Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m one of those people who love birthdays. When I buy my agenda book in December each year, I immediately flip to April 8 of the next year to see what day of the week it’ll be on. I even mark the day with “my birthday, oh my!”. Yes, I do that every single year! I’ve been known to celebrate my birthday for the whole month of April and I get so giddy just thinking of the day that I began my life on this planet so many moons ago.
This year, I haven’t been able to focus on all the happy stuff as much. It just feels different. This year, I am mostly aware of the passage of time and my age—not the one I wish to be, not the one I might pretend to be and not the one I act like. This year, racked with exhaustion and filled with those new(ish) mom doubts, I fully feel the weight and length of my life, all four decades of it.
At the strike of midnight tonight, I will be 46 years old. 46! How I got to be this age, I have no clue. I feel like life just began a second ago. How I got to be this old with an astonishing 11-month-old baby girl is a story I’ve covered on this blog over and over again. But, my feelings about being this age are novel to me. I’ve never really felt old before. Truthfully, I’ve always felt juvenile and unripe, even at times when I wished I had the wisdom of my years as a suit of armor to protect me. I’ve always felt young at heart, mind and body. I’ve always been a late bloomer in every aspect of life, from dating to career to marriage. Always.
But now I catch myself watching my child, wondering how much of her life journey I’ll witness: high school? College? Marriage? Motherhood? And inevitably, I feel a yearning to see more than I what I imagine I’ll see. And that yearning brings me melancholy. I have to force myself to stop thinking about the shortness of time and the old-ness of me in order to snap out of my funk.
Older? That I am. Wiser? I don’t know. I’m still as passionate about my ideals as a nineteen-year-old. I still view justice, love, life and friendship in stark black and white, instead of the many shades gray that’s typical of those in their midlife (argh, I am in my midlife!). I still talk too much, love too deeply, and get hurt too quickly. I still cry way too easily (read, almost every single darn day!). I still feel like I have yet to find myself. I still feel a child-like joy at the most mundane of sights (I squeal when I see butterflies), and I still seek friends as if I’m searching for my BFF. Do all these things make me youthful or simply foolish? I am not wise enough to decipher.
But, I know this:
My life hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazingly wonderful. And, despite the number of my years, I am still that little girl who was full of imagination and creativity, that shy teen who loved learning, that twenty-something-year-old girl who could never stop moving, that thirty-something-year-old woman who dedicated years to finding her way to motherhood and this 46-year-young mom who spends her days singing nursery rhymes and happily chasing after her baby, despite an old person’s body pain and exhaustion.
I might be older and I might not be wiser, but I am dedicated to being the best mom I can be to my daughter for as many years as I can be. I’m dedicated to play dates and music lessons, and dance parties and coloring and skipping and jumping and beyond. I’m even dedicated to sticking around long enough to be the best eccentric grandmother anyone has ever seen.
Older? Yes. Old? Hell no!