Today is my thirty-fifth birthday.
However, instead of writing a blog post all about how I dread being another year older (I don’t – I choose the word blessed instead), I want to tell you a story about what the age of thirty-five really means to me.
I was six years old when my dad passed away suddenly. That meant that my mom was left with three kids to raise on her own. With no plan and I am sure every worry in the world.
She was thirty-five years old.
Today, on my thirty-fifth birthday, as I sit here wearing my 10-week-old on my chest, I am left with thoughts of, “I don’t know how she ever did it on her own” and “She is the example of sheer strength.”
Motherhood is hard and a blessing, no matter what season of life you are in. Whether you have help or not, everyone’s paths are different. But being the same age as my Mom when she lost the love of her life and the father to her children? Well, that just leaves me looking at my own life and family with a brand new set of eyes. A pair of eyes and a heart that is much more grateful than I could have ever imagined before.
Each night, I thank God for my babies and for the wonderful father he has given them.
I think about my childhood and how my Mom often worked three jobs to support us, never having a break for herself. When she couldn’t attend my school functions, it was because she was working, not because she didn’t want to (and I always knew that).
Now that I am a mother of two, I find myself apologizing to my Mom for all the little things I may have done as a child, the most recent being when I ran away and hid in a clothes rack while we were shopping. I recently “lost” my three-year-old in the park and it was a heart-sinking, failure-as-a-mother moment. Thank goodness, it turned out okay.
So, I say all of this to tell you that to me, thirty-five isn’t five years closer to the dreaded forty, it isn’t a number where I look at the things I still have yet to accomplish – to me the number thirty-five means STRENGTH.
I aim to choose to tap into my own strength and patience, not only as a Mother but as a Wife, Daughter, and Friend. And I have my mom to thank for that. I am a firm believer that no matter how old we get, we can always strive to be better. Strength was actually my word of the year, and it’s only now that I see full-circle why exactly I chose it.
Happy Birth Day, Mom… thirty-five years ago you gave birth to your very last baby, the one I am forever grateful you still decided to have when two were already enough.
A peek at my all-time favorite photo of my parents together & in love.