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The (Non-Instagrammed) Face of 36

Happy Birthday to me!

I decided to post a birthday selfie because it’s my birthday and why the hell not?

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I used to think 36 was pretty old, but being here myself now, I can say it may be tiring in a ‘4 months pregnant and have a toddler’ kind of way, but I don’t feel the slightest bit old.

It’s weird to think I’ve been wearing contacts for 20 years, driving for 20 years, and had the same best friend for 29 years(when did that happen???). I have a daughter who will be 17 in 6 months. 20 years ago I was only 3 years away from having my first baby, now I’m 6 months away from having my last. All that says I should probably feel pretty damn old, but I don’t.

What I do feel is lucky. I always thought that 30 was one of the biggest milestones, but my life is full of love in ways I never knew possible 6 years ago – the love of a man who literally moved across the world for me, the love of my kids who keep me laughing regularly, and the love of friends that have stood by me through good times and bad.

The next year looks to be bringing changes and challenges, and I look forward to every busy minute of it, hopefully getting to spend even more time with family and friends.

Happy Mother’s Day to Those Hallmark Has Forgotten

Mother’s Day has always been something of a hard day for me. I am one of those horrible people who chooses not to have a relationship with her own mother, and while I don’t regret it for a second, it makes Mother’s Day somewhat bittersweet. As I log into Facebook tomorrow I will get to see half a million status updates of people thanking their moms for being so wonderful, pictures chiding people that they should always appreciate the woman who brought them into this world, and thank goodness I don’t have cable, because I’m pretty sure the Hallmark and FTD commercials would be enough to put me over the edge.

Not every mother is wonderful, and not every person who gives birth is worth celebrating, and there are many, many people who should be recognized on Mother’s Day but aren’t.

I was in Hallmark today, and I didn’t see any cards recognizing those who should be mothers, but through battles with infertility are not…yet.

There was also a lack of cards for those who have been pregnant but suffered losses, and those who have lost a child.

You won’t generally find cards for women who are non-custodial mothers, those who are estranged from their children for their own health and sanity, or those who have given children up for adoption.

Not every mother or those who wish to be fit into the standard soppy holiday mold, but know that you are thought of, and appreciated, nonetheless. I wish you love and peace on this bittersweet day tomorrow.

To Amy and Eric

I have two friends who are meeting tomorrow for the very first time. They have been in a long distance relationship for a good long time now, love each other beyond reason, and after months of skype and calls, are finally getting to meet face to face.

In short, they are having what Paul and I call ‘their Chicago’.

They remind me very much of Paul and I in a lot of senses, only they are lucky to have their own, less severe complications than we had. Still, there are enough similarities that it makes me a little more invested in this whole situation than I probably should be.

It’s hard not to bug her to death tonight, wanting to help her through, because I know what a bundle of nerves she is tonight, and how sleep will not come easy. I know the doubts and the fears, and the what if’s.

I want to be on the plane with her tomorrow to hold her hand, and reassure her during the insanely-short-yet-forever-long plane ride. I know the anticipation, and the feeling of OMG go! go! go!. Once my plane touched down in Chicago, it felt like we’d never get off, and people were so. damn. slow. When you have a moment that you know is about to change your life forever, it’s next to impossible to be patient with the little old lady who can’t reach her own bags in the overhead storage.

I wish I could be there in the airport and see that first magic moment when they hug and kiss for the first time. It’s that fairy tale moment everyone dreams of, and they are about to have it.

They’ll head off to wherever they are staying, and no, I don’t want to be there. Some things are best kept private, and as much as I like them…well…Mmmm, yeah, no thanks.

I want to tell them both to cherish every single minute, because the week will fly like you can’t begin to imagine. I want them to take lots of pictures, because you don’t realize until later how few you have, and it’s always a regret. Especially pictures together- there are never enough when the world contains only the two of you. I want to remind them if there is a hotel involved, do NOT forget to put on the Do Not Disturb sign, just trust me on this one.

Also, hot showers are their friend, as is food. You have to come up for air once in awhile. 😉

I want to be there when the week is over, because as magical as this week will be, things are about to become a whole new level of reality. Leaving the airport will be so much more painful than anything should ever be, and at that moment in time you feel like your world is breaking apart. The best advice I can give is set a goal by the end of the week for the next trip. Having a deadline and something to work for makes it bearable. Have tissues, because you will cry. Both of you.

Mostly, I want to wish them both the best of luck, and a safe trip for Amy. I want to thank Eric for being brave enough to go through all this, I promise you, knowing her in real life, she is so beyond worth it. And to both of them- enjoy this week, you have found the kind of love most people will never understand.

Don’t ever let go of it, no matter what the distance. It can be done.

 

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