Again?: Reflections on Turning 40

Again?: Reflections on Turning 40

Tomorrow is “First Grade Day” in kindergarten, so Moriah was searching around the house this morning for “first grade things” to bring to gan. She discovered the old browning, pink, be-butterflied school backpack that has already been through 3 daughters, and the old Hello Kitty pencil case that has already been through 1 or 2.

And then I got an idea… I raised my eyebrows higher than the tops of my ears and whispered conspiratorially to Moriah, “And I have something else for you too…”

And I reached my hand deep inside the motley box of school supplies and hair elastics and brushes and batteries on top of the freezer, and rummaged around in there until I found it…

And I pulled it out, and I handed it to Moriah:

“Here you go! It’s your first pencil!”

As excited as a 16-year-old getting into his new car with a still-hot license in his pocket. As excited as a 7-year-old heading off to school with her newly-pierced ears and sapphire studs…

My Moriah’s eyes opened wide as she grasped that green sharpened 1st grade pencil tight in her hand.

And I felt the intense sweetness of going through it all again.
***

Tsofia’s turning a year this month, so yesterday my husband put away the newborn to 12-month box, and took down the 1-2 year-old box from the upper shelf of the closet. And I sat down in my room and went through each and every dress and outfit that my toddlers have worn over the past 12 years. Some outfits have only been worn by one child, and some outfits are about to be worn by their 6th . But every dress and shirt and pair of tights evokes nostalgia and memories. Memories of framed photographs from long-ago summer trips, and 1st birthday cakes with upside-down strawberries on top, and the daily in and daily out of the fun and fighting of the Weisberg family home.

And then I lay my twisting and turning Tsofia down on my bed, and distracted her into the frilly turquoise top and matching pants that melted my heart. And I smiled big when I remembered my soon-to-be 1st grader Moriah crawling around with her drooly 2 lower teeth in that same suit.

And I felt the intense sweetness of going through it all again.

***

I turned 39 this year, and I am surprised by how disorienting and troubling this transition to my 40th year has been for me.

Yesterday, when I handed my husband the box of baby clothing to return to the high shelf until the next time, I wondered how many “next times” there will be. Or even whether there will be a next time.

And I wondered whether I will ever feel the sweetness of going through it all again.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user Peter Dutton

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12 comments

  1. wow… I’m turning 30 soon. We have such different thoughts/experiences in our lives!

  2. I read this and sighed deeply. I also just turned 39. My motherhood experience is a constant struggle of trying to find the sweetness and fun in those moments, beyond the ‘work’ involved, since I’m not a ‘natural’ mother. And wishing that I could relive these milestones as they had been for the first, and then second child. Now my third is going into first grade, and I’m so glad I read this: it reminded me that for him, it IS the first time, and it’s a big deal, and I’m going to have to show him that for me, it is special and exciting and wonderful, too. And it is, if I would just stop and think about it.
    thank you for reminding me.

  3. It’s funny, even though I’m “only” turning 33 this year, I always wonder if I”m putting things away for the last time. Maybe I’ll only have one boy, maybe I’ll have all the rest boys (no more ruffles! sad!) maybe 3 is all that is going to be for me. Who knows. I’ll remember to relish all the little moments more this week, thanks to your post!
    It was a pleasure meeting you in the park the other day. I’ll try to de-lurk more often.

    • JewishMom

      happy you un-lurked yourself…and then I saw you working out with skippy the next morning– nice to see you around the ‘hood.

      • I don’t know how tznua it is to work out there, but I need something extreme to start losing weight, and Skippy is nothing if not extreme. Plus, the kosher Gyms are WAY outside our budget, LOL.

  4. Wow! so true! I’m also close to that age, and when changing winter to summer for my youngest (1.5) I wondered for how many more times I’ll be using them…

  5. i feel a little out of my league here.
    i just turned 49 and gave birth to my 10th child (ka’h).
    i have to laugh at the memory of how i shared many such thoughts with you when i turned 39, and how Hashem in His Wisdom decided to entertain me with a life i had never imagined…
    in the meantime, 4 more kids showed up. i gave away all my baby clothes TWICE, figuring i was “too old” to need them again, i gave away all the boys’ clothing figuring i was just destined to have girls (7!) and then having another boy….. and so on.
    to quote that famous baseball announcer, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”.
    Enjoy life, ladies, and let Hashem take care of the Cheshbonos!

  6. JewishMom

    thanks tamar, this REALLY made me smile. Mazal tov and much nachas from all of your surprises!!!

  7. Elana MIzrahi

    Beautiful Jenny.

    Love,

    Elan

  8. So funny to read this…. I just came down from sorting out some clothes for my 2 year old, putting away the 12 month size that he only just grew out of and getting out some 24 month that he might just fit into now. My baby is only 3 weeks old and I’m still reeling a little from a very difficult labour and the sheer exhaustion of this post partum period. That voice keeps nagging me: “could you really do this again?”.

    But then, as I put away the 12 month clothing and thought that IY’H only one year from now, and boy do those years fly by fast these days, I will be taking it out for the baby and he would be a toddler and no more delicious squishy milky-smelling newborn and I thought “If I am so blessed… how could I NOT do it again?”!

    I think I’m going to try and take to heart the beautiful comment of the previous poster, to leave the cheshbonos to Hashem and just enjoy!

  9. Hadassah Aber

    wow! great article. You never know – and Hashem has interesting plans for all of us. My first two kids were a girl and then a boy barely over a year apart.(My age 21 & 22) When they were 2 and 1 my mom sewed them matching suits (hers with skirt, his with shorts). Over the years one or another of my kids wore one or the other but it wasn’t until my last two again a girl and a boy a little more than a year apart when I was 44 and 45 did I get to use the suits at the same time! Even though I didn’t end up saving all the baby clothes over the years certain special outfits did get saved. My mom really enjoyed seeing the suits worn together! Not only that I passed them down to my son who also had a girl then a boy just over a year apart. He also sent my mom the picture of the kids wearing them together!

  10. I missed this post, so I’m glad you linked to it. I can’t believe how much I love doing everything a second time (and with a boy! and with only one baby at a time!). I thought somehow I would be more jaded. Each new bit is so precious every time it happens.

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