Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today is my birthday, and I am thirty-two.

The number does not sink in for me, because how is this turning of numbers possible? Three decades and two years, a good husband, two kids (really? my very own?), a house with a dog (and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, which I have not told you about before), the best friends and connections a girl could ask for, a whole amazing childhood plus some adulthood tacked on, gobs of mistakes, and accomplishments. This worth of life just doesn't seem plausible.

But I like getting older. I like what time has done to my face, making it more womanly, I see. And I like that time helps me learn myself, to understand my personality and my purpose and come to accept it all. I feel the bud of that little bit of wisdom that comes with life under your belt.

I also don't like getting older. Not so much because of the wrinkles, the easier aches and the greater intention with things like exercise (those things I just sort of allow to enter the door with me), but because everything and everyone around me gets older, too. It's hard to see things dilapidate; the things and places that have defined me. It is hard, too, to see loved ones, well, dilapidate.

It's my first birthday since my dad died. Today he won't call first chance he gets to say, "Happy Birthday, JD." It is better this way. He is safe and he is comfortable now, and I don't wish his pain back just so he could call me. But I miss him, it's been five and a half months, and the missing grows stronger. It has me so sensitive, especially today.

I didn't plan on its sadness when I sat with this post in mind. Really, I was going to write it hopeful and with pride. It is a day to be happy, a day to celebrate, this I know, because I am blessed and my life is filled with love and meaning. But the sad gets me, too. I try not to let it overwhelm me, but sometimes I've no say in that matter. Such is (my) life, this is one of those things I've learned.

And so now how do I end this big long thing? I have no jokes, no fancy quotes today. A summary of my feelings would be lame. Sometimes I think my laying everything out for you to read just so must be exhausting.

How about I smile at you. That's all.

Thanks for listening. And thanks for being a part of this life of mine.



Heather Sunseri said...

What a sweet and real post, Janna! My birthday was last week, and I had many similar thoughts. I'm not sad that I'm getting older, but it is very difficult watching our parents age and our friends' parents age, etc.

Happy Birthday, friend! I hope you have an incredible and very, happy day!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Ahh, 32--me tooo! Just kidding. Happy Birthday, dear girl. Aging is not so bad at 32, everything still lives still North. :) I hope and pray you can keep your good attitude for aging as time greets you.

I am glad you are thinking of your dad today, this is how he continues to celebrate your birthday with you.


Rebecca Nazar said...

Happy Birthday, Janna, and many more. : )

Mason Canyon said...

Happy Birthday and wishing you many, many more.

Thoughts in Progress

JKB said...

Happy happy happy birthday!!!

I'm with you on your dad. ((hug)) I think about my Grandma all the time on my birthdays, too. Miss her horribly.

Jessica Nelson said...

Happy Birthday Janna! It sounds like this is a bittersweet birthday for you, but I hope as the day goes on, it edges more into sweet and leaves the other behind. :-)
Lovely post...

Jeanette Levellie said...

32 is the most wonderful age to be: you are past the stupid teens, the bumbling twenties, but not into the "how did I get here?" forties and the "I can't afford to waste even a minute" fifties. You are full of wonder, life, and music.

And I love how you write. You pull me into your heart every time. It's not exhausting--it's enlightening.

Happy Day, sweetie. I know your dad is hugging you, too.


septembermom said...

Such a wonderful post Janna! Happy Birthday to you my lovely friend :) Your dad is smiling on you today with love, pride and joy. Hugs to you.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This is beautiful. I love getting older, too. I feel like I've grown into who I am and am learning to be comfortable with myself.

Karen Lange said...

Happy Birthday! :) One of the things I like about you is that you are real, and this post reflects that. Real is a good thing.

It's interesting to see, whether with us on earth or not, how our parents and other significant loved ones are always intertwined in our lives. I felt the same way on my birthday after my grandparents and mom passed away.

Blessings and hugs to you,

Jennifer Shirk said...

Aww...HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Birthdays are kind of bittersweet for me too.
But it IS a day to celebrate!
Hope you have a wonderful and blessed one!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Happy Birthday.

I know how you feel. My mom and dad used to sing Happy Birthday on the phone.

It was just my mom for the first time this year.

Yep, sad.

Sending a huge hug and all this Halloween candy I've been eating way too much of. ;)
~ Wendy

Melissa Sarno said...

Happy Birthday Janna! I love posts like these, they are just so honest and heartfelt.

myletterstoemily said...

happy birthday, you sweet YOUNG thing!
i'm sorry you didn't get to hear your
father's voice this morning, but pray you
will hear your Father's voice all day,
saying "well done."

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Nothing wrong with sharing what you feel.

Happy Birthday!

Lori said...

Happy birthday!!!

Tess said...

The sweet moments of life would mean so little if we never experienced the sorrow. I understand that pensive place you seem to be in. It is not bad. It just is.

happy birthday to you...hope is is joyous.

Melissa Amateis said...

Janna, I so get this. When I came home from visiting my family a few weeks ago, I had this immeasurable sadness. Everyone around me is getting older. People I love are gone. Those things that defined my childhood are no longer there.

But there is something gratifying about making our own mark on the world. And, my dear, you are doing an excellent job of that. :-)

Nikole Hahn said...

It sounds like you had a great dad. Cherish that memory. I hope today the changing colors of the fall leaves remind you to add a touch of joy to your sorrow. No words are adequate. We grow. We change. someday we'll see our loved ones again.

Patti said...

Happy Birthday. When I was your age I thought I'd earned those years now as I approach 40, I'm not so sure.

Rhonda Schrock said...

Happy birthday, Janna! I'm sorry about your father. I'll pray a bit of joy to come your way, and a smile as you think of him.

It sounds like you have a wonderful life.

Smiling back.

Tana said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you're out partying and eating yummy food!

Kara said...

Ahh, to be 32 again, enjoy!
Happy birthday and treasure this special day. Sending hugs:)

Karen said...

Janna, it's always ok to share your honest feelings. Life is full of happy and sad.

So, Happy Happy Birthday, dear friend.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Happy Birthday, Janna! I agree with the good and the bad that comes with getting older. I am enjoying my thirties so far, though :D

Alicia Cluck said...

I always love your words, and these touch me in an extra special way.

Susan R. Mills said...

Happy Birthday, young one! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday.

As for the hissing roach....

No comment.

I lost family this year as well and the pain, well, it stays with you, but reminds you that you still live and have something to live for.

Enjoy the day.

MedSchoolWife said...

Happy birthday, Janna! I really appreciate your positive outlook on growing older, and how you LIKE what it's doing to your face. It makes me happy to hear about people who feel that way.

I'm so sorry about the sadness sinking in about your dad today. The sadness hits us when we aren't ready for it, huh?

I hope that you have a wonderful day.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Happy birthday! A friend of mine just said something similar to this, she wasn't expecting her birthday to be sad, but when the day came and went and her mother wasn't there anymore to wish her happy birthday, it swept her at her knees.

Capri K @ No Whining Allowed said...

Happy Birthday Dear Janna!!!!!

You are just a youngster!
All those things you said? That is life, in a nutshell. The good with the bad, the sad with the sweet, the wisdom that comes with time.

Have a WONDERFUL year and many more to come!

Barb said...

I'm coming around late to wish you a happy birthday (have been in the throes of NaNo this past week)...

What a beautiful and very moving post, Janna. And I just want to say, having never known your age until reading it today, I about fell on the floor to learn that you are ONLY 32! Such a youngster--yet your thoughts are wise beyond your years, like that of an old sage! And that is a compliment--a true testament to your lovely writing. Thanks for sharing your personal insights with your readers.

Blessings to you this year and thereafter. :)

Deb Shucka said...

I hope even with the sadness of celebrating for the first time without the physical presence of your dad, that you had a special day - one worthy of the amazing woman you are.