I woke up this morning and thought, I'm 41.
And two seconds later, I was elated.
Forty one is infinitely better than forty...even though, my son, Sam told me that I am now officially closer to 50 than I was before.
For months leading up to my fortieth birthday, I was stressed...worried that I hadn't reached certain milestones...a number on the scale, a title on the business card, a day without yelling at my children, a particular street address, a book with my name on the front cover. I felt less than.
But slowly over the last year, I've come to realize that all of that internal pressure is a rash of shit. In the end, it's my "less than's" that really make me a pretty kick-ass wife, mother, friend, writer, neighbor and random lady you meet at the coffee shop.
And so, while I spent my 41st birthday morning, substitute teaching in my youngest daughter, Claire's classroom, I wrote an ode to myself, similar to the annual one I compose to my children on their days of birth.
Ode to 41-Year Old Me
Ode to you, the woman with the long brown hair and the bright blue eyes with the smile.
You know the one. The face that greets the world and says, "I love you. All of you, but especially, the broken parts. The fractured places that you're embarrassed to share. The stories that you don't like to admit. The failings and the misgivings. The pieces that aren't quite right and won't seem to go away as hard as you try."
Here's to the woman who's been around the block, knows what matters and hasn't left her optimism out to dry.
Cheers to the spirit that keeps up the good fight even when making one more God damn peanut butter sandwich or reminding a certain someone to lay out his uniform or pick up her fucking shoes may quite possibly be the death of you.
Hats off to the soul who knows how to say I'm sorry and really mean it when she fucks up which is quite honestly, all of the time.
Salud to the beautiful woman you have grown into...a girl who loves tanned legs, skirts that go way above the knee, bright shoes that bang out the miles, bottomless glasses of bubbly and moscato, gallons of really strong coffee and plates of sushi.
Blessings to the one who prays for strength and endurance and hope and grace as she fumbles and grapples with just trying to do the right thing.
Here's to hope for the new year....may the 41st year be filled with you...all of you. More of the written word, less guilt, greater devotion to running and singing and celebrating and believing that there really is more joy to be had and less dishes to worry about.
I love you and even though you question it, I'm proud of you...41 doesn't look too shabby.