It’s hard to believe that by the time this article is published that I will be turning 50 years old! I want to focus on all that I am personally grateful for as I reach this 50-year mark. It’s definitely a moment in time to see how far I have come and to give thanks for the gift of years received. We all have friends and relatives who have passed away before the age of 50, and our longevity is no longer taken for granted. We plan trips with the words, “I want to go while I can still enjoy it.” We savor our time with our children because they are preparing to leave the nest with ever-increasing independence. We savor moments with our parents if they haven’t already passed on. We find ourselves more concerned with our life purpose. We desire less accumulation and more memories. I always wondered what my overwhelming sentiment would be when I turned 50 … would it be fear of aging and dying? Would it be regret for past mistakes? Would it trigger some sort of midlife crisis to regain my youth, or build up a legacy of some sort? While I don’t like the signs of aging so much, I have more to be grateful for than any other sentiment.
First of all I am grateful for my Catholic faith. In a world of scandal and violence we have the mass, the Holy Eucharist, our prayers, the Saints, and holy friends to remind us of the direction we need to follow, and the consolation of peace in the afterlife. I am grateful to my parents for taking me to Mass and Catholic schools. The gave me a great example of how to care for your family and good work ethic. In the last 20 years I have experienced overwhelming fear, grief, and anxiety. Because of my belief, I also had joy, faith, and peace in those years.
I am grateful for my family of origin. They are and were precious people with good hearts. I feel proud to have come from “good stock” as the saying goes. In addition, I am blessed with my three children and my amazing husband. The children are beautiful to watch as they progress in and out of phases. Some phases you wish would linger, and others you wish to skip over. I recount all the hugs and goodnight kisses and wishes; the laughter; the jokes; the binge-watching marathons; the breakfast-for-dinner nights; the accomplishments of homework, tests, and sports; the questions that I actually have answers for, and some that I do not. As for my husband, I have been given a man who loves our family and loves his country. He has a heart for service. He is interesting and serene. I adore his smile which I receive often and his tender affection towards us all.
I am grateful to have received a good education and to have contributed through my various occupations. I was able to serve my community by working in hospitals for several years, working on a preventative medicine research project, establishing and running a pro-life healthcare center, aiding in the family business of palliative care, raising my children, writing for Catholicmom.com, and writing a manual about domestic violence. I am looking forward to seeing what else God wants for me and from me.
I am grateful that I am able to continue to care for my children from home. Being a stay-at-home wife and mom is a gift. I am grateful that I have been a mother to three healthy children who are smart and gifted in many ways. Health is such a fragile thing. We all worry about our children and illness and injuries that can harm them. And on the topic of health, I would like to thank God for my health. It isn’t always the best, but I have been able to function and enjoy life despite my illnesses and injuries. In addition, I recently received a good healthcare plan in which I was able to see doctors and greatly repair my health.
I am grateful for a loving husband who cherishes our relationship and loves to see the world with me. We have made vacations a priority to see the world and build memories as a couple and as a family. I am grateful that we have all been healthy enough to enjoy these experiences and enough financial stability to work it into our life plans. We reminisce about hikes we have taken, rainbows we have seen, churches and architecture, and adrenaline-pumping raft rides.
I am grateful to live in the United States of America, where I feel that we have a fighting chance for safety and stability. In addition I am grateful to live in Southern California where the sun shines and the natural landscape beauty is vast and varied. I’m not a bug lover, so happy to say that ants in the summertime are the biggest bug worry I have. We have so many opportunities to visit cultural sites and recreational activities, that the hardest part is the choosing.
Really the grateful list can and should go on and on. God has been so merciful to me. So for my 50th birthday, I pray that He continues to guide me and strengthen my faith. I pray that my marriage will grow in happiness and holiness. I pray that my children will thrive and rely on their growing faith. I pray that my remaining years will be filled with joy, love, health and fulfillment. Thanks be to God, His Mercy endures forever.
Copyright 2019 Marya Hayes