Sweet Birthday Baby

It happened. The earth goes around the sun one more time and I turned forty-two.

Last year I posted a note about my birthday. It’s dark and I’m scared of who I was. I talked about how trapped and lonely I felt. This year it was all very different. We hired a sitter and went to an all-day bluegrass festival and then stayed in a hotel. A handful of my best friends were around me for the entire weekend.

I’m not afraid to put myself first. That was the biggest lesson take away from last year. I know the importance of doing so creates a better life for everyone around me.

The days are long but the years are short, as they say. It’s so painfully true. I have three kids under the age of seven. They give me gray hair like you wouldn’t believe. I’m impressed with how they constantly test their limits. At times it’s with me, but other times they are testing themselves. It’s amazing to watch them grow. I’m grateful to be present for that, though I’m also stoked when we hire a sitter and I get to step out.

In last year’s letter, I listed things I wouldn’t be doing on my birthday. I’m replacing that with a list of things I did do. I danced for hours, twirling and spilling my beer. I laughed so hard I peed, especially when my friend fell out of his chair. I pushed my way to the front row during Deer Tick and hugged my best friend. Then I cried. Because she would be leaving the next day and I won’t see her again for a few months. We laughed about it because she is usually the emotional one, but life has changed my outlook. Emotions come and it’s okay to let them out, expose them to the world, embrace them.

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I ate falafel that was delicious, collected free giveaways from booths ranging from cannabis companies to the Lotto. Counted man-buns and men in overalls, and at the end of the night, I thanked a police officer for his service. It may be the beer talking, but I think we’re friends. I told the Uber driver it was my birthday and that I’m writing a zombie novel, she didn’t seem impressed with either, but I don’t care because I impress myself. I ate cold Royal Farms chicken at midnight because my husband was prepared.

Did I have a headache the next day? Hell yes, I did. Was it worth it? Hell yes, it was.

I’m forty-two. Things are not going to be perfect. I’m going to be trapped in my house and with the weight of the world pushing down. There are going to be times I’m scared to try something new. I’ll hate my husband every once in a while and yell at my kids when it’s not their fault (and then feel guilty about it). I will work hard on my garden and curse the pests that destroy it. I will make plans that fall through and then feel depressed.

This year is going to be big. I’m also going to finish my first novel and then have a huge celebration at Checkerspot Brewery, you are all invited. I’m going to read lots of books, go for lots of hikes, talk to strangers, keep going to therapy, eat chocolate cake, drink good beer and wine, dance in the kitchen, and be a soccer mom.

This my life. I’m going to strive for it to be a fun one.

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