Today is my 35th birthday. Thirty five. 3-5. You can officially round up. Birthdays have never really bothered me, although 30 wasn’t much fun. I’ll write about that at some point. As a general rule, though, I like birthdays, especially when there’s cake and shopping involved. But this one, this 35th one, is bittersweet.
On one hand, I’m 35 years young, and I’m on the cusp of finishing the most physically demanding part of baby-hood. I know I’ll miss it someday, when my smelly adolescent boys want nothing to do with me because I embarrass them in front of their friends, but from where I stand right now it feels pretty good to know I’m closer to the end than the beginning of the baby madness.
On the other hand, I’m 35 years old and I’m done having kids. I’ve reached my capacity with the two lovely ones I have, and even though the idea of having another baby is tempting (a girl, perhaps…with little dresses…and sparkly shoes…and ballet classes), I know it’s not what I really want. This is hard to admit and even harder to write, but it’s the truth. The only reason to visit my OB/GYN now is for an annual exam and a reminder to exercise and take a calcium supplement. This is the bittersweet part. I’m done (yay!), but I’m done (boo!).
I have two healthy kids, a great husband, my skinny jeans fit and, occasionally, I have a babysitter on a Saturday night. Life is good. But I’ve always been more forward looking than nostalgic, so I’m stuck on what’s next. Have I done everything on my bucket list? Hardly. There are more juice boxes in my kitchen than stamps in my passport. But as far as major life events go – school, career, marriage, home ownership and kids – I feel an odd sense of being at the end of a journey I mapped out a long time ago.
I know I have all of my kids’ milestones to look forward to (and for Dylan’s sake, I hope some of his involve fruits and vegetables), but I’m not so selfless that I don’t need a new path for myself. The hard part is figuring out what it is. Will I run a marathon? Write a book? Take a vacation without my kids? One can only hope.
So, 35 is an end and a beginning. It’s bitter and sweet. My boys gave me birthday hugs this morning and Dylan said to me, with a little coaching from Daddy, “Happy Birthday, Mommy. You’re the lady I love most.” I told him I was 35 years old and he said, “Mommy, when you grow up you will be so big you will touch an airplane.” This is definitely the sweet part.