Today I turn 35. I suppose it is official; I am an adult. Raegan has been asking me lately what I want to be when I grow up, and while I tell her I’m pretty sure I’m fully grown, I do have moments of wonder about the next part of my life’s adventure.
My only work experience has been in non-profits, but it is a dying field of lost funding and new graduates who see social work as armchair therapy as opposed to in the trenches, and the drama of work often seeps so deeply into my bones that I can feel them ache. Removed from clients, it can be hard to remember why I do what I do, hard to remember what change I have helped create in some. But as an adult with only one field’s experience, where do I go from here? Could I ever see the day where my writing could actually pay the bills? With the kids on my own, it feels like an impossible leap, too dangerous to step out onto the ledge. And yet, my soul has been so tired, so overwhelmed, so empty at times that finding words to say has been exhausting.
I have not been avoiding today or ever been one to care much about the number, after all age is just a reflection of life experiences, but I find I am growing so impartial to celebrations. The words no one will ever love you often echo through my mind, the words that kept me in a rough place for so long. They are, unfortunately, reinforced in the few times that I have allowed myself to try and believe otherwise, to have hope in a few words, that split second before it all comes tumbling down again, and alas, I remind myself, I am alone.
I am sad for the kids, that they miss out on that experience, and sad for others who can’t see past the hard times for those amazing moments where having these three wild monkeys in your life is the single greatest feeling of all, and sad for myself, who wanted something more and left something terrible with so much hope, only to find more sadness and loneliness.
I am weary of the future, but so hopeful for something more. A partner who makes me smile, a career that allows me to flourish, kids who are confident and make an impact on the world. So, tonight, I blew out one candle and made a wish, and here’s hoping that wish comes true, and that I will be welcoming and ready for it.
As I moved Ella to bed tonight, holding her in my arms like a baby, she snuggled in and said, “Happy Birthday, Mama. You’re the bestest Mama ever!” And really, how am I not supposed to completely melt at that moment, recognizing that with the hard days come the good, and moments like that are just for me, maybe one day that will change, but for now, they’re all mine.