Thursday, December 26, 2013

Where I want to be

This past weekend, I celebrated a milestone birthday as I turned 30. As my friends and fellow '83 babies had their 30th birthdays over the course of the year, I wondered how I'd feel when my turn came. As it happens, I am quite content to leave my 20s behind.

When I turned 20, I was in my second year of university. I worked my one and only co-op term at a nearby agricultural college, studied through the summer, got engaged in July, and spent a few weeks in Australia before heading to France for the school year. I felt like in some ways, my life hadn't started yet. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was ten, and I'd wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. That year abroad was one of the best decisions I made: I had the opportunity to study and travel in ways that I'd never be able to do again (or at least for the foreseeable future!). At the same time, particularly around exam time, I wondered how relevant my learning would be, years down the line. I really wanted to be a wife and mother, and did I really need to read Balzac and learn about the Vichy regime in order to do that? I had a vague plan in mind that I wanted to graduate, get married, teach for a couple of years, and then have kids.

At 30, I feel like my life is well underway. I have been done with my own academic schooling for awhile now: I graduated from university six years ago, and took my final AQ course five years ago. I'm getting to see a different side of the school system now, as a parent of a kindergartener, and as the wife of a continuing ed student. I still learn and teach in a couple of different capacities: in raising my kids as a stay-at-home mom, and in leading at our church's women's Bible study.

I ended up marrying my best friend earlier than I thought I would, two years before finishing school. It was neat to have him as my first housemate, having only had roommates (albeit awesome ones, Mandy and Hailey!) in first year residence. We had all kinds of adventures in moving and living odd places, like the top floor of a house in Hamilton, accessible by rickety outdoor stairs! We worked with the youth group at our church, and joined a young marrieds' small group just a few weeks after our wedding. The friendships we forged there are still going strong today. It was bittersweet when we moved six hours away, back to my hometown. But that had been the longstanding plan, and I got a job weeks after graduation, which is pretty much unheard of in teaching today! I taught for two years before going on an extended mat leave, and just this year I officially resigned. I have nothing but respect for women who can have a family and work either full-time or part-time outside the home; for me, motherhood trumped the working world. Or the paid working world, anyway.

As I rounded out this year, I lost my two dear grandmothers, within just days of each other. I am so thankful to have been able to spend time with them, and I am also thankful that Hubby's grandmother is still here, even if she's halfway around the globe. Just weeks after Gams and GG departed this earth, I learned that a new life would be arriving this July, Lord willing. I had a vague notion of wanting to wrap up my childbearing years around age 30, and even with all the challenges surrounding M, I didn't have a sense that our family was complete. We'll see what happens as this year progresses. I have heard nothing but good things about being in one's thirties, and I look forward to growing and changing in this next decade. For now, 30 finds me where I want to be.

30 is definitely better with people like these in your life!

I think I can still wear these pants at my age, right? Maybe the side braid will have to go... ;)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quite the complicated haircut

Hubby's work Christmas party is tonight, and I haven't had my hair cut since July, so I thought it would be a good idea to get it done this morning. Unfortunately, I waited too late and couldn't get an appointment with my usual hairdresser, so I decided to go to a nearby hairdressing school. The mall where it's located didn't open until 9:30, and the school didn't start appointments until 10:30 (even then, it's on a first-come first-served basis). Luckily my parents live near there, so I dropped M at their house with the understanding that I'd need to pick her up by 12, because they had to go out then. I got to the mall around 9:45, and I had planned to do a bit of shopping anyway, so I did that first. After debating whether it was worth the time risk, I decided to go for it.

The girl to whom I was assigned was very new; I could see her checklist at her station, and she had only done 3 women's haircuts before. Because I wanted to keep my long layers, after my shampoo I was reassigned to one of the advanced students. By then it was getting close to 11am, and I started to worry about meeting D's bus. Unless I was done and out of there in the next half hour, there was no way I'd have time to pick up M, drive home, and get to the bus stop on time. I texted a wonderful neighbour (whose daughter is on the same bus as D), and she agreed to get D from the bus. Then I called the school to let them know who would be picking D up. That would buy me enough time to finish the cut.

I was nervously watching the clock all through my appointment. Two girls blow-dried my hair, and one of the instructors put the finishing touches on some face-framing layers. I got my coat and bags and practically sprinted to the car.

As a general rule, I don't use my cell phone in the car; today was an exception. I had texted my mom to let her know the timeline, but she checks her phone about as often as I do, so I called her when I was en route. I loaded M into the car, remembered to give my mom a birthday gift to pass on to my sister (whom she'd be seeing later today), and booked it home. On the way, my phone rang, and even though I didn't recognize the number, I picked up. It was the school bus authority, checking to make sure I had okayed someone else to get D from the bus stop. My neighbour also texted me around the same time, asking me to call them. It all got straightened out, and within about 10 minutes I was at the neighbour's to bring D home for lunch. She was having way too much fun, so my neighbour said D could stay until after lunch if it was okay with me. Heck yes it was!

M was asleep in her car seat when we pulled into the driveway, so I carried her inside like a sack of potatoes. She had her lunch and then headed upstairs for a nap, only throwing a minor tantrum. D came home about an hour later, and from the sounds of things, both girls must be sound asleep. Good thing, too! We've got a sitter tonight, and I wouldn't want to leave anyone with those girls when they haven't napped.