My 20-year reunion is coming up next weekend. TWENTY YEARS. Once the shock of that number has settled in, what starts to set in is the realization that the dress rehearsal phase of life is over . . . it’s showtime. It’s been showtime.

At the 10 year reunion, you may have been finishing up grad school, still switching jobs trying to find the right fit, thinking of (or actively) starting a family . . . still somewhat in the planning stages of adult life. Most of everything still seemed up ahead. It seemed there was so much time still to correct mistakes, make U-turns, to begin “someday” to start being more financially responsible or accomplish your dreams.

But at the 20-year mark, you’re approaching 40 and realizing that someday is now. While it’s, of course, never too late to correct mistakes, make U-turns, or start pursuing your dreams, the difference between 38 and 28 is that life has sobered you up in a sense; you’ve gone from fantastical and fickle in your thinking to more realistic and responsible. You’ve come to realize, from your life experiences, from your losses, that “someday” is today.

Yet, despite life sobering us up–despite being another decade older–somehow life is better and I find myself looking forward to this 20-year reunion more than I did the 10-year.

I may have more lines on my face and 10 (or a few more) pounds on me than the last time we met, but I have a more open heart and a better head on my shoulders. I’ve matured into a woman since then.

Rather than trying to compete with you, comparing stories of all we’ve accomplished, I’m just happy to see you—that you’re still here. We’ve had some losses in our class since then.

I probably had more options then in a sense, but there’s an unsettledness that comes with that sometimes . . . like a restaurant with too big a menu, there’s a fear of making the “wrong” choices. I’ve settled into my life since then.

I’ll probably try on less outfits this time and be able to carry on a conversation with you a little better, looking you in the eye whether there’s a drink in my hand or not. I’ve learned to love and accept myself since then.

I don’t sweat the small stuff as much and have come to know what true, unconditional love feels like—and understand that it’s all that truly matters. I’ve become a mother since then.

The youth of my twenties was nice, but I wouldn’t go back if you paid me. A skinnier waist, no dark spots, more freedom—that’s 28. But not knowing if I’d have the courage to see the fruition of my dreams, caring far too much about the opinions of others, a more shallow appreciation for the gift of life itself . . . that’s also 28. 

But knowing who I am and what I’ll tolerate . . . 

Appreciating the simplicity of quiet moments . . . 

Loving my husband fully for the human he is—the good and the bad—rather than believing he should be some sort of Prince Charming . . . 

Raising my son and loving him on his good days and bad . . . 

The fact that I’m actually writing this rather than just dreaming about it . . . 

Being thankful I still get to call up my mom and dad . . . 

Loving this beautiful yet bittersweet life and still having enough time left to keep dreaming . . . 

This is 38.

Originally published on the author’s blog

You may also like: 

The Glorious Middle Years of Parenting

We’re Moms in Our 40s and We Get it Now

This Stage of Life? It’s Hard Too

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Krissy Brynn Jackson

I am a teacher, wife, and mom who's passionate about writing, sharing, & building community with other women (whether teachers, moms, or neither!).  I began blogging with consistency & a clearer vision about a year and a half ago and it's truly my passion project.  Although my site is directed toward a "teacher-mom" audience, only about a third of my writing is specific to teaching...most is about motherhood or inspiration type pieces about life in general.  My mission when writing & sharing is, above all else, to be REAL.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Small dog with head hanging out car window, color photo

Our dog Carlos has slowed down considerably within the last few months. He’s always been outspoken and opinionated–a typical firstborn trait–and to hear him snoring most of the day and tolerating things he normally wouldn’t tolerate (i.e. being carried from place to place by my son, forklift-style) put me on notice that he’s in the fourth quarter. Carlos looks and acts like an Ewok from the Star Wars franchise. According to Wikipedia, Ewoks are clever, inquisitive, and inventive. Carlos checks all three boxes. As a puppy, we tried crate training, but it never took. It wasn’t for lack of trying....

Keep Reading

Her Future Will Not Be My Broken Past

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hold hands by water, silhouette photo

Forty years ago, you were an innocent child. You were brought into this world for a purpose. Your innocence is robbed before kindergarten by a trusted relative. You are broken and bruised by those entrusted to protect you. You are extremely emotional in your childhood, but no one listens to understand. As you grow into your teenage years, emotions are bottled up out of fear. You lean into promiscuous behavior because that is the only way you know how to get men to love you. Because of abuse that no one took you out of, you stay around those who...

Keep Reading

Mom’s Special Recipe Means More This Year

In: Grown Children, Living
Bowl full of breadcrumbs and celery, color photo

Three weeks before Easter, my family and I stood in the hallway talking to a team of doctors whom we had flagged down. We were anxiously inquiring about my mom, who was in the ICU on life support. We hadn’t been able to connect with the doctors for over 48 hours, so it was important for us to check in and see what was going on. The head doctor began discussing everything they had observed in the scans and what it meant for my mom’s quality of life. Every word made our hearts break. The doctor continued to talk about...

Keep Reading

I’m a Mom Who Reads and is Raising Readers

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom with infant daughter on bed, reading a book, color photo

Since childhood, I’ve been lost in a world of books. My first true memory of falling in love with a book was when my mom read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each voice she used, I fell deep into the world of imagination, and I’ve never seemed to come up for air. My reading journey has ebbed and flowed as my life has gone through different seasons, but I’ve always seemed to carry a book with me wherever I went. When I entered motherhood and gave my whole life over to my kids, I needed something that...

Keep Reading

You Have to Feel before You Can Heal

In: Living
Depressed woman in bed

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” -Cheryl Strayed How do you heal? You let the pain pass through you. You feel your feelings....

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know How Much I Needed Other Mothers

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Two mom friends smiling at each other

I read somewhere the other day that when a child is born, a parent is too. In my first few months being a mother, I’m learning just how odd that sentiment is. In an instant, I became someone new. Not only that, but I became part of a group I didn’t realize existed. That sounds wrong. Of course, mothers existed. But this community of mothers? I had no idea. It took us a long time to get where we are today. Throughout our journey with infertility, I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mother. I knew that...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Tell a Couple Trying to Conceive to Just Relax

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Black-and-white photo of medical supplies

This is a plea. A plea to those who know someone who is struggling with infertility. So, if you’re reading this, this is directed right to you. Please, for the love of everything, when someone tells you they are struggling to conceive, do not tell them to “just relax.” I know it’s the cliche, default term most blurt out because they don’t know what else to say. It’s awkward to discuss for some. I’m 10000% positive it is coming from a good place and is meant to be calming and reassuring, and you really do believe it’s true because a...

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

That Mom at the Playground Could Become Your Best Friend

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Young mother sitting on bench looking at playground

I didn’t realize I was that mom at the playground. That mom who always smiles at the other moms even if she doesn’t know them. That mom who often makes small talk while she pushes her toddler on the swings. That mom who strikes up a conversation while sitting on the bench watching her older kid play. That mom who can often tell whether you are interested in talking to her or not. And if you don’t seem interested, that’s okay. Because maybe you’re preoccupied with other things going on in your life right now. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the...

Keep Reading