Today is my birthday. My 36th to be exact. The fact that I’m sharing this tells you that I’m not one of those people that lie about their age or try to slink into the office hoping to make it through the day with no mention of the ‘b-word’. I’m the opposite. I love to celebrate and I’m not worried about the passing of time. As my mum always says “age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel”. Only today is really shaping up to be just another day.
It started with our 2 year old demanding she be brought into our bed at 4.45am. You know that line “though she be but little she is fierce”? That’s our little girl. She is a wilful force of nature. And weighing in at roughly the size of most 1 year olds, she’s punching way above her weight. Her older brother joined her at 6.20am; he’s a 5 year old who is all gangly legs and hard skull. Suddenly our king size bed was very small and while my husband continued to snore away on ‘his side’, I was lying under two writhing, humming, sniffing bodies. That came abruptly to an end when the littlest one head-butted me above the eye-socket and then sat up to say she wanted to go to the lounge.
Things came right briefly with birthday wishes and kisses and then scurrying off to make cards and breakfast in bed and bring me a present. And then it was back into the morning routine. Lunch boxes and teeth brushing and arguing about putting on shoes…
The only significant difference was that I actually put on real pants. Not the faux exercise pants I usually do the school/kindy drop off in. Such was my determination to make this ‘not just another day’. But then at drop off I received a second head butt when my toddler was surprised by an older child and in her fear launched herself head first at my crotch. And as if to spite my wishful thinking about wearing anything half way decent, my not-faux-gym-pants were soon smeared with blue paint during an enthusiastic reveal of the birthday painting she’d just made me.
On the ride home I received several text messages from friends and family wishing me a happy birthday and hoping that “I have something special lined up” and “am being spoilt”. And I thought “if only they knew that I’m heading home to change back into my not-actually-for-yoga yoga pants, drink a diet coke and eat a left over Easter egg to celebrate”.
It’s tempting to end this post here and go throw myself a pity party. But when I got home, sat in the sun on my back steps, DC and Lindt Bunny in hand, something struck me. It struck me that at age 36 I have two little people that love me so much that they need to be impossibly close. They need to embrace me with such gusto that at times it physically hurts. And they want so much to make me happy that they can’t actually wait for the paint to dry to show me the birthday painting they’ve made. And I realised that the mark of real friendship is being able to take time out of your own chaotic “just-another-day” to sincerely wish an old friend well. I realised that eating chocolate in the sun surrounded by just the quiet hum of an empty house is really not a bad way to do it at all!
So this post is brought to you by the numbers 3 and 6 and the letter F. Not for the four letter word that you might be tempted to utter when you realise you’re on the slow decent to mid-age, but F for friendship and family and the other good things that make each passing year more valuable.