Some Final Thoughts on Being Thirty


In a couple days, I will be graduating from the milestone age of 3-0 to the just-another-thirty-something age of 3-1.

Thirty-one.

It’s not a profound age like 18 or 21 or 30, but, still, I am eager for the new beginning.  I guess 30 is beginning to feel stale.

A year ago I began a series called, “Thirty Thoughts and Turning Thirty” and like most projects with a deadline, I have waited until the last minute to finish.

It’s been a great year with even greater victories so let’s finish out 3-0 with these thoughts (and vow never to write thirty things about anything ever again):

#27

Some things are just not meant to be.

For instance, I have never been able to spell occassionally.

And I still cannot spell ocassionally.

And I probably never will learn to spell ocaisonaly.

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#28

As a kid, I hated going to school because I just wanted to stay home.

When I got to college, I chose to major in Education so that I could get holidays and summers off (to stay home).

When I graduated college, I worked part-time jobs so that I could spend most of the day at home.

And now, after landing a good, full-time job, I still just really want to be home.

Why do I want to stay at home?

Home is where I can create, where I can flit from garden to kitchen to sewing machine, where my time is my own.

I guess for me, there really is no place like home.

(So can I please go home now?) 
 
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#29

After thirty years, I have finally allowed myself to spend the extra couple bucks on my favorite fabric softener.

Gain.

Mmmmmm, Gain.

Good-smelling clothes are not a necessity…

…but it’s also not necessary to spend life only having what is necessary.

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#30

I always thought that as I grew older, the dreams and desires I had as a kid would grow weaker.

On the contrary, they only grow stronger.

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Oh, heck, why not one more thought to grow on?

#31

I grew up believing that the strongest people were those who were the most independent.

Needless to say, I spent the majority of my life feeling very weak.

Therefore, I am so grateful to every friend and relative who ever loved me or, if anything, was patient with me.

Dare I say it??  I’m everything I am because you loved me.

(Stop laughing)

Thirty-one…here we go!

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #26 My First Gray Hair


My first gray hair.

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later…just like I knew I was bound to lose my first tooth, start puberty and gain the Freshman Fifteen.

I’m actually quite proud of this hair.  It’s gold and silver and shines like glitter in the light.  This strand is the prettiest thing my head has yet to produce.

It’s more of a unicorn hair than anything else, really.

To have made it to 30 before getting my first gray unicorn hair is really a miracle considering most of the women in my family started going gray in their late teens/early twenties:

But as beautiful as their white locks are, I’m not sure if I am ready to have my own just yet.  I mean, what if more come?  What will I do? I really hate the idea of using hair dye, but if you pluck a gray hair I’ve heard that ten grow back in its place!

Luckily, this hair came from a secluded spot at the back of my head.

That’s a good sign, right?

I mean, if this hair had sprouted from the top of my head, then that would mean that I was really turning gray, right?

No, I believe that this hair, as special as it is, is just a fluke.

It’s a fluke hair.

A fluke/magical/lucky/unicorn hair.

See?

Sparkly.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #24 Who I’d Eat Lunch With


This morning, as I was driving to work, “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat” by Herman’s Hermits came on the radio.  Since this happy-jumpy song makes me feel happy and jumpy (in a good way), I turned the radio up and contentedly bebopped along.

And then, for no reason at all, I began to cry.

Big crocodile tears.

Big UNNECESSARY crocodile tears.

What’s going on here? I sobbed.

For some reason, hearing Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat made me imagine my Momma as a little girl.  (She must have been around 10 years old when the song came out.)

Suddenly, I wished very much to know 10-year-old Momma and mourned the fact that 10-year-old me would never get to play dolls or go on picnics with 10-year-old Momma.

(I think we would have been good friends.)

Then I realized that I’ve finally decided on my answer to the popular ice-breaker question:

“If you could have lunch with any person from history, who would it be?”

(I take ice-breaker questions very seriously, in case you were wondering.)

I would love to have lunch with the kid version of my Momma!

We’d munch on peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and chat about our favorite cartoons.  Later, we’d ride our bikes through puddles and laugh as loud as we could.

Momma’s 10-year-old laugh.

That’s a sound I would have loved the chance to hear.

But for now, Herman’s Hermits will have to suffice.

My 3-year-old Momma

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #23 Victory in a Cereal Box


Last week, I had a small victory in self-worth.

It involved a box of cereal…

A couple weeks ago, I was in the grocery store staring longingly at a box of Raisin Nut Bran.

“I wish I could afford Raisin Nut Bran,” I lamented.

Raisin Nut Bran has always been one of my favorite cereals, but I have never, ever purchased a box of it.  In my mind, I cannot justify spending three dollars and fifty cents on a box of cereal.

And yet, I still really, really want it.

As I left the cereal aisle that day with a less expensive box of cereal in my cart, a little voice in back of my head whispered, “You CAN afford Raisin Nut Bran!”

I’ve gotten really good at ignoring this little voice, but for some reason, her words resonated with me that day and I couldn’t get them out of my head.

“Why DON’T I buy the cereal I really want?” I asked myself.  “I have a job!  I can afford three dollars and fifty cents!   Am I not worth three dollars and fifty cents?”

I guess not, considering the fact that I’ve loved Raisin Nut Bran for 25 years and yet have never purchased a box for myself because it is fifty cents more than I think cereal should cost.

Ten, five and even one year ago, I still would have found some reason as to why I should not waste money on frivolity.

But on last week’s grocery trip, I decided that I was worth the waste:

The next morning, I snuggled up in bed with the Clyde Journal and a big ol’ bowl of Raisin Nut Bran.

And I enjoyed every bite.

Oops!

I got so carried away in my savoring that I forgot to leave Baby Girl some milk.

Sorry, kitty.

Now that I have overcome the Raisin Nut Bran brain block, I think I am finally ready to purchase other frivolous products I’ve had my eye on such as Bonne Maman jam:

And gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bags:

And Viva paper towels.

And organic milk.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #17 Leilani the Terrible


Once upon a time…I was terrible.

I know.

I, too, find this hard to believe.

But it’s true.

And I have proof:

Above is the drawing that my long-suffering mother sketched of her 3-year-old daughter, “10 minutes after housecleaning.”

A destructive she-devil who strangles cats, breaks furniture and urinates on herself.

This is how Momma used to view me.

When I was younger, I used to obsesses over this photo. Sobbing big crocodile tears, I assumed that Momma had taken the time to draw (and LAMINATE) such a horrible picture of me because she didn’t love me anymore.

I always feared that Momma would stop loving me.

I also feared that, one day, she would run away.

One morning, my fear came true!

After waking up, I began my usual search for Momma.  Most mornings, I would find her in the bathroom or her closet or in the kitchen.

This morning, however, she was not in any of those places.

She was also not in the living room or my sisters’ rooms.

She wasn’t ANYWHERE!!

Panicked, I began to cry. “So this is it,” I thought, “Momma FINALLY runned away.”

Overwhelmed with grief, I ran across the street to my grandparents’ house to break the news.  Grandfather picked me up, wiped my tears away with a warm, damp washcloth and carried me back home…where Momma was waiting for me!!

Apparently, she had been out feeding the chickens in the henhouse the whole time.

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Now that I am older and no longer strangle cats or pee in my pants (except for when Lisa is around), I appreciate the humor in Momma’s drawing.

I imagine her sitting at the kitchen table, exhausted after a long day of mothering.  Suddenly, she finds herself sketching the wretchedness of her toddler on the back of an old menu, laughing to herself because, at this point, it’s all she can do to keep from running away.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #16 A Tale of Two Sisters


I have two older sisters named Leslie and Lisa.

Together we make quite the tongue-twister!

More often than not, Momma had to call all three of our names before she finally landed on the one she wanted.

“Lis-Les-UGHHHH-Leilani!  One of you ‘Ls’ get in here!”

Growing up, my sisters and I fought like cats and dogs.

Actually, Leslie and Lisa got along pretty well.  It was when I entered the room that a fight usually broke out.

Because I played with their toys without their permission.

And borrowed their clothes without their permission.

And tattled on them.

And “got away with everything.”

Therefore, Leslie and Lisa referred to the years before I showed up as “The Good Old Days.”

I don’t blame them.

I wouldn’t have wanted me around, either.  🙂

Nevertheless, I loved my sisters dearly and would have given anything to be their best friend.

It’s been 17 years since we all lived under the same roof, and I am amazed to think that, at one point in our lives, we got to see each other every day and eat dinner together every night and sleep in the same bedroom!

Now we are lucky if we all get to see each other once every 5 years.

How fortunate we were back then without even realizing it!

It has taken me all of my 20’s to process  the impact my sisters had on me, both positive and negative.  At first, all I could focus on was the negative, but now after gaining healing and understanding, I am surprised at how much my sisters really meant to me and how much they formed me into the person I am today…

I have always wished to be as brave as my oldest sister, Leslie.  She never cried on the first day of school.  She wasn’t afraid to get a job or learn to drive.  She made friends easily.  Meanwhile, I struggled with ALL of these things.

Leslie also has this amazing ability to thrive in difficult situations.  Many times I  look at Leslie’s life wonder,HOW on EARTH did she survive THAT?” 

I will never be as much of the free spirit that Leslie is, but she does inspire me to relax my hold on the need for control.

Lisa always got mad at me for trying to copy her, but she made it difficult not to because she colored the best, had the prettiest handwriting, wore the cutest clothes and took the nicest care of her stuff.  Next to her, I was a bull in a china shop.

Lisa taught me how to be candid and honest, qualities which have proved crucial to every friendship I’ve had.

Lisa also makes me laugh harder than anyone else.  Overall, she is the precious jewel in our family that no one can quite get enough of.

It has taken me almost 30 years to fully appreciate my family, and I plan on spending my next 30 years knowing and loving them even deeper.(Which means this getting-together-every-5-years nonsense has gotta stop!)

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #15 Forcing Innocent Cats Into Clothing


I have always felt compelled to dress animals.

Especially cats.

Why?

Probably for the same reason that Anne Geddes feels compelled to dress babies up as ladybugs or petunias: I just wanna see how much more cute my pets can look.

Dresses, jumpers, hats, headbands–all of these only help to enhance the adorableness of cats.

Oh, and let’s not forget Mr. Potato Head glasses:

It took me several attempts to squeeze these glasses over the ears of my kitty cat (his name was Animal), and Grandfather even gave me a spanking for not leaving the poor cat alone.

But I have NEVER been able to leave cats alone.

So I tried when Grandfather wasn’t looking until finally Animal gave in.

Giving in.

It’s the only way out for my cats.

If they struggle, I embrace them tighter.

If they hide, I find them.

If they shake out of their outfits, I simply put them back on.

I know it sounds cruel, but the results are always well worth my efforts:

I’m all smiles. Brodie? Not so much.

Awe!  Looky mah Brodie Buddy!  So sweet.

(Even though he’ll never admit it, Brodie really did love that straw hat.)

Whether female or male, each cat that enters our home must at some point wear “The Dress.”

“The Dress” is a red and white dress that I used to wear as a baby.

I only looked so-so in it.

But Baby Girl?

I can’t decide if she’s smiling or contemplating murder.

She was simply ADORABLE!!!

Sometimes, I like to cut my cats some slack by adorning them with accessories instead of full-blown outfits.

Even then, they are ungrateful.

It was a struggle keeping Brodie’s Pope hat on his little head, and as a result, I never was able to get a good photo of him wearing it.

Next time, I’m using double-sided tape.

“I’m going to kill her, I’m going to kill her, I’m going…”

I was especially proud of these makeshift bunny-ear headbands.

My cats?

They were especially NOT proud to be wearing them.

Thankfully, nobody struggled too much, and I was able to get the photo I wanted.

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I will never outgrow dressing my cats.

Because cats will never stop looking cute in clothes.

One day, I plan on sewing Halloween costumes for both Brodie and Baby Girl.  I can’t decide which to to make first, though: football player and cheerleader or Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Maybe I should do both.

NOTE:

No cats were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Annoyed, maybe.

Bothered, probably.

Inconvenienced, definitely.

But never harmed.