"Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people
who have the most live the longest."
I'm only 38 years old.
Because my 39th birthday is in September...just after the summer...and individual days don't make me any closer to 39. I have decided that I will be 38 until my birthday. I'm still young. The "mid-30s" go until 38, right? Well, that's what I say. I'm not 39....which comes right before 40. Forty.
I'm not sitting here pulling my hair out in fear of turning the big 4-0. I mean, I am not excited to be getting closer to that day, but I don't sit and dwell on it. Well...just a little bit, but that's normal. Right?
I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada but grew up in the Beach area of Toronto. Yup, the big city. The nice neighbourhood. Not the suburbs like now. I grew up taking subways.
I am married to a guy named Rob. He is 39 already which makes me his younger woman. And no, I don't take you for stupid...I know you could have figured out the math. anywho...
We got hitched on April 8, 2000. What a lovely day of snow and sleet and cold and wind. But it was fun.Even though they spelled my name wrong on the sign entering the wedding hall. Even though I didn't even get to have my wedding cake and eat it too. Even though my husband doesn't really like to dance but did it anyways cause you have to dance with your new wife at your own wedding.
We lived together in sin for about 6 months before the wedding because our new home had already been built and it closed. He's Italian and lived at home until then. I had been back and forth...too and from home and residence at the University of Guelph, the apartments I shared with fellow students, the place I got in Toronto the year I graduated and started by first "real job" as a personal lines insurance Underwriter. I had the business card, the fake leather briefcase, the pink business suit, the nylons and the kitten heels from Bata. I had hit the big time. $28,000 per year and benefits baby! And a bar in the same office building. Awesome.
By January 2001, I was pregnant with our first son, Julian. Yes we were trying. Yes it happened pretty quickly. And we were over the moon excited. I read all the books and visited all the websites and decorated the nursery with my mom with perfect shades of soft blue, hushed green and whispering yellow. Everything had to match. I made pictures for the walls using images from Martha Stewart Magazine and some cute wrapping paper from one of my baby showers. I took old, garage sale frames and mirrors and painted them all white. So fresh and new. So creative. So fun.
So young and blissfully naive.
By September we were parents (I know, you're not stupid, sorry), and by the time we had moved from our starter home in Mississauga to our upgraded home in the Beaches of Toronto we were expecting our next son Noah who arrived in March of 2004. Those we busy years. Loud years. Babies and toddlers crying, Mommy and Daddy tired, stressed, depressed, blessed...because we had our lovely boys. So lucky.
So after much deliberation and having gone back to work after Julian was born, I decided to quit my job and stay home full time for a few years.
And I did. And it was difficult and wonderful, tiring and uplifting, crazy and calm. But expensive. So after a few years we packed up and moved to...well...back to Mississauga. Smaller house, smaller mortgage, much bigger property for little boys to run and play. Cute home, pretty neighbourhood, old, European neighbours everywhere lurking wanting to know your business, lovely as can be, offering up organic wares from their beautifully kept gardens. So nice. So "soccer mom."
Please note that I still don't have a mini-van. We have a black pick-up truck. We are frickin' cool.
I had made some local friends pretty easily in Toronto because I was from there and knew some already and also our homes were so close together that they felt like row houses. I was basically sitting with my neighbours when I was relaxing on my porch which was sometimes annoying and sometimes really nice. Nice to meet you. Oh you're a stay-at-home-but-used-to-have-a-career-mom-too? Super! Wanna come over and try to talk while our kids make each other scream and make us more tired and harried than we were sitting on our porches?
Wait...I don't even remember relaxing on my porch much now that I think about it.
Now back in the burbs I have to drive almost everywhere and people drop their kids of at the kiss and ride not at the school yard and all our neighbours are over 75 years old and some don't speak English and some hardly leave their homes except to garden. Lovely gardens. I think I mentioned that. I need to get into gardening. So nice to have neighbours who take such pride in their outdoor spaces. But why do I feel like sleeping a lot and watching too much bad reality TV...that is, when I'm not taking care of the kids and home? Ya know, when I am at home a lot, it needs to feel like one. Otherwise I'll fly over the cuckoo's nest.
When Noah was about 3 I decided I could not stay at home anymore. I needed to go back to work. Rob was willing to stay home during the day and work on Saturdays to keep his seniority. You see, he's a Teamster. That's how they roll.
So that was great and kinda stressful, especially on Saturdays when Rob was working and Julian started hockey on the weekends. Hockey mom more than soccer mom. There I was. But I loved to watch him play. He was pretty good for his first year!
And that was how it went until I was stunned when I was laid off. No reason really. "Restructuring." I got a wonderful reference and a cheesy severance and frankly by the next day I was having a celebratory breakfast with my husband. Screw that job. Better things are in store! Rob can go back full time. And he did. Until I got another job less than a year later. We could swing it. We could both work full time. And raise two boys. And be happy. And have a nice, organized home. And we worked really hard. And there were ups and there were downs. But we've made it so far.
And then it was 2010.
The kids were getting older and we didn't have to hover as much, worry about them eating strange things or running out into the street or banging their heads. Whew. So I wanted to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with something monumental...something to mark the occasion as I think we worked hard to get there. But Rob was not too comfortable leaving the kids for any length of time that a trip down south would take. Understandable...but I needed a break. I needed one whether he was going or not. Luckily my parents were going away and I joined them in the Dominican Republic. No kids. No husband. For a week. I had fun even though by Wednesday I had not spoken to the kids yet and my phone battery was almost dead and I didn't have that thing that you need to plug into the wall because we ain't in Kansas anymore. But I bought one and spoke to them and felt good. Maybe a little guilty...OK a lot guilty...but the palm trees and the mojitos made me feel better.
Within two weeks of getting home from that trip I found out I was pregnant. Noah was 6 and Julian was 8...almost 9. I was too old. I was also excited. Another baby? Maybe a girl this time! Maybe another beautiful boy? Maybe I am out of my mind!
Maybe. You just never know.
Out of my mind I was, especially when I was bedridden for most of my third trimester because I tripped and broke one foot in three places and sprained the other ankle really bad. They take longer to heal. Great. Especially when you just had another c-section, spent 10 days in the NICU with a 3-weeks early, third baby boy and have gained over 70 lbs since the bathing suit in Puerto Plata. So lucky to have little baby Drew.
So much for my ass.
And I am home again now. My maternity leave ends in October. Frick times three. Three boys aged 9, 7 and 8 months. The lights of my life. And things with Rob are good. And we are slowly trying to get the house organized and feel more settled. More at home. More like a hug. Cozy.
After all...I'm almost 39.
And after 39 comes....
PS: Hey, try this book!
An Attitude of Gratitude - How Bad Experiences Give Your Life Perspective
Fare for Friends: Why We Need Our Gals
Fare for Friends: Why We Need Our Gals