Well, my 27th birthday has now come and gone and I feel no different from 26. I do however feel much different from the time I could call myself a ripe 21 or 22 for that matter.
For weeks prior to this ominous day of birth I had been telling folks I was turning 28, with conviction and certainty I had decided to own the age I was wholly thought to be turning. Anyone who would ask about my upcoming birthday…and were brave enough to ask how old I was, I would reply without a flinch, “I’m turning 28.” It wasn’t until my sister-in-law corrected this statement and told me my real age that I really even gave it a thought. To make matters worse, I didn’t believe her. I argued with her, using the turn of phrase, “Don’t you think I would know how old I am.” and ” I’m not so old, that I’ve forgotten my age yet.” In fact, I had forgotten my age. Finally I was shown the math and yes, I had just lived the last year of my life thinking I was a 27 year old.
This year’s birthday was not one I had been focusing on or stressing about, I was thinking of it just like any other birthday; with a party, good friends and some liquid courage to get me through. My actual age had not scathed me, until I realized I had forgotten rather misplaced what that age was. And now it is all I can do to stop recognizing other facets of ‘maturity’ that continue to creep into my life unexpectedly and quite frankly unwanted.
In teenage years, the birthday party was one of insurmountable proportions. Any kind of crazy adventure was possible and more than likely obtained without strife on that glorious day in which you are the center of attention. It didn’t matter how belligerent one acts or what kind of trouble you’d get in…Because hey…you are young and careless! But now, in present day this date of celebration consists of a few glasses of wine (which I must say my tolerance has diminished considerably) a nice dinner and my mom and mother-in-law watching over me with scrutinizing eyes because I’ve had a few too many and canoodling my sisters one month old baby. It is only in retrospect though that I see the change. To me that birthday was splendid and had all of the aspects I could ask for in a dinner to celebrate my birth. As the next few days continue though, I begin to see more and more life changes that unavoidably date me.
As part of my birthday present, my very brave and wonderful mother-in-law takes the kids off mine and Jamie’s hands for the evening, in order for us to have a ‘fun night out’ on the town. Oh did we ever have big plans, a whole 24 hours without the babes…We had the world at our fingertips. We spent the first 5 hours of our childfree time stewing over what to do. We contemplated going to mingle with all of our long lost friends then decided it was much too cold to walk to the bar and we were in no state to drive…One still must be responsible even though they are relieved of their parental duties for the night. So we finally opted to splurge and rent a movie off the Shaw on Demand. As we cracked a fresh bottle of wine and fell into our assigned bed spots, I took a fleeting glance towards the kids bedrooms and pondered how they were doing. Once one has a child, there is no such thing as a childfree night, they will always be somewhere in our mind.
I tried to enjoy the movie, but the clock was fighting me and my eyelids began to sag heavily. I looked over at my husband who had beat me to slumber land and was snoring profoundly. A last thought crossed my sleepy mind, ‘At least I will be able to experience sleeping in tomorrow morning.’
I’ve never been one to rely on the inner clock. Many people I know claim to never use an alarm clock because their body is finely tuned to wake up when needed. This belief system has always made me nervous and uncomfortable, my thoughts are if there is nothing to wake me up, I will sleep. Wrong. 8 O’clock sharp I wake, no child tugging at my bed sheets or alarm clock with its agonizing BEEEEP-BEEEEP-BEEEEP howling in my face. Apparently my inner clock is up and running, ruining any chance of the glorious ‘sleep-in’ I so badly wanted. No use crying over lost slumber, let’s get up and enjoy the last few hours I have before I set off to retrieve my babies.
Jamie leaves for work and now I am all alone in the house with nothing to do. As I drink my coffee and contemplate my prior hours without child, I begin to put together some witty repertoire about getting older and having children. And now that I have finished writing this script, I realize I have completed the whole thing without one interruption. No “I hungry mama!” or “Sophie pooped on the floor Mama!” My appreciation is palpable, and a feeling of serenity fills me…But serenity can only last so long before one starts to miss the chaos that’s become the norm.
Being young and irresponsible was fun at the time, and the memories will always be cherished, but growing this crazy family of mine is something that will not be taken for granted. It is a hard thing to explain, but in this moment of quiet and calm, it is all I can do to force myself to value the tranquillity. Because in a split second, this magnificent feeling of coolness will shift and I will be faced with the rage of the toddler once more. Peacefulness will be just another fleeting memory…And I will be ready and waiting for what’s next to come.