with the more practical approach. I’m giving her a new camera for the coming decade. I expect lots of sweet shots to add to my digital collection.

Happy birthday to my daughter, my first born, my one and only Stephanie. You have been a joy and a delight! May you have many more to come, and may you be rich with love, opportunities to serve, and satisfaction from life well done. My deepest wish for you is that you experience the reward of relationships. Nothing is better than a life well lived, and full of love. But you already know that. You’re thirty now!

14 thoughts on “She’s thirty

  1. Love what you hope for her…”a life rich with love, opportunities to serve and satisfaction from life well done! And reward from relationships”. These truly are some of the greatest gifts in life. Remembering Stephanie as a darling little girl dressed in beautiful hand-smocked dresses stitched with love by you. Shared experiences and wisdom gleaned from previous generations of strong women have certainly contributed to her solid foundation for an abundant life.


    • Thank you Ann! I know you share similar hopes for your daughters! And I know your girls have a similar heritage….lots of good women in their lives to show the way! The older I get, the more I value the ones who walked before me, and beside me. I feel it’s a legacy to hand down…not to say that any of us gets it right all the time…but that we love, we try, and we persevere.
      There’s a quote I love…”Here’s to good women: May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” One of the greatest joys in life, I believe…the mother/daughter relationship! ~ Sheila


    • Thank you Renee! That’s a lovely thing to say!
      I don’t think of my blog as a journal, but now and then, when there’s some life event happening, I’m enjoying marking the moment with a blog post. Somehow it’s easier to write in this format than on a greeting card 🙂 ~ Sheila


  2. What a beautiful post honoring someone whom you obviously love and enjoy so very much! Oh that all daughters/mothers could experience what you two share. What a treasure.

    I know you’ll have a wonderful time together – and some bittersweet moments wondering where YOUR baby went — rejoice in the knowledge that she’s great – smart, kind and focused and know you had something to do with all that, too, Mom!

    Bests! MJ


    • Thanks MJ! We had a great visit…short but sweet! I was so happy that we were able to be with Stephanie on her big day. Turned out that no one was traumatized by the birthday number. I find that sometimes I anticipate feeling a little sad or nostalgic about something…and when the actual day / event arrives, I’ve somehow worked through the negatives in advance, and all that’s left is the joy. Between the birthday celebration and enjoying the little ones, the weekend was a pure delight. ~ Sheila


  3. Wonderful, wonderful post and tribute to your daughter! Your words are so eloquent and portray your thoughts so well. Your feelings for her are very similar to the ones I have for my son (who, by the way, turned thirty-THREE this past summer!).
    I hope your family has a wonderful time celebrating her birthday today. (The camera is an excellent gift choice, by the way.) Please pass along my best wishes to her!


    • Thanks for the good wishes Dianna! Yes, I know many moms will identify with my feelings here…definitely time passes too swiftly. We had a great weekend…so blessed to be close enough to be with Stephanie for this milestone! ~ Sheila


    • Thank you William! Sometimes I have this gift / talent! I wish I had it every day. But my children are always on my list of the good in my life. Bet you have a similar list! ~ Sheila


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