Good bye to my 30's! You were AWESOME, so much cooler than my 20's! Don't get me wrong, my 20's gave me a college education and the absolute LOVE of my life, both of which I'm thankful for each and every day, but it wasn't until I met you that I truly hit my stride.
Right off the bat, you gave me the most amazing gift of all, the gift of motherhood! It's funny, I spent my whole life swearing off motherhood, but 6 days after my 31st birthday I met my Monkey Man and it was all over! I knew at that moment that this would be the greatest adventure of my life and I embraced it with every fiber of my being!
Four years later I welcomed the Fiery One, and although at this point you had armed me with a bit of motherly know-how, you slapped me square in the face with a hard reality. Everything I thought I knew about parenting didn't mean DICK with the second child!
Because honestly, it's a very thin line between laughter and utter breakdown and like the song says, "It's better to laugh than cry!" You taught me more about self-sacrifice than I ever really wanted to know, but at the same time gave me the wisdom to see that everything I have sacrificed for them has been worth it 100-fold! In the end, they will be my greatest accomplishment!
You gave me a sense of purpose and level of confidence that my 20's never could and it was beyond liberating! But you gave me that confidence with a level of self-control that I didn't possess in my 20's to keep me out of trouble and I thank you for that! You helped me see that it was pretty cool to be ME. You showed me that it was OK to be proud of my accomplishments, even if the only thing I accomplished that day was a load of laundry! And seriously, you have to be proud of yourself because at the end of the day, nobody else really has the time to give a shit and if you have to wait for the validation of others, you're gonna end up disappointed and sad!
You helped me embrace my body! Although I had an amazing physique through my teens and 20's, I was too stupid and too self-conscious to know it! It's probably for the best as I could have been wicked dangerous otherwise, but it wasn't until I gave birth to two kids that I realized that this was it. This was the only body I would ever have and I might as well enjoy it! So I adorned it with artwork that celebrated my life, the life of my two kids and the memory of the two that never came.
You taught me that every day counts, it sounds totally cliche' but it's true. Time is fleeting and sadly, children grow up in the blink of an eye! Thankfully, during this last decade I embraced the media available to me to help me remember. I write and I take photographs of EVERYTHING! I'm sure I drive my kids and family crazy, but someday they will be able to look back on my journals and blogs and photo albums and remember all of the fun, stupid, silly, ridiculous times we had together. And no matter how mundane my day is, I try to look back and remember one amazing thing that happened, whether it was a horrible knock-knock joke told to me by a zealous 4 y.o., or witnessing my 8 y.o. work his first long division problem or even something as simple as watching a butterfly flit through the garden, it all matters, it's all important and it's what LIFE is all about.
All of this being said, I can't say my 30's were perfect. You showed me a level of loss that I had never experienced before and rocked my foundation. You introduced me to my mortality and forced me to shake hands with it. You rubbed my nose in humility more than once and you gave me more wrinkles, gray hair and cellulite than I ever hoped to have! You also showed me that I really can't do squat about any of it, bugger all! So damn it, I'm gonna own these wrinkles, I earned them! And the gray hair? As long as my follicles will take hair color and I can lift that bottle to my head, I will battle those until I'm 80! I'm going to appreciate EVERY single day! I'm going to hug my kids and play with them EVERY day! I'm going to scratch the ears of two little pipsqueak dogs EVERY day! And I'm going to tell Big Daddy that I love him EVERY day!!!
So here's to my 30's! I raise a glass in your honor!
It's been an amazing ride and I thank you for everything you have taught me and for the woman that I am today! I will never, EVER forget you! Now I believe I see your sister coming down the road, I know she's been traveling for a long time and I should prepare to meet her.
To be continued...