What does 31 feel like?
Well, honestly, 31 feels like hope.
I want to give in to the looming fear underneath it, the one that says there’s no way I have lived enough life to be 31. I’m 31?! What do I have to show for it?
We are still in our “starter house” seven years later, still rocking the painted fridge that is flecking off horribly, but it was all we could afford when we bought it. If you didn’t know you could spray-paint fridges to look silver, you can, but I don’t recommend it! We have been searching for a dream home for years, with no luck, and seemingly overnight, the market has exploded and it’s looking like there is just no way we can afford what we’re looking for. It’s been a dream of ours to give our kids a “bigger” life, with some land and property and it feels like they are growing up so fast already.
There is so much we haven’t done — I vowed to have my book, a novel I’ve been working on, done by 30. Um, yeah, that didn’t happen. I believe I have approximately 10 pages of it done. Dreams of fun adventures with the kids, getting back in shape, finally learning the secret to patience and learning to get my hair to hold a curl.
So much left undone, and yet so, so much to be thankful for.
A house that I feel happy in every single day, a house with a yard full of apple trees and my favorite pink blooming crab apple tree, the one that draws me out of my bed every morning because it’s just that darn beautiful. Healthy children who are reaching kind of amazing ages. Last week, all four of them helped me clean the kitchen and dining room while Ben was working and I have to admit that I was genuinely flabbergasted. You mean kids can be helpful?? What is this sorcery? Work that I’m still excited to do every day, a new growing business for my husband, and for the first time since I became a “real” adult when I saw that plus sign on a positive pregnancy test ten years ago, I have a teeny, tiny bit more time.
No babies anymore and while a part of me — OK, a big part of me — is mourning that still and probably always will, today, as I turn 31, I’m choosing to look forward.
I have some breathing room, a little elbow space, a chance for the first time in a long, long time, to take a deep breath and work on myself. To be the best version of myself that I can be, so I can properly parent these girls of mine who are looking heartbreakingly old. I am beginning to see how important it is to raise strong women, to first make sure I am strong as an example for them. It’s not enough to just make it through the day anymore and laugh about my sleep deprivation and messy buns and fussy baby. It’s about being more for my girls especially, showing them what they are capable of as women.
A few months ago, my son, my sweet, stinker of a son, sighed when I asked him to pick up his toys off the living room rug. “That’s a mom’s job,” he told me, as if speaking to an imbecile. “You’re supposed to clean it up.”
For too long, I probably have been silently cleaning up after my kids, following them around like a shadow, just trying to survive, making life possible for a lot of other people.
Maybe, at 31, it’s time for Mama to take a little time to see what the future holds. I’m dreaming of sailing lessons and beaches and surprising my kids, writing retreats, and slowing down. I may have found my first wrinkles this weekend, but I’m looking forward to really earning the rest of them.
P.S. We went to the tulip festival for my birthday this weekend. It was a gift from my husband to me, because he hates doing little family adventures like that and I love them — we booked a hotel for a night, let the kids play in the waterpark, then spent the day wandering around in the freezing cold fields of tulips. It went about as expected with four kids: tiring, disorganized, spent too much money on snacks, fought a few times, but left with memories, messy hair, and full hearts.
P.P.S. Don’t forget my writing class is on sale all month for only $49.99! It’s crazy cakes, but I’m feeling generous and full disclosure, I’m gong to spend any money earned through the class on something totally frivolous for myself because it’s my birthday month. #itsmybirthdayicanbuylaserhairremovalifiwantto #oraroomba #ormaybelashextensions
Here’s to the privilege of living 31 years of this beautiful life.