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Let there be cake & dancing

Sunday night I curled up next to Jack after Dr. Seuss and bedtime prayers.  With Jack tucked snugly under his sheets and softly worn blankets, I whispered, “did you know today is mama’s birthday?”  That familiar look I wholeheartedly cherish emerged, the big eyes, the bigger grin.  More still-life images to collect for my mind’s life gallery.  “Yes,” he said and then paused.  “Mama, we should make you something, and have a party – a reindeer party!”  Well, that sounds wonderful I told him.  So, Monday night we enjoyed chocolate cake and finger-painted birthday banners from Jack & Jamison, courtesy of Grandma Gail.

Sunday I turned 35.  And, with both arms open, I continue to welcome the paradigm shift that occurred from my twenties to my thirties, a girl running through a field of pale pink tulips if you will, towards more confidence and kindness.  Not because I’m prettier, thinner or make more money than I did then, but because I’m rooted in my most challenging role to date.  Humbling experiences make us stretch ourselves full to give more empathy because we understand the downs of the ups in a more intimate way.  And being a mom does all of this, yes?  Less knocking it out of the park with stilettos and a brilliant sales pitch, more hitting a home run driving down the road, half contorted to reach the cheerios in the diaper bag, applying lipstick and not spilling hot coffee all over the console.

I think I was 8 when thirtysomething first aired.  Maybe I should see if Netflix has it in the vault somewhere.  Was that show even any good?

Well, this thirtysomething girl is running through the pale pink tulips reaching for more of these things.  No more suits and heels, mostly just jeans and tennis shoes.  Less late nights and sleeping in, more coffee and snuggling with littles.  Less TV, more books.  Less blonde, more chestnut.  Less shopping, more making.  Less ladder climbing, more ladder moving.  Less hoping, more praying.  Less meetings, more play-dates.  Less independence, more family.  Less work for paychecks, more work for kisses.  This is how less is more in my life right now.

The elusive happiness I chased in my twenties lives with me right now, under a rented roof and it runs wild and free with bare-feet tamping down the crumbs and spilled milk stains on our floor.  The happiness I chased came to me one at a time, but now are a packaged deal.  A trio of boys that dance with me in the kitchen, repeatedly throw all the pillows off the couch, and meet me each night with cold feet under the covers.

Turning 35 means having the perspective to talk myself out of most bad moods because I try to remember all the good we have.  It means realizing your parents really were right about so many things… okay, most of the things.  It means having treasured friendships so long you realize these women have been in your life longer than they’ve been out.  You’ve made good decisions and bad right alongside them.  You’ve shared the broken hearts, the falling in love, getting great jobs, leaving bad jobs, getting married, having babies and all the beautifully messy stuff in between.  And oh how we need those girlfriends who knew us “back in the day” to ground us when the earth is doing its best to shake us loose.

But right now today, I have a warm cup of coffee with just the right amount of creamer.  I have a 2-year-old who can finally sit still long enough to cuddle up through an entire book.  I’m more in tune with the whispers from above meant for me.  I know my joy stems from family, friends and faith.  And, when my spiritual and creative wells are depleted, I know just where to turn to fill them up; and I know just who to turn to – those precious few who will dive right in.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some book reading and kitchen dancing to do.  And, look my hotshot dance partner steadies himself using only my thumb.

Happy Wednesday and a very Happy Anniversary to my amazing parents today, too!!