In two weeks, it will be my birthday. My daughter has already whispered in my ear to ask if she can help me blow the candles off my cake. Of course, I agreed and when the 17th rolls around, we’ll hop up on our old kitchen chairs, surrounded by family and friends, and I’ll smile as they gather around to sing for us. I’ll eat the cake and make the toast and we’ll celebrate more than three decades around the sun. I’m looking forward to it, as I’ve always cherished birthdays. I’m the girl hanging streamers from office chairs after work and pooling colleagues together to go in for a big party in the conference room when someone’s special day rolls around. I believe that life in general is to be celebrated, especially our own glorious one.
That said, I can’t help but feel a little tinge of sadness when I think about what getting older means now that I’m a parent. Sure, I’m grateful for the opportunity to absorb all this beautiful earth has to show me every day, but my aging by one year means that my children are too. I was 27 when I had my daughter and 29 when I had my son. I wanted to be a young mom in flowing floral dresses, my hair pulled into a messy bun with a perfectly red pout. Some days, I am her and most of the time, I fall a little short of that ideal. Still, I’ve felt young at heart and I’ve tried to act it when possible. I swing from the monkey bars and slide down the slide at the playground. I get down on my hands and knees and play dinosaur in the kitchen and blast the nineties boy band music during our evening jam sessions.
Yet, there are only so many years left when my kids will want to play dinosaur in the kitchen, or go to the playground at all. I’m at the age now where I barely remember my own parents taking me to our local park to play, though they swear up and down that we went all the time. These glory years where we’re all still young and still very dependent on each other are but a blimp on the radar, and most of it they’ll forget as they grow up. I’ll retain it all, or at least I hope I do. One of my resolutions this year was to write more of it down. I promised myself I’d keep a day journal and record at least one thing that we did each day. We’re almost halfway through the year and I think I’ve written in those things twice.
But maybe we’re not supposed to write it all down. Maybe we’re not supposed to take the selfies and pause to press “record” on the video player to capture each moment in time. Technology is great and I’m so thankful for the memories it lets me preserve, but maybe it’s best to live fully in the moment and embrace every chance to look into the eyes of those we love and tell them how much we adore them. I’ll be one year older soon, and with time I think a little bit of wisdom has had the chance to eek its way through. I’m seeing everything now in retrospect and wondering how much of these sacred younger years I wasted positioning everything just so, or brushing the hair out of my daughter’s eyes before snapping a family photo.
Real life is just that. It’s real and messy and imperfect and absolutely wonderful. Maybe one day I’ll get a treatment to reverse the hands of time. Maybe I’ll pick up a new exercise routine like my own mother or invest in a filler like my grandmother, but regardless, I hope I remember that beauty is only skin deep. I hope I spend the majority of my time breathing in the beauty that life has to offer. I’m one year older and a little grayer, but above all else I’m excited. To see what lies ahead, to grab ahold of it tightly, and to recognize the beauty that surrounds me.