Monday, May 6, 2013

38 Birthday Candles

Today, I turned thirty-eight years old.  In human years, not in dog lineage.

It feels like a big mouth full.  Technically, it's considered middle-aged.  Approaching the over-the-hill marker.  A place that felt far away not too terribly many years ago.

It's also a place that for me, has snuck up...which is descriptive of most of  my life, but has served as a semi-wake-up-call when I realize that my third decade of life is coming to a close.

As I look back, my twenties were really a time of self-discovery.  I felt lost.  Unsure.  Wavering.  Wondering.  Trying on new identities.  Thinking, probably foolishly so, that if I were married that life would have meaning.  Thank God, that wish didn't come true, until I tied the knot with the right one two weeks before my thirtieth birthday.

My thirties have been a time of care giving, sacrifice, endurance and everything that is wrapped up in the beauty and exhaustion that is motherhood.  I first became a mother when I was 30 and then again at 32 and then again at 35.

And every moment has shaped and molded who I am today.  I am less self absorbed.  I am less judgmental.  I don't have time or energy to be the kind of control freak that made me a good employee, but frustrated the shit out of my family and friends.  After watching illnesses, deaths and miracles transpire, I am keenly aware of what matters and what doesn't.  And the reality is that most of the heart ache we encounter is born of our own doing and really doesn't add up to a hill of beans.

At the age of 38, my days look like this....scramble out of bed at 4:30am for a coveted run where I imagine that I'm a Nike girl dressed in Lululemon with crazy speed and an amazing ass (wishing is free, right?).  I come home shortly before the sun comes up with the hope that my three littles and my better half are still sawing logs so that I can scarf down one large cup of coffee and stretch my bones because unfortunately, they creak a lot these days.  Moments later, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and very carefully, pick out the perfect strawberries for my 8-year olds' lunch.  He wont eat the soft ones.

And then, it's off to the races.  Hurry up.  Eat your cereal.  Throw on your uniform. Brush those teeth. Stop annoying your sister.  Jump in the car.

Where I navigate the circle drop off and try not to be "that" mom in the janky car who can't get her shit together.

And for 30 seconds, I close my eyes and make the sign of the cross over my 8-year old and my 5-year old while saying:

May God bless your mind, so you can learn.

Your ears to be a good listener.

Your mouth to speak kind words.

And your heart to feel love.

Kisses and a squealing from the drive as I feverishly listen to NPR for as long as I can before it's back home to kiss my husband goodbye and grab my insane, biting, fearless 2-year old toddler.

Bed making, grocery shopping, laundry doing, ballet, soccer, piano, after school pick up, nap times, jewelry show preparation, school/church volunteering, homework supervision, dinner making, bath and bed carrying out and by 9pm, when it's all said and done, I look at my husband and say thank you for doing this with me.

This is what it feels like to be 38.  I'm not young.  But I'm not old.  I'm somewhere in the middle.  I suppose one more time reinventing me.  The me that runs, jumps, climbs, hopes, dreams, falls, fails, hurts, forgives, needs, believes and prays in gratitude for it all.

Happy Birthday to a 38-year old's a blessed life, for certain.