Monday, January 08, 2007

The Final Week of My Thirties

At 12:36 am (EDT) tonight, I begin the final week of my thirties. Yeah, I know…I’ve heard it/said it all…”age is only a number”, “life begins at 40, “40 is the new 30”, yadda, yadda, yadda. I appreciate all of those encouraging comments, and absolutely will need welcome them in the next few weeks, but today, as I am still recovering from a serious bout of the flu/strep, taking down my Christmas tree, watching football, and doing laundry, I’m thinking about my life.

I have had some incredible moments in these 40 years. Pretty dramatic in the not-so-incredible way as well. Many times I have even begged God for some boredom to tone down the theatre that is my existence. I’ve been beat down, and then rose up again, and beat down, and rose up again, sometimes wondering if I was the Court Jester for the Powers That Be. Those moments of self-pity have always turned into the pissicivity (I love that word) I’ve needed to turn the situation around. Just another opportunity to prove everybody and myself wrong. Thank the Lord I have always rose up again from the ashes like the Phoenix. I thank God and I thank my own Spirit, because I am a strong woman more inside than out, but in my opinion, that’s where it truly counts to survive in this world.

So, I thought it would be cathartic and interesting (to myself at least) to list 40 (40 out of many-these are just what I can think of right now) defining moments of my first 40 years…

1. The birth of my precious little girl, who has made me more fulfilled than any other person, place, or thing ever could.
2. The serious complications that followed her birth, which became the crisis of faith I needed to re-evaluate my beliefs.
3. The day my mom & dad sent me to Dade Christian School to give me a better opportunity than what the Miami-Dade County public schools could at that time.
4. The very first solo I ever sang in public/church. I was 13, and the song was, “What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life”…from that moment, my love of singing for people was lit on fire.
5. The first time I laid eyes on the Bee Gees singing “How Deep Is Your Love” on a clip (before music videos) they did for Saturday Night Fever. I was smitten. Being able to escape to my room and listen to their music for hours. It has been a 30 year love affair. Their music taught me to harmonize and listen to each part around me. Musicality.
6. The day I met Barry, Robin, and Maurice…and got to tell them face to face the things I just said above.
7. Barry’s hug and how he called me “luv.” I can still feel that hug if I concentrate enough!
8. The night my daddy gave me my first car: a white 1976 Camaro…I think it’s interesting that at 40, I have only owned 3 cars in my entire life.
9. Driving to the beach every opportunity I could. Drinking California Coolers on Ft. Lauderdale beach the day we got to skip school to sell yearbook ads.
10. The day I cheated in Bible class (of all classes, I know!!!!), and the teacher (Mr. Humphreys) showed me the true meaning of mercy and grace, by not punishing, failing, or turning me in to the principal. It was the most valuable lesson I was ever taught in 10 years of intensive biblical studies.
11. The day I graduated high school.
12. The day I moved to Nashville. It has been home ever since.
13. My first real job in the music business. It was my senior year of college, and the job was a Receptionist for Ronnie Milsap’s management office and studio.
14. The day I graduated college.
15. The day I walked in to Christ Church. This was before they became a mega-church. They were still meeting in what is now their smaller chapel. I will never forget the sound of their choir and the sermon of Dan Scott. I knew I had landed home after searching for the right church for me.
16. The day I joined the “world renowned” Christ Church Choir. It began 15 years of some of the most joyous times of my life.
17. The first time I stood up and showed the soprano section their part by using my hands to guide whether they sang the notes up or down. It was something my high school choir director did, so I was just mimicking her, because it had worked for us back then. The directors still use that method of teaching parts to this day.
18. My first trip to Europe. My second trip to Europe. My 4 trips to Ukraine, Russia, and Finland—all to sing.

19. The day I went to the orphanage in Cherkasy, Ukraine and met a darling, precious little girl, Ilena, whose face I will never forget, and how we both cried when we had to part ways.
20. The day I met Dolly Parton (who I just basically wanted to be when I was a little girl). I knew I had picked a good woman to admire and want to be like. Again, more inside than out, although when I’m 60, I wouldn’t mind looking as great as she does. Gotta save up for some plastic surgery!
21. The night my dad was killed by a drunk driver. ‘Nuff said.
22. “Daddy’s Hands
23. When a week after his funeral that I got the phone call to come back to Nashville and sing with Dolly on the CMA Awards. My “sign” that life will go on and I will rise above the devastating blow I had just taken.
24. Getting to wear my dad’s Army patches and pins on the Army “costume” I was (by chance) assigned to wear for that performance. Having Garth Brooks put a rose in his mouth and salute me (he thought I was really in the military and there because of the President) backstage right before he went out to sing “Shameless”. Looking out during that performance and seeing the President of the United States & Barbara Bush sitting in the audience watching.
Photo: Kats Barry / The Tennessean) 10/2/1991
That's me on the left in the Army get-up.
25. Doing session work, loving it, and being pretty good at it. Getting to record and sing live backgrounds for many of the artists I have admired through the years.
26. Working at Sony Music and getting to meet most every famous person I ever wanted to meet.
27. Getting to work on the “Honky Tonk Angels” video with Dolly, Tammy, and Loretta. That was very cool in my little world.
28. Counting #1, 4, 6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26 & 27 all a huge privilege. Knowing how lucky I’ve been to live out some of those dreams.
29. My wedding day. I may be divorced now, but it was still a fairy tale wedding dress and ceremony! I was a beautiful bride, if I say so myself…yeah, I do say so myself.
30. The day Elvis died. The day Princess Diana died. The day Maurice died. The day my marriage died.
31. Losing 40 lbs. Twice.
32. Getting to take part in MADD through meeting and talking with the leaders, police task force, offenders and victims. Getting to sing for the National Convention and Tennessee vigils.
33. The day I was hired at Baptist Hospital. Realizing how much of a blessing it was now that I look back on it.
34. Getting to meet patients, doctors, chaplains, nurses. Getting to minister kindness, healing words, healing songs, and help to those I have met there.
35. Being chosen and singing at the Ascension Health System National Convocation in Washington DC this year.
36. My hysterectomy—the pain, the recovery, the healing.
37. My dear friends who upon me finding out I had 3 days to prepare for a debilitating surgery & 6-week recovery, took my daughter as their own, taking her on their family vacation so neither of us would have to worry about each other.
38. Having my friends and family take care of me during that time, when I couldn’t function. Being humbled at how kind people were. Having my little 6-year-old daughter help me out of bed, make me snacks, and clean the house while her mommy could only lay in the bed.
39. Having some of the best, most faithful & long-suffering friends a girl could ever hope for.
40. Any time my daughter gives me hugs, wipes a tear from my eye, tells me I’m the best mommy in the world ever.

I know some of the items on this list would appear to be trivial to some and even raise a chuckle…but that’s ok…in my world, those things have meant the world for many reasons that I care not to go into here just yet.

Am I where I thought I would be at 40? Not by a long shot. The curves and detours of life have taken me to far different places than I thought I would have traveled on my journey. As I reflect on the past 40 years, I hope that in going forward I will have another 40 filled with good better health, a happy & healthy child, a good job (fyi, I’m looking—my position has been eliminated at my current place of employment!), a safe & comfortable home, more time & energy to devote to enriching others’ lives in whatever way I can, being the best mom I can be, and bottom line, evolving into a better person than I am today.


Anonymous said...

Our birthdates are pretty close, apparently. I have a birthday coming up this week.

You've had a fascinating life. I'm sure only more fascinating things are in store for you!

Happy (early) Birthday!

And 40? Girl, you look marvelous!

Linda said...

I had two different women in my life, both of whom I admired, each unrelated to the other, tell me that 42 was the BEST year of their life. So, I'm looking forward to getting there!

Anonymous said...

Want me to take you out for a birthday lunch? :)

Anonymous said...

I feel like using the voice of Clarence from It's a Wonderful Life:

You see, Ginger, you've really had a wonderful life...

Christ Church chior, eh? I'm jealous.

Speaking of, next time my band plays the bookstore/coffeeshop down there, I'll give you a holler.

I think these kinds of lists are good from time to time. Sometimes we forget just what a wonderful gift we've been given.

Happy (soon) birthday!

Ginger said...

Malia: Thank you so much!!!!
Linda: I sure hope my best year is yet to come! :)
Kathy: I would LOVE to!!
Slartibartfast: I am *so* there next time you play! Let me know time & place! Thank you for the b-day wish! :)

BlondeMom said...

What a cool list Ginger. I feel like I know much more about you. I had no idea bout your Daddy...I'm so sorry. And the singing at the CMA thing with I am impressed! What an incredible experience!

If 40 is indeed the new 30 then you've got a heck of a lot more living left to do! (and me, too! I'll be 40 in 2 1/2 years) :)

Mr. Mack said...

The coolest thing about compiling that list is that your daughter will read that one day, (soon, cuz, ya know, you're 40) and be comforted even if there are bumps along her road. She will see how many lives you've touched, and how you have handled yourself when confronted by misfortune. I had to laugh at the fact that you have had only three cars in your life...apparently you hang onto things you like, probably explains why you have so many friends. Happy Birthday Week!

BarbieMePlease said...

I think it's pretty cool that you're able to face 40 with such positive enthusiasm. I could probably take a lesson from that.

BarbieMePlease said...

I think it's great that you can face 40 with such positive enthusiasm. I could probably take a lesson from that.

Holiday Grinch said...

Hey, I was there when you sang in that army getup!
Happy Birthday!

Sharon Cobb said...

What do you say we make it a 3 people lunch?
Also, have we met before? Did you work with Rob G. when working at Ronnie's office? If so, it's really like we met in the mid/late 80s.
I lost your email, so would you email me again?
40 is so fabulous! A lot of women really grow into themselves in their 40s.
Happy (soon to be) 40! Let's all go to lunch!!!

Ginger said...

blondemom: yes, girl! I'm looking forward to a great decade coming up!
mr. mack: I do hang on to things I like, hence the reason I am a major pack rat!
barbiemeplease: It is an effort to stay positive sometimes...this week it is really hitting me! lol! I just try to see the humor in everything as much as I can.
holiday grinch: that is so COOL!
sharon: I would love to have lunch! Yes, I knew Rob--Lacey was a child then...I think she's all grown up now-time flies! I will e-mail you & we'll make a plan! :)

Anonymous said...

I bounced over from Ivy's place to visit for a moment, and I"m so happy I did. What a wonderful blog! I got a bit teary reading this entry.

You've had an interesting 40 years, and, God willing, you will have another 40 or so. Wishing you an early Happy Birthday, and saying a small prayer that the rest of your life is filled with happiness, healthy days, and a peace that passes understanding.


Ginger said...

How kind of you! Come back over to my place anytime, and I'll be visiting yours, too! :)

Anonymous said...

Let me start're what? I wouldn't have guessed you anywhere near your upcoming birthday.

I'm having the same one this year and although I plan to celebrate mine with a "40 of everything outlook"(tequila shots?) mulling over the technical half way point of my life is a little scary. You've done a good thing with your list.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Happy 40th!

Ginger said...

CHEZ BEZ: Thank you for the birthday wish!

mental hygiene said...

Came across your blog and loved reading your "40". Happy Birthday.