Yesterday, my friend Kristen gave birth to an adorable little boy named Levi. (I love the name Levi!). Within the last couple years I've seen at least half of my high school senior class get married. That hasn't phased me much. It should probably feel strange that we're all entering adulthood, but it's kind of exciting to see everyone pairing off.
But now that some of those couples are entering the world of parenthood, this growing older business is really starting to hit home. Kristen is not the first person in our class to have a baby, but she is the first person in our class that I was close friends with to have a baby. I am thrilled for her, and I'm excited about becoming a mother myself, and yet ever since I saw the pictures I feel like I'm in
Bizarro World some kind of alternate reality. Are we really here? Are we really bringing in the next generation to the world?
These are the people I feel like I was sitting in a classroom with yesterday. The people I spent 8 hours of my everyday with speculating about where we'd be in 5 years time. Now, over 6 years later, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. It's exciting to see where everyones lives have taken them, but it feels so strange...
And now it's our turn to be the adults, to be the parents... Can you believe it?
Growing up and growing older are good things. Some people begin to view getting older as a negative because of physical changes, increased responsibilities, tragedies, or other circumstances, but I challenge you not to let bitterness enter your heart. Our lives were designed to build upon themselves. As we grow, we learn, we become more whole, we experience new things and responsibilities, we survive tragedy and we experience great joys we needed context to understand. We're ever evolving to the point where we sometimes don't recognize our past selves. This journey can be and should be a beautiful one full of growth with an eternal perspective that makes us want to continue forward...
I can't guarantee that I will feel this way every single day as the wrinkles develop and the bills roll in, but I do believe it's true and I refuse to let fear or resentment enter my heart about getting older. I want to embrace each year for the beautiful phase of life that it is, because all stages of life are valuable. It's within our control to get the most out of them.
So here I am, reflecting on getting older and the strangeness of it all and yet still remembering exactly how it felt to be eight years old and day dreaming about who my husband would be and what I'd name my children (Natasha was my name of choice at age eight). I still day dream a lot and even about naming my children (hey me and eight year old Noelle aren't so different). I still feel so young. I am young. Yet as young as I may be, I am pretty close to the age my parents were when they had me and that my friends is such an odd feeling. I might just spend the rest of the day trying to wrap my head around that...
Congratulations Kristen! You were enviously beautiful and "all baby" throughout your pregnancy and because you are one of the kindest people I know, I am positive you will be a fantastic mother. I can't wait to meet Levi!