My birthday

So I had a birthday last week. I can totally see how women in their 30s say things like, “Oh man, 30s are so much better than 20s.” And then women in their 40s say that about their 30s, etc, etc. Because life just keeps getting better. Especially when 5 little babes and a handsome man woke me up singing the HBD song and presented me with these little tokens of love as I watched the lake wake up outside my window.

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Also doesn’t hurt to check the mailbox and find a good friend sent 2 of my favorite things all the way from Colorado.

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I often feel like I am making decisions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What we eat as a family, organic or not organic, what to do with this room or the outside of the house, how do I stop this smell from happening, etc. So on my birthday or on Mother’s Day the only thing I ever want (ok, I love presents too, let’s just be real here) is to not make any decisions. Not a single one. I know it’s not always awesome for Zach since I typically give him 0 guidance but it’s totally awesome for me. For my birthday lunch he asked me to meet him at the lodge for a delicious meal provided by someone else which sounded exactly like something I would be interested in. What I got after that delicious lunch was 30+ counselors singing happy birthday and delivering cupcakes over and over and over again. Every year I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten better and better at being by myself and I now realize I require a lot more alone time than ever before. So all of that left me feeling quite awkward and embarrassed but one of my favorite parts about being a camp wife is how often it reminds me not to take life so seriously. I mean look at their faces!

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I’ve also learned to appreciate the little things more and more every year. Last week a few plants that had yet to bloom decided to show me their beauty. I took it as a sign the world was telling me it’s going to be another beautiful and bright year.

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I was stepping out of the shower the other day and noticed my stretch marks on my stomach and thighs. It turns out as I get tanner (ahhhh lake life) my stretch marks become whiter and more pronounced. If our culture wouldn’t try to tell me stretch marks are ugly I would actually believe they are quite pretty in their stark contrast to my tan belly.

Anyway I was kind of caught off guard by my reaction to them. I think having been around a little longer and been more purposeful than ever about learning from and loving people who have completely different life experiences than mine has made me really appreciate those stretch marks. Because those stretch marks are there only because I was able to hold three precious lives (and give birth to two) within my body. This is not something I will ever take for granted. I’m not saying if you hate your stretch marks you are taking for granted the reasons they are there, I’m only saying every year I gain a little more understanding that life is a trade off. Very rarely do you find something in life that is a real blessing without trudging through some uglier bits to get there. Of course there are days when I mourn the loss of my perky boobs (and dammit I earned the right to mourn those! 😉 ) but it’s becoming increasingly harder for me to stay in my mourning for long without memories of nursing Trysten early in the morning and studying for my Women in Cinema class at the same time. Or the first time Dailah was taken off all of her machines and I got the go ahead to try nursing. Those happy memories far outweigh any momentary sadness about my physical body.

And of course I look at my hands and am sometimes startled with the lines that have recently become a little deeper. But I can’t look at my hands without thinking about how they held the hands of special people in Ethiopia. Their hands rough from the years of hard labor. I can’t see my slowly aging hands without remembering them being kissed and blessed by people that hold so much of my heart in their hands.

I guess I’m just so thankful to be getting older because perspective seems clearer and clearer every day. I don’t look at people in their 20s and think “Man they have no idea” because 1) it’s patronizing and 2) it doesn’t help anyone. Of course those older than me probably look at me with the same look (though I hope not, we should probably stop doing that to each other) but I’m ok with that because I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’m alive y’all and I know too many people who would be my age but never lived to see their 30s. I’m infinitely grateful every year and every day that I wake up and get to experience another day in this life.

I hope you guys are too.

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