The day after my birthday Zach and I went to a movie. We went to a matinée in order to be home in time for dinner and bedtime routines. When we walked out of the theater the sun was bright, the sky blue, and I couldn’t remember the last time we had gone to a matinée, or a movie at all. We stopped for a drink, a happy hour drink before Happy Hour because I’m 34 and three kids were waiting for us to come home.
At 34, I am basically who I wanted to be, save for an authored book or two. Sometimes I give myself a hard time for not accomplishing this feat as of yet. Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to be at my computer dreaming up worlds rather than playing Barbies or wiping snot off noses in my own world. Sometimes I curse the hours in the day and wonder why can’t there be more. (And I’m not just speaking of hours here.) Sometimes the grass looks mighty green and manicured somewhere else over yonder. Sometimes I catch myself wondering at the luck and good fortune of others.
At 34, I still have freckles. The same freckles I’ve always had. I considered them endearing at 16, but now they mingle with the wrinkles beginning to surface and the overall effect is that my skin is having an identity crisis. The other day I plucked two gray strands of hair from my scalp. My ankles crack when I walk down the stairs. I have my mother’s knuckles.
At 34, I have a nearly-6-year-old daughter who is funny and inspiring and doesn’t like birthday cake which makes me question whether she’s really mine at all. I have 19-month-old twin boys which still blows my mind. I never wanted twins, much less twin boys. If you had asked me at 30 where I would be at 34, twins would have had no place in my plans. Yet here they are, and amen for that.
At 34, I still focus too much energy on where I want to go and how I’m going to get there rather than where I am now, in this moment. I spend too much time doing dishes and laundry and not enough time jumping in puddles and creating with glitter and dancing in the living room. I text while I make breakfast, I check my email while Mia practices reading. I have forgotten doctor appointments twice lately. I feel like I am everywhere, extending myself in every direction, and yet not really present anywhere.
Zach asked me if I feel 34. How is 34 supposed to feel? I asked. Truthfully, I look back at pictures from college and in my 20s, and that’s how I feel, minus the hangover (most of the time). Sometimes I wake up and wonder how I got here, a life with a husband and three kids; a mortgage and bills to pay. When did it all happen?
At 34, I end my day by tucking in a princess and two little super heroes. I stumble into my own bed with an aching back, fatigued muscles, and a certain kind of love I have never, ever known. I close my eyes wondering at the luck and good fortune of it all, promising that tomorrow I will be more present, more mindful of now, less concerned with what’s coming next.
Hello, 34. Let’s do this.