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Monday, October 13, 2008

Growing Up


Today is my thirty-third birthday and as I sit here writing this, I can't help contemplating how fast the first thirty-odd years of my life have gone. As a child, the time seemed to drag so that every day, every week, every month seemed like an eternity. But as I've gotten older, I am astounded at just how quickly the world-- and my life-- has begun passing me by.


It amazes me that I have three children, the oldest of whom is a junior high student and the youngest of whom is only two. Both are bittersweet ages to me, because I've come to two realizations recently-- one that this is my last child and I will never again hold a brand new baby in my arms and think, "This is my child." The second of which is that high school and college aren't that far away for my oldest one and suddenly, as days and weeks and months whirl by, it seems like the time limit that he is exclusively mine and his father's baby is getting shorter by the minute. I'm not saying that it isn't rewarding to watch all of my children grow-- of course it is. But I can't help wanting to freeze time and hold on just a little more tightly to each and every imperfect day that we've been given.


And while time marches by, it does more than make my children older. It ages me as well. I look in the mirror now and can't believe how deep the smile lines (I'm feeling the need to be kind to myself today so we won't call them crow's feet) at the corners of my eyes have grown. Or that the lines in my forehead (a legacy of years of scowling at my junior high and high school students when they misbehaved) can no longer be smoothed away with a relaxed brow. And we won't even mention how my best friend stood over me a couple months ago and gasped in shock at the white hairs peeking through at the crown of my head.


And yet, though I fight aging with anti-wrinkle cream and home face peels, hair dye and endless trips to the gym, I can't help but be happy that I'm celebrating this birthday today. For with the years have come a certain maturity-- a certain understanding-- of the world and the eople around me. An acceptance of -- and even an affection for--myself that I didn't have in my teens or twenties. An understanding and liking of who I am-- flaws and all-- that was anathema to me in my younger years. And for that gift, I'm willing to put up with the wrinkles and slowing metabolism and even the first few white hairs.


And making the day even sweeter is the fact that the first chapter of my short story, Lightning Strikes, the prequel to my very first novel, A Christmas Wedding, went up at eharlequin.com this morning. It's a free, daily on-line read and a new chapter will post every day (except Sunday) between now and November 7th. If you get a chance, stop by and let me know what you think. Here's the link: http://www.eharlequin.com/article.html?articleId=1382


Oh, and in honor of this exciting event, I'm giving away a copy of my November book, A Christmas Wedding. I just got my author copies on Friday and the box is burning a hole in my dining room table ;) So leave a comment and I'll post the winner at the end of the comments section tonight.


My question for the day is simple. What do you know now-- about yourself or the world-- that you didn't know five years ago? Or ten? Or twenty? I can't wait to hear.




15 comments:

Rebekah E. said...

Happy Birthday!! One thing I learned about myself that I didn't about eleven years ago is that I actually like kids. Being the youngest in my family I was never around little ones so I didn't know how to act around them. when I got married and found myself pregnant I was really scared that I would be an awful mother and hate my kids. But I love children now and would have never thought it was possible.

Virginia said...

Happy Birthday!!! What I have learned is that life doesn't get any easier as we get older. When you put on weight as we age it just doesn't come off as easy as it did when we were young. So I just take life one day at a time.

Liza said...

Happy Birthday! I know that I can handle stuff better as I've gotten older(I'll be 37 at the end of the month). 10 years ago I would have freaked out about pretty much anything. Now I just take things one day at a time.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Happy birthday, treat yourself and enjoy!

What I've learned is that I'm a strong person and that I must live one day at a time and remember there is always someone out there who is suffering or hurting more than I could ever imagine, so I count my blessings!

Ellen said...

Happy Birthday!! I am 63 and one thing I have learned is that you need to enjoy life and make the best of what happens to you. You also need to take care of yourself because the healthier you are the better you will feel about yourself.

Jane said...

Happy Birthday, Tracy. I've learned that you never stop learning. When I was little, I couldn't wait to be out of school because I thought it was boring. I realized that as I get older that I don't want to stop learning. You can't grow as a person if you don't continue to obtain knowledge.

kimmyl said...

Happy Birthday!!! I've learned that I can take charge of my own life and do whatever I put my mond too. I stayed with my ex b/c I was afraid that I couldn't make it on my own and my self worth was as low as low could get. I have went to school and I'm now a hairdresser and work at the courthouse. Most of all I'm happy.

sarabelle said...

Happy Birthday!!

I have grown up alot in the last few years. I think I have learned to be a better person. I have kids now and a husband and it is not always an easy road, but unlike in the earlier years where you could just walk away, now I have learned to stay and fight for those that are most important to me. Family is a godsend and something that no man woman or child should be without.

Tracy Wolff said...

Thanks so much for all the wisdom, ladies. And the birthday wishes. It's been a quiet day, but with the crazy pace of last week, quiet is a good thing . . .

Estella said...

Happy Birthday, Tracy!
I have learned to make a little time for myself each day. The days go by so fast and a short break really helps me relax.

Maureen said...

Happy Birthday!! My birthday was Saturday but some years before yours. I've learned not to get caught up in the little things because in a month they mean nothing.

Dina said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

I know now that never think that bad things won't happen, they always can and that I am stronger than I think.

cas2ajs said...

Happy Birthday! I've learned that not everyone is going to like me but as long as I like and accept myself that's all that that matters. I'm the only one who has to deal with my choices and who I am.

Tracy Wolff said...

Thanks for all the life lessons! They're wonderful. I'm a little high on birthday cake at the moment--LOL-- so I let my middle son choose the winner's name out of a hat. And the winner is . . . jane! So, Jane, email me your address at tracy@tracywolff.com and I will get your book in the mail this week.

Jane said...

Thank you, Tracy.