Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3

When I was younger, a lot younger, I used to think about when I would be a grown-up. In that fuzzy imagining, there would be three kids and I would be in the kitchen and they'd come in and say, "Mom" and I would answer. Oh, and I was 34. I knew that by then I would have it all figured out. Thirty-four sounds like an age where people know stuff. Where life is all figured out. Where things are easy.

Today I turn 34.

And I have three kids. That's about where that fantasy ends. I had no idea what was in store, and I suppose that's a good thing when you're young and impressionable. It's important for kids to think adults are totally in control of situations. I couldn't even comprehend that being an adult would also mean hours of researching how to help a child through ADHD, that having a steady income is a luxury, that childbirth HURTS, that other mothers are just as perplexed at how to mother, that my husband and I could still have things to talk about after 11 years, that a quiet house where children are asleep might really be the best feeling in the world. I had no idea that I would be working hard to maintain a level of fitness equal to the task of keeping up with active children. I couldn't comprehend the frustration that comes with being confronted with huge life decisions that would render me unable to do basic tasks, like digesting food. I never imagined that there would be afternoons where I'd shut myself in the closet so my children wouldn't know of the hiccup-inducing sobs wracking my body. I didn't realize that I would start to sprout gray hair and that creases might start to form as a result of too much laughing and some crying and a lot of confusion.

Wow. That was depressing. I guess I'm in a mood.

I also couldn't comprehend the absolute joy that comes from watching your son score a goal in soccer. Or the superhero feeling that comes over you when a child is sick and you're the comfort they want. Or the pride at your daughter finally completing a math sheet in the time you've been working toward. Or your baby reaching her arms up and saying, "Hug!"

I guess what I'm trying to say is that 34 is not at all what I had imagined. And I know far less than I thought I would. But also, the world and life are a lot bigger than I ever realized. My capacity to love has increased exponentially, and that naturally has it's opposites - where there is much to love, there is much to worry about. I want my kids to be happy and secure and know that they are loved, even if they don't realize just how much yet. Even if cleaning their room makes them wish they didn't have a mom. Because they probably think that 34 is old and wise and easy. And I suppose if I'm giving them that impression, then I'm doing my job.

Happy birthday, me. I suspect that as I get older I will revel less in balloons and presents (but not cake) and wax philosophical until it just turns into babbling incoherently. I may stumble upon that occasionally, even now. But hey, I'm 34. It's the oldest I've ever been.


PaloAltoCougar said...

Thirty-four years ago this morning, I was holding the world's cutest baby in my arms, unable to imagine the great kid/wife/mother she would become. I thought about whether I was going to be able to take care of her adequately, make the right decisions, etc. (oh, and how was I ever going to make it up to her mother for putting her through what she had just endured?). Somehow, things turned out fine--they always do. Happy birthday to the best introduction to fatherhood any guy has even been given. Love, Dad

Tennille said...

Happy Birthday! Great post (and very philosophical). :)

Alice said...

Well you look fantastic, you have a beautiful haircolor, 3 beautiful children and is the most hilarious blogger I know.

wanda said...

Do I really have a child that is 34?!? Hard to believe the years have slipped by. I echo what your dad said. Best introduction to motherhood ever. Thank you for being mine.

Christina said...

Happy, happy birthday! Isn't life funny that way. I always thought by the time I was 30 that I would know EVERYTHING! hahaha.... Maybe when I'm 60? ;)

OneTiredEma said...

happy birthday!
if it makes you feel better, 35 isn't any more revealing about the secrets of life ;)

Nataluscious said...

Happy birthday again. And you summed up everything I think all the time in a nice, tight blog post.
Much love -