Forty Is Not So Bad

I just wanted to thank everyone who spent time with me during my birthday weekend, even if it was just over the phone/facebook. We all have our own thoughts about turning 40 and we’ve all handled it (or are handling it) differently. I realized I spent (and wasted) some of my 39th year worrying about the stroke of midnight, which would bring in my 5th decade. This year, as I shared moments with my best friends as they turned 40, I had the opportunity to prepare myself for my turn.

I know 40 is just a number, and when I look in the rear-view mirror of my life, I see that I’ve lived and am living a life that is better than my dreams.  I’m where I want to be and I’m surrounded by family and friends who I love, admire and cherish.

Growing up, all I had were my parents and brothers (which is not a complaint).  But, being raised in a military household, I moved from state to state every three years or so.  Because of that, I feel I lost out on “growing up” with someone, with friends.

Today, I’m focusing on my last 25 years.  Twenty-five years ago, we moved to San Antonio and planted our roots here.  Twenty-five years ago, I met kids in the 8th grade who would end up being part of my “life support.”

I was raised with the idea of “family first” and that I really shouldn’t rely on friends.  But I have to say I broke the rule, and I do rely on friends on occasion.  I rely on them to fill my house with laughter, I rely on them to listen when I have a story to share, I rely on them to offer advice when I don’t have the courage to ask for it, and I rely on them to set me straight if I need direction.

Yes, I have my family to fulfill the same requests, and they do it whole-heartedly.  My family IS my #1.  But during my childhood, when I had to leave friends behind, I was left with small voids in my heart.  Today, as I look through some photos, I’m seeing the faces who’ve filled those voids over the years.  My heart is whole.

This post is my Thank You card to YOU, my dearest family and friends.  Thank you for sticking with me.  Thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for your acceptance, love and thoughtfulness.  Thank you for your inspiration.  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for the laughs, happy tears and the shoulders to cry on.

Mom and Dad, thank you for everything you did to make my 40th birthday so special!  My Coca-Cola party was something I’ll never forget!  Thank you for the midnight coffee, breakfast and dessert, too.  Every moment I have with you is a treasure… just for me.

Blanca, thank you for every sleepless hour you spent doing something for me.

The eight hours of baking after a week of 24/7 on-call hours, is a gift all by itself.  You amaze me.  Thank you for being by my side for the last 13 years.  You’ve been my rock when I fall into sinking sand.

To my brothers (Andy, Eric and Diamond)… thank you for the birthday songs over the phone.  Yes, I admit, I look forward to those calls every year.  I don’t care how old I am… I need those calls from you.

To my double-mint twin friends (Melissa and Mercedes), thank you for your friendship for the last 25 years.  You two have had a special place in my life from day one!

To my BSF, Laura… Thank you for every little thing you do for me.  Nothing you do goes unnoticed.  You’ve come around during moments I needed someone (without realizing it)… with a simple text, a Facebook post, a card, an unexpected gift… You’ve always been there for me. I’m grateful for you.

To my best buddies, Phyllis and Deb… what can I say… You two are amazing women!  I love our double-dates and our travels. It’s my favorite thing to do!  🙂

My sweet friend, Marisa… I missed you this weekend.  I pray for your quick recovery.  I know you would have been right by my side when “40” slapped me in the face!  🙂

Favorite Aunt Kina and Favorite Uncle Richard… *whistling with four fingers in the air*  I love you guys!  I know, down deep in my heart, that without our weekly adventures with you, we might have taken a little longer to recover from heart-break.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR OUR NEXT ADVENTURE!

And last, but not least, Rachel… We can always count on you to support us.  You’ve been a very important part of my life.  You’ve stood by us when others turned their backs.  You’ve thrown out a rope when we couldn’t reach the top.  Thank you for taking me in with open arms.  Thank you for your unconditional love.

I have so many other family members and friends I’m grateful for.  I could spend all day sharing some stories.  Please know you are all in my thoughts.  Every person I’ve met throughout my life has helped me get to where I am today.  IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, and I have you ALL to thank for it!

May God bless you all.

Love always,

Val

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