Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sidecar 82114
So, I’m 28 now.

When I wish someone happy birthday, I usually wish them the happiest birthday yet or the best year so far. My birthday is usually my favorite day of my favorite week of my favorite month of the year. Usually.

On Sunday, I had my first birthday as a mom and also my first mom birthday. Moms, you know what I mean. Or at least, I hope you do, and that I’m not the only one. By mom birthday, i mean that I had to make my own breakfast, and we capped the day off by going grocery shopping. Of course it was amazing in its own way in that every day with my precious baby boy feels special to me, but no outsider would mistake me for a birthday princess. Most tellingly, I did not get a sushi dinner at Nobu, which I’ve been telling Dave is the only thing I wanted, since I’ve been pregnant and sushi-less almost this entire year.

Then Dave flew out to Florida early Monday morning and came back late Thursday night bringing a suitcase of dirty laundry and stories of unlimited drinks and all-you-can-eat lobster. I missed my free Sprinkles cupcake and my Anthro birthday party, which, to be honest, I’ve kind of been looking forward to all year. I’m just thankful that my mom was around or it would have been a full-blown pity fest. I would have Solly-ed Noah all the way down the street to our village market to buy overpriced pints of Jeni’s ice cream, and then I would have eaten them all, in spoonfuls between diaper changes. Instead, I made salad.

Friday was no better. Overcome with disappointment, I held back tears at the Corner Bakery where we picked up my free birthday treat. I held back more tears at the Nordstrom cafe where I bought a mint steamer, trying to drown my sorrows in that milky creme de menthe goodness. And again, this morning, I held back tears after the Mermade Market as we sat at a diner, waiting an excruciatingly long time for a breakfast bowl made with warm, plain yogurt and bland melons.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I have a beautiful, healthy baby and a husband who loves me (most of the time…  I think). I live only a few miles from the ocean, and I have six saltwater pools at my disposal. I am grateful. These are no small blessings. But I’m also wondering when the longing ends, if I’ll ever get to the place where I feel settled.

I feel like I’m inching scarily close to the edge of no where left to move. That I’m teetering on the brink of stuck. That’s the scariest thing about twenty-eight. It’s not terribly old or terribly young. It’s just the age I thought I’d have it together. I’ve been through so many iterations of myself; I didn’t know, before twenty-eight, that it was possible to fail as many times as I have failed. I am so envious of people who have found their path, people who have a path at all, who know what the next step is and who know exactly, numerically, what targets to hit in order to get there.

I’m learning that the waiting, and the growing, and the becoming is excruciating. It feels like I’ll never get to the place where I’m supposed to be. That I’ll keep waking up at 4 am, unable to go back to sleep because that’s when the worry hits. That’s when I reach out for the tiny chubby perfect hand next to me, with fingers like miniature taper candles and a palm just big enough to cover my lips. That hand is everything.

Tomorrow is a new day and the beginning of a new week. It won’t be my birthday week anymore, and for the first time in my life, I’m relieved. Tomorrow, I’ll look for the beauty in that tiny, clammy hand. I’ll try to find my joy in the little things, like a latte that is extra hot and not too sweet, and a doughnut that that melts onto my tongue. I’ll find joy in twinkling Christmas tree lights and in advent readings. When I wake up again at 4 am, I’ll stay awake to watch the growing glow of the winter sunrise. I’ll keep being grateful for these things because that’s what 28-year olds do.


Crystal Britt said...

This is a note from my phone this week: "Lately I've just felt so scattered. I'm hoping this is a thing that happens to new moms; things being so chaotic and just barely containable at home that the mind wanders, wonders. Last week I spent a good portion of my time looking up houses for sale in Plano, McKinney, and Allen, daydreaming about moving back. Even now, typing about it makes me teary.

Today I spent a good part of the morning Googling Hebrew classes, Yiddish classes, articles on Kveller and "Why don't Christians celebrate Hanukkah?" Fantasizing about going back to school, maybe seminary.

When I get restless like this, it's bad for my budget. I just need to get out. I take the kids to Target, TJ Maxx, Babies R Us, looking for I don't even know what but I have a feeling I'm looking for a solution. Something that will make the day go by faster, make Jameson sleep longer, tire Char out sooner.

Honestly, I think the restlessness starts when I'm more "mom" than I am "me." I love being mom, but sometimes I get lost. I know I love to read but who has the time? Then 6 months, a year goes by and I realize I haven't read a book in that long." I wanted to show you that to prove you aren't alone. While there are so many beautiful, spiritual, unspeakablly joyful things about becoming a mother, it's also very...grounding. It can make you feel nailed to the floor. Being a mom (especially in this infant stage) is so monotonous, and since the interaction is so one-sided it can be hard to feel validated in the work you're putting in. I wish I had a solution, but I'm obviously still trying to figure it out, 23 months into this thing. I do know (from my first "mom birthday" experience), that I need Ben to take my birthday off. Yes grocery shopping needs to be done, but you also deserve to be celebrated. You are special. Friends help with this process, but friends with kids help even more because we've been there. Oh, how I've been here friend. So...play date soon?

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