I received the most unusual birthday present from an even more unlikely source.  A gift that initially made me scream out loud in complete panic.

Perplexed – that’s how I used to feel about my 35th birthday.  I’ve had no fewer than 8 people wish me a happy birthday last week and then, on learning it was my 35th, look slightly troubled and say reassuring things like, “Oh, it’s not so bad”.  A female friend joked that she hopes I, “get to be 35 forever”.

I am not worried about my weight as I exercise daily.   I am slightly concerned about upcoming wrinkles, but I use a good moisturizer and keep my appointments the med spa.  Life has certainly roughed me up a bit in my 12,775+ days as life does.  I’m blessed to have loving relationships from spiritual to social with those who have determination to be in my life.  I’m getting even better at learning how to pack an outstanding amount of fun into my approach.

Fun is exactly what I was having on the afternoon of my 35 birthday.  Fresh from Starbucks and fully caffeinated after girl talk, I stopped at home to change into my favorite bikini en route to the neighborhood pool.  As I picked up the SPF 70 from the kitchen counter I glanced into Thor the tarantula’s cage.

Thor is not my tarantula.  Thor is the elementary school tarantula that my daughter happens to be taking care of for summer break.  Caring for a tarantula in my home was not my idea and frankly completes creeps me out.  I am however a big fan of science and easily conceded to my daughters request for Thor as a summer houseguest.

On this particular summer day as I peeked in to check on Thor I freaked (insert screaming here)!  Thor was flat on his back with spider body pieces strewn all over the inside of the aquarium.  As I stared in horror at the carnage in the cage, new emotions began to flow.  What could I have done to prevent this?  How will I break this to my daughter?  When will have a chance to explain this to the school?  Who is going to clean up this carcass?  In full meltdown mode I turned to Google for a possible explanation of the mayhem.  I learned:

Arachnids have external skeletons.  To grow a tarantula must build a new soft skeleton underneath their existing one.  When a tarantula molts it lies on its back with it’s legs in the air and splits itself open out of its old skeleton (approx 1 x per year).  The spider, once it is free stretches the new skeleton to allow some room for new growth, the new skeleton then hardens. 

By the time I finished researching, Thor was right side up and back to his routine.  While cleaning the exoskeleton pieces from the aquarium (still in my bikini) I realized I don’t want to be 35 forever.  There is so much of life that I am looking forward to and I’m closer than ever to accomplishing even more personal goals I have set for myself.  I am thankful for Thor’s surprise and showing me it is ok to shed, stretch, shock, and grow!



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