Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thirty Five

When I was a kid, maybe eight years old, I told my mom (who was in her 30s) that she was middle aged. She was appalled, and insisted that you have to be at least 50 to qualify as middle aged. I stoically argued that, if the average person dies at 70, then 35 is technically middle aged - half of your life is over. That's just the kind of logical brain I have always had. It made for some adorable stories in my mother's memory books, but I'm sure it was a bit unsettling for her at times, too.

My dad died when he was 58, and 29 was a hard year for me. That thought lingered in the back of my head nearly every day of that year, "I'm already halfway to 58. I've already lived half of my dad's life." I won't talk much about 29: Let's just say I'm glad it's in the past. The only bright spot of 29 is how it ended: Newly pregnant with my first child. 30 was a pretty good year, in the balance of things. Extremely hard, but completely transformative.

Today is my thirty-fifth birthday. 35. Middle aged. Halfway to death. (Although projections now say that I probably have 5 or 6 more years before I actually reach that milestone.) I've been dreading 35 ever since 29. But now that it's here, I'm not too worried.

Yeah, I thought I would have accomplished more by 35. That my law career would have gone somewhere. That I would have done something notable. But I'm "just" a mom, and right now, I'm okay with that. It truly is the hardest job in the world, and some days I totally suck at it. I miss the concrete tasks of being a barista - of knowing what to do, how to do it, and when it's done. Of being able to step back and look at my work and to know it had been done properly (and to be able to dump it down the drain and start over when it wasn't). There's very little concrete about motherhood. But I don't regret choosing this path.

I didn't make any resolutions for 2013, because I didn't think I could add anything to my already-full plate. This is going to be a big year for us. We're planning on moving to a new house, in a new town, an hour away. Valerie starts kindergarten in the fall. And in August (God willing and the creek don't rise), I'll be having another baby. I have a feeling that 35 is going to be a lot like 30: Extremely hard, but completely transformative.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I used to love January. New year. Clean slate. Resolutions. The cold, clean, crispness of winter. And a birthday to boot.

Now I hate it. I don't know if this change happened when I moved from Ottawa's winter wonderland to Philadelphia's dreary grayness, or if it was having kids that did me in, but January sucks, now. Not even my birthday can redeem it.

The kids are still crazy from holiday overload and we've all got variety of colds and infections. The house is a mess. Our daily routine, long abandoned for holiday flexibility, has been spilled out and lost. And I am just. so. tired. Every day, I pick a battle. Do I tackle the dish backlog? Take the bored kids somewhere fun? Work on a neglected project? Clean up the living room again? But whatever battle I choose, the forces press in on every other front, and I feel myself losing ground daily. It doesn't seem to even matter if I just curl up in a ball and do nothing. It's not like the house can get much messier.

Add to all this the fact that we're supposed to be moving in a few months, and it's really hard to find any time/energy/motivation to pack for a move when there are so many more immediately pressing needs to be addressed.

I don't know where this post is going. I started writing it in the hopes that I would turn my negativity around, and find a positive twist for the conclusion. I didn't.

January sucks.