It was my birthday this week, I’m 36 years old. It was mostly a regular day: shuffling the kids off to school, picking them up, making lunch, tidying, refereeing – the usual. We ended the day at a nearby family friendly restaurant which was such a treat because we don’t go out for dinner very often. While we were finishing our meal my husband said to me, “You didn’t happen to make yourself a birthday cake today, did you honey?” No, no I didn’t. I also didn’t get the iPod touch I was secretly hoping for. It’s okay though.
What I did get is a lovely bunch of flowers that is sitting on the table. If I knew anything about flowers I’d tell you what they all are, but I don’t. So I’ll just say they are a beautiful mix of different white flowers, some green stuff and a couple of bright pink flowers mixed in for fun. I also got a nice box of Belgian chocolates that disappeared oh-so-quickly. On top of that I got lots of slobbery kisses, hugs and heard countless times cute little voices saying “Happy birthday mummy” and “I love you.” I really can’t complain.
I’ve been thinking about my birthday and what it means to be a year older. Meh. I’m not bothered by my age; I don’t lie about my age. I did comment to Mr. FN that I am now closer to 40 than I am to 30, but I won’t spend time fretting about something over which I have no control. What I can do is think about the past year and what might come in the year ahead.
The past year has been a tough one in some ways. Just over a year ago we moved into a new house (selling our old house, packing, moving and unpacking with four young kids is not fun); we worked on and recharged a marriage that was weighed down with stress; we’ve had financial ups and downs; we learned to budget and live within our means; and we changed schools all while dealing with the normal hectic life that a family of six leads.
This past year has also been a good one for many of the same reasons. We spent the summer lazing around in our huge back yard; our marriage is strong and Mr. Family Nature and I are happier than ever; we learned to budget and live within our means AND we did this without feeling like we have all that much less than we did before; we’re spending (or not spending) smarter. We know that having material things doesn’t necessarily contribute to our happiness. We’re also at an amazing new school that is so well suited to our parenting style and that the kids love.
Through all of bumps in the road this past year, I don’t think there has been a day gone by that I didn’t laugh out loud – a real belly, tip your head back kind of laugh. Even the days when I felt like the stress of it all was too much, when I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest and butterflies in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away, I would go to bed so incredibly appreciative. At times I’d feel so consumed with anxiety but still happy. If nothing else this past year has made me intensely aware and grateful for my family, my friends and all the good things that we have.
I’ve been pondering my goals for the upcoming year and they are simmering away in my brain – sometimes at the front of my mind and sometimes in the back, but they’re there. I can’t quite put them into words just yet but it is something I’ll do before the end of the year.
In the meantime, I’ll be secretly hoping for an iPod touch for Christmas (come on, the refurbished ones start at $169 with free shipping!). If I don’t get one, it’ll be okay; I’m sure there will be lots of slobbery kisses and other good stuff.