It's getting harder to pretend that I am the same girl I was 10 years ago, mainly because a certain 7-year-old won't let me. Every single freaking night he asks, "How old are you mommy?" I no longer answer. I just look at him sideways as he feigns exasperated ignorance, "I forget! Really, mommy!"
How can someone so annoying be so cute?
"Oh right!" He smiles gleefully, amused with himself, "You're going to be 45!"
Yup. I'm going to be 45. Really, really soon. Thanks for bringing it up, kid. Every single night.
Not that I'm unaware. I see the lines. I see the greys. I see the birth year that I have to scroll pretty far down to find when I have to put my age in somewhere. I may be mid-40s but I haven't lost all my marbles. I know what's what. Um, when I remember.
Times, they are a changing. And not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I'm happy and somewhat surprised to report that many of the changes are actually for the better. So here's what being (almost) 45 looks like to me...
Finding two minutes to give a kind word, a compliment or let someone know you're thinking of them. Honestly, just a simple word or gesture can make someone's day, and generally it takes barely an effort. So while I no longer want to volunteer for everything under the sun -- been there, done that, let someone younger with more energy go there -- this is my more personal way of giving back, and it makes everyone feel good.
Knowing people and feelings matter, and that stuff doesn't matter. Sure, it's nice to get cute shoes, a fancy car or a sparkly new bauble but what really matters is who you are not what you have. Seems obvious but it's amazing how long it takes some people to realize this, if ever.
But also, we deserve nice things. In the past, I begrudged myself. Nah, I don't take massages, too expensive and indulgent. No, I don't need those designer jeans that make my ass look awesome. Now, if I can swing, I do it. There's nothing like a gift you give to yourself.
We don't sweat the small stuff. I know it's a cliché but it's true. I don't care if I'm not invited somewhere. It's fine. I don't care if I didn't get to stop at the supermarket to pick up the "right" lunch for my sons for the next day. They'll make do with whatever I can scrounge together; cereal and milk, anyone? Pretzels and hummus? I don't care if I should've made dentist appointments last week. I'll make them this week. I'm over trying to be perfect, I'm good with just trying.
We tighten that core. And I don't mean our middles. I mean the people around us. I hardly have time to see the people I care about. Who has time for stupid crap, stupid people, toxic relationships or drama?
We forgive... ourselves for not being perfect, our bodies for not being perfect, our parents for not being perfect, our friends for not being perfect, our kids -- what? Come on, don't be ridiculous, our kids are perfect... imperfections and all.
We're grateful. God, I am so grateful. For everything. For hot showers, steaming coffee and my fuzzy socks. For setting suns, dog kisses and double scoops. For being able to stay home with my kids. For my kids, their health, their bright happy eyes, their mischievous, goofy smiles and warm hugs. For my husband, whose support and strength warm my home and my heart. For all my family and friends who fill my life with laughter and love. And even for the random frustrating shit that can be hard to deal with. I appreciate, appreciate, appreciate my life, all of it -- the good, the bad and the messy, because I am old enough to have seen death and tragedy and know how lucky I am to still be here.
When I look at that list, I think, damn it's good to be this age, but of course there is the face that kind of looks like mine but looks more like my mother's, the wrinkly hands and the funky feet. The "oh my aching back," the age spots that once were freckles, and so on and so on... But thankfully another gift of age is that we don't give a shit, at least as much. We are wiser and centered. We look worse but feel better about ourselves. Go figure.
Also, the eyesight is going as well. So that helps.
It's the little things.
Happy Birthday to me
More essays like this can be found on Icescreammama.com
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more