Today is my birthday; I am 35 years old.
35. A number that simultaneously feels so old and yet so young. I’m acutely aware of my current stage in life - right smack in the middle. If I have another baby, my pregnancy will be considered ‘at-risk’ simply by virtue of my advanced age. But I’ve only been married for 3 years - a drop in the bucket compared to my grandparent’s 62 years of wedded bliss. I’m professionally young, a good 30 years away from retirement. And yet I have 18 years of experience - a number that seems impossibly high. 35 is both young and old.
This isn’t my first birthday as a mom, but I was in no place to be reflective last year. Avi was 2-months old. My brain was a fog - singularly and intensely focused on my little guy and unable to think of much else. This year, I can breathe a little and take a moment to think about what this birthday really means. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not really about me at all.
I remember so vividly the day that Avi was born. The drive to the hospital, walking through the hallways to get labor moving, watching Legally Blonde while bouncing on a yoga ball. I remember the doctor telling me this would be my last push and that moment when I saw Avi for the first time. This is what Avi’s first birthday was for me - a reliving of this exceptional day that changed my life. I’ve joked with my friends that Avi’s birthday wasn’t really about him...it was about ME! And when I stop thinking about myself for a minute, I realize that this is what my birthday is for my mother.
So mom, today I celebrate you. 35 years ago today, you became a mother. You took on the most challenging, emotional, and rewarding job in the world. For the record, you’re doing a really great job. One of the many things I’ve learned over the past year+ is that even though becoming a mom changes you, it doesn’t erase your past identity. I’m a mom now, but I’m still Sandy. And even though you will always be Mom to me, you are still Fran. A woman with opinions and aspirations. With a social life and a relationship with Dad that is actually about more than just me and my brother, Mike. Now that I’m a mom, I understand you more and more every day and what you’ve given to our family. And one day, we should count the amount of apology texts I’ve sent you this past year (Example from not too long ago: “Hi. Remember how I’ve made fun of you endlessly for not cooking? Well, I’m sorry. Turns out it’s really hard to cook dinner when you work full time and have a kid. Tonight’s menu: frozen spinach bites and veggie sausage.”).
Happy Motherhood Anniversary, Mom. (And Happy Birthday to me). Love you.