My son's recent birthday has me thinking about milestones and landmarks and such.
He turned nine -- halfway grown. Halfway grown, going in to fourth grade. For the better part of two decades I worked in a school that held K-3 in one building and grades 4-6 in another, so I always thought fourth grade meant "big kid."
I'm forty-one, I've lived close to half the length of my grandparents' lives. They were my heroes and I miss them.
My daughter turned just turned seven. My grandma has been gone now more than half my little girl's life, and she never met my grandpa.
In a year my son will be the age I was when my father left my family for good. Unthinkable to leave my babies... and they are still, for sure, my babies.
In college I dated a boy who made the mistake of wondering aloud what if we got married? I laughed without thinking and hurt him when I said I had no intention of getting married, and certainly not so young. He married the next girl he dated, and now has a son about to go off to college. I see his son's photo on Facebook and cannot grasp it. At all.
This weekend my husband and I will celebrate eleven years of marriage and thirteen years as a couple. He looks, to me, pretty darn close to the way he looked the day I met him. Okay, so he's a little bit cuter now. But he was plenty cute then, beautiful enough in looks and in spirit, that I thought, ever since the night we met, he might be the perfect person at the perfect time to ask me, "What if we got married?"
And when he did ask me? You know I couldn't trust that much goodness without double checking it, and so I negotiated, and I said, "You know I want kids, right? You know I want more than just one, right? You know I'm complicated... " And he told me, as he has since the beginning, "Oh, I know all about you..." And he does. And he told me, as he has since the beginning, "Why don't you just let yourself enjoy the happiness? It's okay! Let's enjoy it together!"
J has always said, "Enjoy the vigor of your youth! Enjoy your vigors! You will never be younger than you are today!"J has always said it's okay to be happy, and he has always offered to hold my hand if being happy scares me too much.
In our early days, we used to hang out in front of mirrors and smile at the reflection of our arms around one another, the way we kind of resembled one another in a way, and how we could never stop radiating our joy at finding one another. We held hands as we walked ourselves down the aisle.
Now we sit and marvel that we aren't those young twenty-somethings anymore, as we exchange neck rubs and swap complaints about our aches and pains. It can look, for all the world, like I'm disgruntled. I totally get that. I think sometimes I can appear somewhat ungrateful and negative and very, very tired.
Because it's been nine long years helping our son navigate autism, asthma, ADHD, ocular torticollis, night terrors, and food allergies. It's been harder especially since I haven't had my heroes, my grandparents, to guide me through life's challenges anymore, challenges of raising a little diva, or going three and a half years straight without any sleep. I'm road-worn.
But at the same time, my son's recent birthday has reminded me, as birthdays do, of the gratitude I feel for every candle on every cake, gluten free and otherwise, and every day, good or otherwise, in between. Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery says life is brutiful. I get that, I really do.
(Recently I stumbled across a blog post by someone all full of self-righteous indignation toward Glennon, taking her to task for not wanting to be all cheerily carpe diem 24/7/365. I think that blogger really just wanted to feel superior. Who knows, maybe I'm being very ironic and superior myself, calling out someone else here, but that is not my goal.)
What I'm trying to say is that my son's recent birthday didn't have me thinking life is perfect, or life is terrible. It has me agreeing with Glennon that life is brutiful, and we can do hard things.
Rooster's Mom is a parent, educator, wife, mom, and writer. She blogs at roostercalls.blogspot.com.