I will be 50 years old this week. Not to offend anyone who has already seen 50 come and go, but it sounds old to me. I don’t feel old; maybe there will be some twilight zone vortex on the day I actually turn 50.
I remember my father’s 50th birthday. He and my mom were managing condominiums in Redmond and we got him to go down to the cabana with the excuse of celebrating one of his friend’s birthdays. He was really grumpy about it, not wanting to spend his own birthday at someone else’s party. We sure surprised him.
Unlike my father’s birthday, I am throwing my own birthday party. Some of my friends think it’s wrong that I should throw my own party, but who better to do it than me? I have a vision and I am the only one who can make that vision come true and to know how to reach the variety of friends I have.
With the flurry of planning, I haven’t thought about the gravity of the situation at all. Then a couple days before the party, memories of my father’s 50th birthday flooded my head: black balloons, jokes about being over the hill.
I’m not sure what 50 is supposed to feel like, because to me it’s the age of my father, stuck in time. He passed away 14 years ago at the age of 63.
There must be some sort of acquired wisdom by the time anyone reaches 50, like don’t lift the electric mixer out of the cake batter when it’s still running.
I’ve had plenty of time this past week to ruminate over my impending doom – uh, age. I’ve blended butter and flour mixtures for three scone recipes, whipped egg whites into submission for meringues, scraped biscotti dough off my hands and gone to the store for forgotten ingredients more times than I can count.
I have often felt alone in this party endeavor with my kids still in school and my husband at work. They’ve been helping on the weekends, but homework comes first.
On a day I was feeling overwhelmed with all that was left to do, the song, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” was jingling through my head. I didn’t cry, but instead beat some batter senseless. As I was about to put scones in the oven after said beating, my mother and daughter surprised me with my best friend who flew in from Florida. She didn’t want me to have to throw my party alone, so she came early to help.
I suspected she might show up, but I didn’t know how it would go down. And on the day of my ultimate pity party I was thinking, “If there ever was a time for her to surprise me, this would be a good time.” She arrived that evening and she’s been putting the finishing touches on my garden, ones that I had reluctantly decided to ignore with all that I left to do for the party.
Then my husband decided to stay home on Friday to help and my sister took two days off work and drove up from Oregon to help. My world changed dramatically with the extra hands and suddenly things didn’t seem so bleak anymore.
So my second piece of wisdom to impart is to accept help when it is offered and don’t be afraid to ask when you need a hand.
I don’t know what the answers are or even what the questions are, but on the eve of my 50 years here on earth all I can think is, “Life is good and so are scones.”
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is currently 50 years old. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.