So, this is 40…

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It’s not the happily ever after I imagined as a teenager, but I’m happier at 40 than I was at 30 or even 20.

This past year has been the most difficult year of my life and the most liberating. My family taught me that good things (important things) are worth fighting for, working for. And I finally realized that I’m important, that my needs mean something, that my emotional well being matters. Some people call this selfish, some call it self care, I call it self preservation. I had all but lost the woman I was, my boundaries were gone. My freedom and independence are now highly prized and regarded because I fought so hard to regain them. I have control of my life, my decisions, my finances. And I will never surrender those again.

It’s not that we don’t have scars, but don’t they make you tougher? My boys may be a little more protective of their mother than before, but if they’ve learned to protect rather than tear down, that is something of which I’m extremely proud. That I’ve earned their respect as a woman makes me proud because that was part of my mission too. My boys have learned that you have to work for what you have, and that people will treat you the way you allow them to. They are quicker to pitch in and help, to love and to forgive. Our bond is stronger and they have matured beyond their years.

Standing on this side of the storm, the sun is shining, the rainbows are out. There is still the occasional thunderstorm, but I know, and more importantly, my boys know, that we can weather it together. And that we will not just weather it, we will soak up the rain and grow from it.

So I welcome this decade with open arms, a huge smile on my face and lightness and laughter in my heart. Here’s to 40!