Ruthie Gray Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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     I had a birthday last week and my family took all kinds of opportunities to make it special for me.  Especially my dear husband.  He put lots of extra effort into this one because I’m the first of the two of us to enter a new decade.  Not just any decade.  THE decade.  As in the big FIVE ZERO.  Ugh.
I only have four months on that man, and he never lets me forget it. 

     He surprised me with a small gathering of family and friends.  He had my two “away” college children traveled in to join in the celebration.  He bought a gigantic banner that had the number 50 on it, matching plates and napkins displaying the number 50, a cake with black flowers.  And of course, the number 50.  He was definitely more excited about it than I was.

     People have a lot to say about this milestone age.  My dad has been reminding me for the past 6 months that I was about to turn 50.  I don’t think he can believe it either.  Here are some other comments I received:

  • 50 is just a number.  (My 23 year old son.)
  • Well, at least you don’t look 50.  (25 year old daughter.)
  • Do you feel 50?  (Friend.)
  • 50 is the new 30!  (Great friend.)
  • Are you sad?  (Friend.)
  • Oh wow!  I didn’t realize this was the big one!  (So-called friend.)
  • Is this the big one?  (Um…friend?)

     And the classic line from my 23 year old nephew who never speaks unless he has something he deems important enough use the extra breath, and this as he was leaving the party, “Well, you’re only halfway to a hundred now!”

     Those comments alone let you know what everyone thinks about 50.  It means you’re getting old.  And the sad thing is, there’s no turning back. 

     I remember when Dolly Parton turned 50 and she was on the cover of Good Housekeeping. That was about 25 years ago and I had just had my first baby.  I thought, “That’s what I want to look like when I’m 50.”  Ok, don’t take that literally, I know what you’re thinking.  I just meant she still looked very young, and slim, and like she had a lot of life left in her.  It left an impression on me. 

     So now, here I am, I’ve arrived, and I don’t look like Dolly Parton.  I look like a short, non-slim, curly haired person who has lipstick on her teeth because she forgot to check herself in the mirror.

     Yep.  That’s me with my eldest and the lipstick on the teeth.

     I spent my birthday babysitting Sawyer who gets more hilarious every day.  He’s into yelling, “MA!” At the top of his lungs.  He also sings part of old MacDonald.  “E-I-E-I-O, woof-woof.”  That’s his version, and he sings it all day long.  Also he’s still obsessed with balls and Papaw.  The kid goes at top speed and you’d better not sit down or he’ll be into something faster than you can say, “Sawyer pooped again”. 

     Kylie, Jim and I readied ourselves to take Sawyer home at the end of the day.  The plan was to switch him out for his mama and get over to the movies to see the early premier of “Mockingjay”.

     I got ready to put on my vest while Kylie held Sawyer when Jim said, “You’re not wearing that 
are you?”  “What?!”  I exclaimed.  He had gotten my coat out of the hall closet and held it up, “You’d better wear this.”  I couldn’t believe it.  Why was he making a big deal about my vest?!  “That doesn’t really go with your sweater, does it, Kylie?”  Jim was making matters worse.  I looked at Kylie, who just laughed and shook her head.  I was in disbelief.  I checked myself in the mirror.  I looked fine.  “I’m wearing this.”  To which he held up the coat for me as he received a work phone call.   I huffed, jerked my vest off, and reached to take the coat from Jim as he talked on the phone.  Nothing doing, he insisted on holding it for me to put on.  I gave him a dirty look and angrily thrust my arm in the sleeve.  About halfway down I hit something blocking the rest of the sleeve.  I grabbed it and pulled it out.  It was a small box wrapped in gold paper with a gold bow.  I gave him (still on the phone) a withering look, and turned to open it when he motioned for me to tend to the other sleeve.  I pulled a matching box out of it, and then I gave him one more “You’re impossible” look. 

     I tore into those suckers.  Inside was a set of beautiful white gold earrings and a matching necklace.  Jim hung up the phone.  “See!  Here you were getting all mad and all I wanted to do was surprise you for your birthday!”

     I humbly and thankfully gave him the appropriate affection and then put on my vest.

     The rest of the evening was lovely.  My dear friend Betsy and her daughter met us to celebrate the end of my big day and watch the movie together.  We’ve been to the premier of the other two (they always come out around my birthday), so we couldn’t break tradition.   The movie was great, by the way – go see it.  The best part was at a very pivotal scene near the end. DISCLAIMER:  IF YOU HAVEN’T YET SEEN THE MOVIE AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED DO NOT READ THIS NEXT PART.  There, I warned you.  Anyway,  everyone was sitting there calmly, when all of a sudden, Peeta unexpectedly lunged for Katniss and threw her down, almost choking her to death.  It all happened so quickly and violently that Betsy screamed and almost dropped her slurpee.  Kylie couldn’t stop laughing and Jim whispered to me, “I almost peed my pants just now.” 

     That was worth it all.

     So now I am 50 and it has been celebrated and re-celebrated for a week now, I think we can safely move on.  Life goes on.  And hey, it beats the alternative.  Well, not really, I hear heaven is pretty great too.  Greater, actually.  So what have I got to lose?  I’ve got great memories, a great family, a crazy husband who goes to great lengths to show his love, and we are moving on to the in-law and grandparent years.  It has been a good life, I have learned and grown and made mistakes and learned some more. I’ve raised 4 kids.  To me, that is the greatest accomplishment I will ever make, but now my job is to remain faithful to my God and to be an example for them, as well as being there for them when they need a listening ear, support, or a word of advice.  To be there for my parents, who are aging and needing more attention, yet still very much independent. I’m so blessed to still have them around.

     My prayer is that I will live wisely and not waste time, making every moment count for Christ.

     Even if I am half way to a hundred!!!

     “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12


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