July 17, 2009
I'm turning thirty on Saturday and I'm feeling pretty good about it. None of this, "It's my second 29th birthday!" stuff for me. I spend my days looking after a husband, two children and a blog, and I'm pretty proud of those things. I own this mom body and my mini minivan and the two gray hairs I decided, for the first time, not to pull out this morning. I'm 30 and I've earned it.
Thirty feels really significant to me. Sure, I'm not going to be a completely different person next week, but it is the final nail in my Not a Kid Anymore box. There's the good stuff: I no longer worry about being taken seriously by grown ups since I finally feel more comfortable within their ranks. And the not-so-good stuff: I'm seeing tiny lines around my eyes, and my skin doesn't seem as bright as it does in pictures of my college years. Not to mention the number of times I've caught myself wishing teenage girls would just get that hair out of their eyes. Am I turning into my MOTHER?
Thirty also marks the point where the worst parts of my teenage years were exactly half my lifetime ago. I may not be able to remember names and faces, but I remember exactly how it feels when the guy three lockers down from you starts dating your friend instead of you, the girl he's supposed to marry. How much do I want to reach back and yank fifteen-year-old me into the future, just for a few minutes, and show her the boy who actually meant it when he said he loved her, the city she lives in, the mom she talks to nearly every day, the two-year-old who shouts for "Mama," the 10-month-old who snuggles up against her when it's time to go night-night? "Dude," I would say to my fifteen-year-old self, "you have KIDS."
My mom was thirty when she had me, and while the stuff was different (I am constantly hearing about how "we didn't have THAT when you were little!"), I'm guessing a lot of the work was the same. She made herself crazy trying to breastfeed me, called HER mom every day, had her second baby when I was only fifteen months old. When I was little it never occurred to me that my mom might be struggling with taking care of us, or that she was tired, or that she might not be sure how to get us all out of the house in time for a doctor appointment. My mom was the best, the smartest, the most fun, the most capable of all the moms I knew. Were these other women even really allowed to be moms? How could we be sure they were as good as my mom?
I'm the mom now. I'm the one who's going to have all the answers. The fifteen-year-old inside me would be impressed. Relieved. And totally freaked out. I'm the mom. I've made a lot of life's big choices already. This next phase of my life is going to be about making choices for the little people in my care. Sometimes I feel like I should take my kids aside and let them in on the secret: their mother is completely utterly clueless. Perhaps they should be looking into acquiring a new one. But most of the time I'm hopeful that Thirty ushers in that Best Mom era -- at least until my kids are old enough to know better!