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Celebrating 40
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By Trish West

I just turned 40. Yup… 40. I managed to escape the day without a surprise party or pink flamingos on my front lawn - exclaiming to the world that I no longer can mark myself down in the 30-39 category. People try to make up for this milestone by back-pedaling with comments like "well you look great for 40!" or "40 is the new 30"…but both still make reference to the fact that I am now old(er) and it's quite possibly downhill from here…now that I'm turning 40. If I forget where my keys are, trip over a step or complain about a sore back… it's because I'm now 40. One starts to understand jokes about gravity taking over, the search for grey hairs is a new morning ritual and the realization that you can no longer shop in the 'junior' department…now that I'm over 40.

Yes… I am 40 — but I thank God that I am.

You see - 40 years ago, doctors weren't sure I would survive my birth-day. I didn't arrive into this world with anticipated excitement or celebratory tears…instead it was with cautious concern and silent tears. I was born 3 ½ months early, only 2 ½ pounds with a broken jaw. The nurses, being overly cautious, treated my birth as a possible miscarriage and at first wouldn't tell my mother if I was a boy or girl…I guess they were trying to spare some of the grief if I didn't make it over the next few hours. Doctors waited a week, until they felt I would survive, before they re-broke my jaw to set it right. My parents had to wait several months until I reached the magic number of 5lbs before they could take me home from the hospital - dressed in the smallest outfit someone found in the doll section of the department store. 40 years ago… they didn't know if I would make it through the day and prayed for the gift of my life over the next 24hrs, over the next week… the next 40 years.

So yes…. I am 40 — what a wonderful gift!