So today is my birthday. I’m 46. I’ve seen four and half decades. The 70’s where I watched “Charlie’s Angels” with my aunt and hoped to be a effortlessly beautiful as Farrah Fawcett. The 80’s where all I could do is dream of being a singer like Joan Jett or the ladies of Heart or even Cyndi Lauper. The 90’s where I wore baggy jeans and flannel shirts trying to act like I didn’t care about anything-not conforming not doing what my parents expected…but ending up exactly what all parents expected their daughter to be: wife, good citizen and being as average as possible. The 00’s where I had no clue what I was doing, but I wasn’t going to stay in one spot long enough to get bored, so I moved three times, kept busy with friends and adventures. And then the 10’s where at 40 I moved once again, a couple of years later I got a divorce, started a relationship with a man who is 20 years my junior, about as opposite what anyone could imagine for me, and then at 44 got surprising pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl two days before I turned 45.
That all brings us to one year later, and my birthday once again. The only thing I know for sure in life, is that it is unpredictable, it is painful, it is joyful, it is full of opportunities to make changes as necessary and just when you think you know your immediate path, a tree or boulder or landmine blocks that path and you have to figure out a way to either navigate the obstacle, rebuild the path, or realize that an alternate is the better way. No matter what I’ve been through, I can honestly say that I don’t regret anything. Do I wish I would or wouldn’t have done a few things in my life? Sure. But I truly believe that if I would change one thing in my past, I may not have all the amazing things I have now.
Becoming a mom at almost 45 brings along it own set of struggles. Maybe my body would have recovered more quickly when I was 25, or even 35. Maybe I wouldn’t be so completely exhausted like I am some days after a full day of work, full night with the baby and then back to work. And then again, from EVERYTHING I read, EVERY mom feels exactly the same way. Exhausted, sometimes frustrated, insecure about their post-baby body, and clueless on what to do when each new stage of their child’s development or personality comes around. So, I’m grateful for becoming a mom at 45. I remember my 20’s self and she was obsessively clean, organized and yes, controlling. I think that if I had been a mom and the house wasn’t up to clean standard and if the baby didn’t do every little thing he or she was supposed to be doing according to the books I would have been anxious and stressed and if the baby didn’t get out of his or her pajamas all day, I would have felt like a failure. Now, especially being the mom of a NICU survivor, I’m ecstatic over every little thing Luna Bell does that shows growth and change. If she doesn’t get out of her pajamas during the day, who cares? Is she fed? Does she have a clean diaper? Did she play AND take a nap today? Yes to any or all? Complete win! And the mess that seems to follow babies and their parents around…couldn’t care less. I don’t think I’ve completed a meal, at least not while it was still hot or even warm, since Luna Bell came home…and I’m ok with that. And why? Because my baby girl is healthy. She’s home and I get to be her mom.
I was recently called old, by someone young enough to be my daughter. At first it stung a little, and then I considered the source. She just doesn’t have a clue. I’ve lived a lot in these 46 years. I’ve seen things, I’ve done things, I’ve worked hard to survive and keep myself and whoever my family was at that time, fed and housed and healthy. I’ve had adventures. I saw all the good bands. I watched history take place in real time. And any wrinkle or line I may have on my face, has been earned. Lines around my mouth from smiling and laughing a lot. Lines in my forehead from getting through a lot of pain; physical and emotional. And my WTF lines from watching events and people around me, are getting deep. Every year that I have reached another birthday is a victory.
So here I am. The past year has been the toughest year of my life, but I survived. My daughter survived, my relationship survived, and the three of us are stronger than ever. This year has proven to me that I am stronger than I knew. I can be a really good mom and partner. I’ve learned a lot about myself and dealt with things that I’ve been carrying around for years…maybe even decades. I’m in good health. I’ve getting my body back into a shape that I’m proud of, even if it isn’t exactly how I looked before I got pregnant. And my relationship with the love of my life is thriving. My daughter reminds me every day, how lucky we are to be healthy and home. I’m grateful for my 46 years. I’m grateful for the pain and the joy and the trials, because all of those things have made me who I am-and I kinda like that person. I’m more loved than I have ever been. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And while I know there is always room for improvement, I think I’m a pretty good person. I’m also at a point where I don’t put up with a lot of crap in my life either. There isn’t room for people who disrespect my life, my family and my relationship. There isn’t room for negativity. There is only room for love, joy and positivity. This next year is going to be a big one. More growth in my relationship. More growth for my little girl and more growth for myself. But right now, as I sit in a quiet living room before my family wakes up, this is 46.