Saturday, May 14, 2011

Birthday Wishes

It's my birthday. Twenty-six years ago today, I was born. I would know, I was there... although that is well before my permanent memory was established, so I don't actually know. But that's what my mother and birth certificate have told me, so that's what I go on.

I'm 26. I'm starting to feel old. This is the age I figured I'd be having my first child, which might make me feel younger, actually. Instead I'm realizing that my life is nowhere near how I imagined it would be at this age. I thought I'd be a writer for some city newspaper or, better yet, a copy editor. Take that all you grammar freaks and misspellers... whatever. The point is, I thought I'd have a prestigious career in editing. I even thought about applying for an internship with one of the many famous publishers in New York, but I never got around to it. I met my husband and got married instead.

This isn't going to be one of those "woe is me I married instead of had my dream life" posts, so don't worry.

So, like I was saying, life isn't at all how I imagined it. ... It's better.

Two and a half years ago Daniel was born. It was an experience I won't soon forget, although some days I really wish I could. Sixteen and a half months after that our sweet Emmie was born. That experience, although much better than my experience with Daniel, is still an experience I am partially trying to put firmly in the past.

Today, as I watch my children play, I am reminded of where we have been. I am reminded that Daniel didn't always speak this well or interact with us so easily. I am reminded of the "epic meltdowns" he used to have multiple times a day, every day. I am reminded of the long, sleepless nights holding Emmie while she quietly suffered, refluxing again and again. I remember my little ones before we figured things out.

Today I am reminded of all we have been through to get to where we are, and I am grateful. I'm grateful that my kids are growing up so well and so healthy. But most of all, I'm grateful to be me.

I'm not perfect, but that hardly matters today. I'm as good as I can possibly be, and my kids love me even on my bad days. My husband appreciates me, even though he doesn't always say it.

This morning I hopped out of the shower. It was a really great shower, I have to add, because my husband kept the kids from bothering me too much. So peaceful to be clean! Finally I know just how many times I washed my hair because I wasn't interrupted by a scream or "Potty, Mommy!" Anyway, as I got out of the shower I saw some baby-sized hand prints in the foggy mirror. In between the hand prints was a smudgy face mark from Emmie. Maybe it's just me, but it was such a precious "mommy" moment. My daughter's little hand prints in the mirror (which I now know I need to clean, by the way) and the reminder that I'm older, and soon my baby's hand prints won't be so cute and baby-sized anymore.

Growing older has its perks, but sometimes it not only a reminder of where we've been and what we've accomplished, but how much we're leaving behind.

This is our most recent family picture. I hope my birthday finds all of you in good spirits, and I hope you take a moment to reflect on how much you have accomplished and maybe shed a tear or two for what you're leaving behind. But try to limit those tears to the one or two, please. No bawlers on my birthday!

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