I’m been writing little notes about turning 45 on ‘Canal Park Lodge’ mini paper for the past 36 hours. How I want to say that my life is better at this age without botox, or how I look better now than at 18, or how I’m so practical that I prefer a gift of fuzzy slippers over lace undies. On how I can still rock a bikini and appreciate a birthday morning spent in a hotel pool in Duluth instead of waking up next to my husband in a hotel on the Left Bank in Paris with my kids thousands of miles away.
But that is all bullshit.
Because my reality and my here and my now and my imaginary wants of life are all a blur right now as I hit nearly a mid-century. My reality still has three kids at home – three honestly very little kids without total freedom from college educations until I’m nearly dead and botox is clearly a moot point and a weekend in Paris is waiting in line behind mortgage payments, bathroom remodels, medical bills and finally those college educations.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But I hate my birthday.
There I said it. I feel so much better than I did 14 hours ago when I woke up and had to pretend, mainly to myself, that I was excited for the day. Because frankly the 146 messages on Facebook are the only thing that makes birthdays in 2013 exciting for me.
(well and maybe dinner with my grandma)
Don’t get me wrong. I like a good hug and wish from my kids, and maybe a well thought out gift and plan from my husband….but it will never feel less awkward to celebrate my birthday.
I’m that one who is impossible to please as I ask for nothing yet expect something. Truly I’m the perfect Minnesota Mother Martyr who typically gets weepy by noon because I can already tell that this birthday is going to suck.
No cake, no presents, no dinner plan and it’s all I can do just to fold some laundry, clean up some cat puke and ask if I can boil somebody a meal of buttered noodles to take my mind off of it all.
And it’s not that I want to be spoiled. I just want somebody to really ‘get’ me.
And I worry for my daughters that they will never find that person who does.
Because honestly I don’t like fancy underwear, udon noodles or fruit mixed with my chocolate. I don’t feel complicated, but maybe I am.
So tonight I didn’t feel like making my own last minute birthday dinner plans. Instead I let Jed get the kids take-out and I went to a friend’s house to have a glass(or two) or wine and cry a little and laugh a lot with a group of women who have turned 45 and have raised families, had careers, written novels and experienced good and bad birthdays also without botox.
And I came home feeling better than I have in a long time.
I love my family more than I could ever explain. They sustain me. They are me in so many ways. They are my 24/7 and my past and future and I cannot imagine love more than the love I have for them.
But today on my 45th birthday I needed a bunch of wise women to teach me that it’s okay to be where I am today – ‘just’ a mom in the trenches of making lunches and swimming at hotel pools on my birthday – and that Paris isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So today I am going to take a deep breath and remember good and simple things still happened today. Things I want to fold up like a tiny piece of paper that I put in a pocket next to my heart. Tiny moments of my children’s very brief childhood that are indeed reminders that they are the most precious gifts that I have.
I will remember Eloise and Astrid with their heads pressed together on the panda pillow on Eloise’s bed. Eloise was reading a large and complicated chapter book to Astrid, and Astrid told her that the book was a bit boring without pictures. So Eloise had the two of them drawing pictures together at the end of each chapter. They illustrated five chapters together today. Astrid came downstairs and explained the whole book to me with her detailed drawings.
And during this time my Esther played The Price Is Right on the Wii. This deserves a post of its own – but let’s just say that kids these days are really missing out by not hanging out at their grandparent’s house and learning the value of a new washer and dryer set.
So now I sit content with an hour left in my birthday. I’m wearing my fuzzy slippers and very un-sexy underwear. My make-up is smeared and my hair in a ponytail. My husband snores from the couch, my kids are asleep, and the 10pm news is almost over.
And I am finally okay and tear-free on a day that brought me more emotions than I would like to admit. Mainly because soon I will be 45 years old and one day and the pressure to care what the day brings will be over.