Ten years ago today, I turned 29.
I had a lot less wrinkles and a lot fewer grey hairs. My joints ached not at all. I never had to drink three glasses of water to get the sleep marks on the side of my face to go away. But, then again, I had a lot fewer children. My life involved a lot less giggles and cuddles and cleaning.
I had a lot more money and a lot more free time and a lot more frequent flyer miles. I also had a lot more preconceived judgments and a lot to learn about compassion.
I had never given someone the baby Heimlich. May I never have to do it again.
I had never endured a miscarriage or given up a child. But, I had never held a friend’s hand through the same, knowing the pain.
I loved Matt heart mind and soul in a care-free, selfish way. I took love for granted the way all children do. I didn’t understand that love is nothing until it’s tested. I didn’t understand that I would love him a million times more when it got harder. When money was tight and sleep was denied us. When he worked all day and then came home and held me in his arms while I sobbed about how I was failing our troubled child. I didn’t understand that one soft word to our baby would mean more than a decade’s worth of roses or love songs.
Although I have had friends throughout my life who are forever dear to me, I had never experienced the bond of a village of mothers. I did not know what it meant to have my life underwritten by love and support and laughter. To have commiseration and celebration and emergency babysitting in life’s awful moments at my fingertips. I wish I knew ten years ago what motherhood has taught me about friendship.
If I have one birthday wish, it is for every free-spirited, twenty-something girl in the world traveling through her life at 100 mph who finds herself a decade from now a mother of four with an annoying dog and a minivan and bills and a wardrobe from Old Navy and a little bit of heartbreak packed away in her secret places. I hope that she will look at the changes in her life and feel this fulfillment and this happiness.
Ten years ago, I wasn’t perfect. I had a lot to learn. Some things never change.
But all in all, I think those ten years look okay on me.
(photography by Garrett)
They feel good. They feel right. They sit easy in my story, right where they should be. I’ve softened in just the right places. Here’s to one last year as a thirty-something. As a mom to toddlers. As a person on the uphill climb of life. Bring it, forty. I’m ready.