This will be the last year I can ever include myself in your age group, since I just had a birthday that leads to the end of this fabulous decade. It's okay: I'm actually not sad about the arrival of this birthday, since I spent most of last year thinking I was already 39 when I was still 38. So it's like living a whole year all over again without feeling a year older! (Yes, it's true that by this age, numbers get really muddled, and a 'ballpark' works so much better!)
A week before my birthday, gifts began to arrive. I received things that I really love and even from unexpected people. I was giddy days before the real day. Honestly, I'm a middle-aged gal who is still a little girl at heart. To this day, I still wake up on my birthdays excited for the entire day. My logic: get excited first, then lament the age addition the next day.
On the big day, just like everyday, the first thing I reached for--even before my glasses--was my phone (and even the phone alarm clock sounded lovelier on my birthday). And there, I saw birthday wishes from the dearest of friends from afar. Thus began a smile that would practically last all day. Next, I had kiddos jumping into my room shouting 'Happy Birthday, Mommy', followed by hugs and kisses all around. Dear Husband had a nice day planned for us; it was going to be a fun and busy day.
This decade was filled with endeavors. I spent most of my twenties trying not to get pregnant, and then spent much of my thirties trying to get pregnant. And it became a my first decade of mothering. I was lucky enough to fully experience the journey of pregnancy, birth, and raising little humans I get to call 'my daughter' and 'my son'. It was a time of leaving my career and becoming a stay-at-home mom. It was the end of Friday date nights and couple life in general. It was a special period of adoration and doting upon two remarkable miracles who, with pudgy cheeks and thigh rolls, were cute enough for me to willingly bid farewell to any real, satiating sleep in my life.
DH invited my Bestest People to a brunch to celebrate. We ate, and laughed, and ate, and watched the kids play, and ate, and complained about how full we were. Then we ate some more dessert. Then we carried our bulging tummies to the mall playground where the kids shook out some wiggles. Later, at our home, I received birthday gifts that made me feel like my Bestest People frosted buttercream icing directly onto my heart. The thoughtfulness of the gifts were beyond anything I could ever describe. It's like they somehow scoped my brain, decoded my nerve impulses, and knew what was going to make my heart dance wildly. My cheek muscles were still working hard, but I didn't even care if they were creating more laugh lines or crows feet. I think I almost knocked a person or two over from hugging while thanking.
The thirty-somethings are full of possibilities. We have finished schooling, thank goodness. We have become financially stable. We have built a home, a family, and a sense of self--enough to pass our beliefs onto our children. We have grown up. We are now able to put
Then we moved onto the birthday cake. Candle, singing, shutter-clicks, forks scraping plates, coffee, more smiles. I breathed in deeply to capture all the magic around me; it felt like I was being sprinkled with fairy dust and I was twirling and sparkling in the midst of it all. My cheek muscles were working overtime by now. More hugs, farewells, waves goodbye. My special day was like a sweet perfume still lingering in the air even when the source was gone.
A decade is a long time. I am proud to have survived the early childhood years of my kiddos. On this end of being thirty-something, sleep has finally returned to my peaceful nights. I am beginning to have more time to do thing for myself. The possibility of date nights is almost a reality again (in fact I have four months to work on Dear Son so that I can go to a concert--first one in a decade--as a part of my birthday present from DH). I can even think about returning to the workforce again when the both the kiddos will be in school full time when I actually turn--gasp--forty. It's the end of an era as well as the beginning of another.
Night fell. Still running on adrenaline and high from excitement, I sat in bed with my laptop, trying to unwind. My cheeks ached from smiling, my tummy was still full from all the eating, and my heart swelled with a rush of peace and comfort. I managed to thank DH for a most memorable and special day before he drifted off to sleep. I finally signed off--after staying up way to late--in order to face another Monday, another week.
So, Dear Thirty-Something, even though I'm on the last rung on your ladder, if you look hard enough, through the age spots and sagging skin, you will still see the little girl in my eyes, because her spirit will always be my guiding light. I promise to make the most of this remaining year in your age group before moving on to the next decade. Perhaps I can even attempt something wild and crazy before I fall 'over the hill'. And if I ever look tired or feel too old to you, just look for the twelve-year-old's twinkle in my eyes. She'll be there.