I turned thirty on Monday. The day was a lot like my birth, really — at home, low-key, surrounded by family with a few friends coming and going. I rang in the day at 2 a.m. and then again at 4, and on and off until the sun rose, ebbing and flowing with the feeding demands of my boy. He is, of course, the reason I wouldn’t be celebrating in style with topless waiters handing out canapes. Or strapping on my best pair of heels and sipping cocktails on some glorious house boat. The thought of doing anything which required me to stand upright, get out of my pajamas and appear coherent was really not an option. I’m battling all kinds of sleep-deprivation over here, and I was happy to let this year slide in terms of party poppers and martinis.
As the day started to break – my day, the one full of great milestone glory – I lay staring at my baby nuzzled in bed with me. With the little light trickling in through the window, I took in his every eyelash, his every skin curve, the rise and fall of his every breath. And while a part of me was heavy with the lack of celebration the day held for me, as I pulled him close to me, I knew that I didn’t really want the fanfare. To lie there, in the wee hours of the morning, contemplating my life, my achievements, the path I’ve trodden to get here – this age of thirty – I would choose sleep-deprivation and my children, my family, over any party I could dream of. He was simply beautiful to me, in that hour I stared at him, and I began the day already heralding one hell of a celebration, only it was on the inside.
My kids did not grasp the concept that the day wasn’t about them, and Ella developed a severe aversion to my taking her attention – as in full-blown Anaphylaxis – but, by God, there was champagne.
We have a tradition in our family that all birthdays begin with a treasure hunt, fresh out of bed. Clues are figured out, hiding spots are revealed, and presents are found while everyone else runs after you, crazed with excitement. If we’re too time-strapped to plant clues around the place, we usually just sing “how green you are” in loudness or quietness depending on how far on or off the mark you are with your present locating. Joel delivered as per usual this year and outdid himself with some very thoughtful gifts (including tickets to see James Vincent McMorrow in May – swoon!). We went out for breakfast, we made home-made ice-cream, we went on my favourite walk, and we shared Indian take-away with our neighbours when the sun went to bed. Joel even cleaned the kitchen so I was beside myself with happiness.
It feels good to be here, in my thirties. Better than I thought it would.
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Unknown