Here is the post I wrote on the eve of my 41st birthday. An evening when I was feeling a bit down and out. Today, the day after, the day I am 41+, I am feeling just fine. Why? Because of my amazing family and friends and the keen realization that whatever lies ahead, they will be there. To understand my trepidation about what lies ahead, read on…
Tomorrow I will be 41. It feels so anticlimactic as compared to 40. When I turned 40, I anticipated an “event.” And indeed, I got one. First there was a fancy dinner in the city – a great date that included a moonlit walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. And then, a week later, just as I thought the notion of being surprised had passed me by, there was a party in the park, complete with our kids, family, friends and lots of cake and balloons.
I was pleased as punch and felt more like a 40 year old child than a middle aged adult. I still do. In fact, my own husband remarked just the other day that I was behaving like a child. And not in a good way.
I get cranky when I get tired. I get really cranky when I get hungry. I get pissy when I don’t get my own way. Which is often, as it is for all parents. The needs of five kids seven and under simply must come first.
Even so, I still like birthday cake and presents. And parties. I also like puppies and kittens and trips to the zoo. And the aquarium. Oh how I love a good aquarium! I like sprinkles on ice cream and milk with cookies. Sunshine makes me happy although, despite many a bad burn, I still hate to put on sunblock.
My childlike tendencies go on and on. I believe people are good. A small part of me still believes in Santa Claus. I love Christmas, just like I love birthdays. But somehow, this birthday is different.
It’s not just my birthday. It is my oldest son’s first day of third grade and the day our only daughter will become a first grader. It is a monumental day in their lives. And that makes the fact that I am turning yet another year older seem pretty insignificant. Forty one. Big whoop.
As the date of my birth gets closer by the minute, it occurs to me that I am no longer that 40 year-old child. I have great angst about the choices and changes that loom ahead. As the kids start a new year in school, we are faced with momentous, life-changing decisions. Do we sell our charming “my first house” or stay put a few more years? Do we move to a new neighborhood in pursuit of more space to stretch out or stay put because it is comfortable and easy and, well, practically perfect in every way? What about childcare? Our triplets are starting pre-school and their needs are changing. But what to do about it? Where is the guidebook? And what if all this change isn’t for the better?!
These are the questions that keep me up at night on the eve of my birthday. Before a new day dawns. A day of new beginnings. A day filled with the promise of a new school year and freshly sharpened pencils. A day filled with questions. Big questions. And worries. Big worries. And fear. Fear of the changes ahead and the decisions we have to make. A day that I still hope will bring birthday cake. And, with a bit of luck, wishes that will come true. A day that is my birthday. But is certainly not all about me. A day that I think I am last ready to admit I am an adult. A 41 year old adult. Hopefully, in a good way.