But this year, other pressing concerns have occupied the spot where my pre-birthday jubilation usually resides. Namely, what the hell is going on inside me right now? How can it be 8 more days until my ultrasound?
I'm 32 today. And for the first time in my life, I feel every one of those years. Motherhood has been incredible, but the daily grind of what it involves has taken its toll. The brown hairs are fighting a losing battle against the gray. Even before getting pregnant again I was often exhausted at the end of the day, and now, that exhaustion just sets in by mid-afternoon. And a trip into any store inevitably ends with the much-younger-than-me cashier telling me to "Have a nice day, ma'am."
Ma'am? When did I start looking like a "ma'am"?
However, physical debilitation aside, I'm in a pretty good place in my life.
My career is going well. Almost too well (knock on wood). I'm thinking of quitting one of my contract gigs. The pay isn't great, it takes up too much of my time, and I'm finding it's causing me too much stress. Plus, once I do, I'll have more time to devote to the writing I really care about. Oh, and my kid too.
I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I cannot do it all, as much as I've always thought I could. I am asking for more help, and when at all possible, I'm trying not to juggle 42 things at once, as has been my way in the past. And I'm making it a point to take more time for myself. I've started reading again before I go to bed, instead of working right up until the moment my eyes shut. Even 10 minutes doing something I love has made a big difference in my quality of life.
And somehow, incredibly, I have ended up pregnant again.
Last night the hubs and I went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant we've been going to since we started dating 11 years ago. It's a bit far away, so we only make it there three times a year: my birthday in March, our anniversary in August, and his birthday in September. A group of eight middle-aged men and women were seated at the table next to us. They were hitting the sauce pretty hard, and were talking about sex, and loudly. At one point, one of the women turned around to us and said, "Whew. You don't have any kids with you. We were worried you would call CPS on us." We told her we had left the kid at home.
A little later, their server presented one of the men with a cannoli with a lit candle in the center. The room sang "Happy Birthday" to him, and then the tanked group began to talk about the cannoli as if it were...not a cannoli.
"Hey Harold, I'll have a bite of your cannoli."
"Judy, I don't think you could handle my cannoli."
"How about if I just lick it?"
The same woman who had spoken to us earlier turned around again and said, "You two know all about cannolis. You have a kid!"
A very big part of me wanted to watch her reaction when I told her there was no cannoli involved.