I wrote a pretty long and depressing post yesterday about my birthday and how I feel now that I have reached the ripe old age of 31. I decided not to post it because I felt that it was more of a free expression that I just needed to get out of my head rather than share with the world. But since then, I have been thinking about it and reworking some thoughts in my heart and head and I think I have reached some conclusions.
Basically, Saturday was my birthday. It was a different sort of birthday. The kind I now realize my mother has been having for the past 40 years. The kind where you know your family loves you and thinks you are special, but life goes on. No rest for the weary. Not even on your birthday. At first I decided to complain about it and feel jilted. It was no one’s fault that my husband got scheduled for a company-wide workday on Saturday. We just had to roll with it. Jerry made the day as special for me as he could under the circumstances with take-out from my favorite restaurant and a lovely framed set of pictures of me and Oscar. I also had a surprise visit from my sister which was a lot of fun. But through all of these things, it just felt different. I don’t think it is an age thing. 31 is great. It’s not old, but it’s old enough to know a few things (I hope). I think it’s just where we are in life. There are tradeouts for everything we do and know. Life goes on.
I had a bit of a meltdown at 5am on Sunday morning as Oscar was waking for the 3rd time that night and I just couldn’t do it. Jerry got up with him and got him settled back down. All the while I was just laying there awake and furious with myself for not sucking it up and caring for my baby. Who is this selfish person? I know her well, but we pretend that we are strangers. All these impurities being skimmed off, SCRAPED off as I learn to love this little boy, are piles and bits of me that I keep trying to put back together. But it doesn’t work that way.
Yesterday, Oscar and I spent the day with my family at my parents’ house while Jerry was at work. I wanted to hang with my sister and I also think I just needed some cheerleaders. I am so fortunate to have a supportive family who loves me regardless of what shape I have shifted into that day. We had lunch, we talked, Oscar took a 2 hour nap and I went for a run in their neighborhood. Even though they just live in the next town, I feel like it was one of those clear-your-head type of road trips. The run especially helped rejuvinate me.
I go through phases of exercise. The most consistent I have ever been was at a gym, alternating between an aerobics class 2-3 times a week and the elliptical on the off days. But right now, a gym membership isn’t really on the table for a few reasons and I have been trying to get my exercise in other ways, which are all boring and horrible (for me). I was also having a crisis of self in that I didn’t really know what my motivation was. I felt like I only wanted to lose the baby weight to please people. For my friends to think I am that mom who lost all the weight so fast, or to be pretty for my husband, or to show my family that I can do anything, or because Americans are alarmingly obese and I am part of the problem, not the solution. But no where in that list was, I want to do this for me. Even as I would pop in a workout DVD, all I could do was use my anger at others for “making me do this” as energy to get through the video. But yesterday, as I popped in my earbuds and pressed play on my ipod (a Mars Hill sermon if you were wondering), I finally found it. That, OH I soooo need this moment. Stress and worry just melted away and it was my time. Just mine. Oscar was being cared for, I was doing something good for my body and soul and I was by myself for 30 whole minutes!
I talked with Jerry about it last night and we decided that each morning, I will get up and feed Oscar and pass him off to him to play before work so I can get out by myself for a few minutes. This morning, I finished the sermon and came home refreshed and excited to see my family. I realized that I do need this time, if for my spirit more than my phisique (though I am sure it will help!) And my family needs it from me. I never understood “making time for yourself” as a discipline because I never had to MAKE time. I could do basically what I wanted, when I wanted. I see now and I am so thankful to have a husband who is supportive of me and willing to get up early with me to make it happen. It’s just about the best birthday gift I could have asked for.