The Birthday GirlMarch 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Me, Transylvania | 25 Comments
Tags: Birthday, Children, Expats, Family, Life, Milestones, Motherhood, Perspectives, Relationships, Romania
My birthday is this week.
Maybe it’s because I’m so very far away from my family. Or because Romania doesn’t have buttercream icing. But I’ve found myself doing a lot of self-reflection as I cross another year off the calendar. It’s like I’m sorting through my mental manila file folders (I love those!) and clearing out my collection of memories. Keep? Toss? Share?
And this question: What’s missing?
In my 34 years, I’ve birthed three children, 943 blog posts, and countless magazine articles.
I’ve sold Girl Scout cookies and magazine subscriptions. I wasn’t very good at either.
I’ve seen Yellowstone and the Parthenon and kangaroos hopping across a golf course.
I’ve stood in the middle of Dachau and been crushed by the infinite sorrow of that place.
I once walked down the Champs-Élysées alone on an August afternoon and felt my soul slip into place. Like all the pieces finally, finally fit.
I’ve ridden a roller coaster and slept in a tent. If I never did either of those things again, I’d be just fine with that. Seriously.
I’ve run a half-marathon. The whole damn thing. Every single hill.
I fell off my bike and broke my wrist when I was 9. I fell off a Vespa and broke my leg when I was 33.
I’ve cleaned puke off train tracks and My Little Ponies and stuffed ducks in the middle of the night.
I’ve avoided more conflicts than I can count, like the time I hid in the bushes outside the library to avoid telling this really sweet guy that I didn’t want to go out with him. (He’s not reading, I’m sure. But just in case, I’m so, so sorry.)
I’ve taken 8,000 pictures and used up probably that many glue sticks.
I’ve spent hours worrying. Hours and hours. About car crashes and cancer and, well, everything.
I’ve never made a diorama or gotten poison ivy.
I’ve looked my children straight in the eye and told them that, no, Mommy is not eating chocolate.
I made straight A’s my whole entire life. And now I think, who cares?
I can’t really cook or sew or grow things. But I floss my teeth every day, and I’m pretty sure that counts for something.
As I type this list, as I think my way through this birthday week, I wonder … Is this enough? What does “enough” even mean?
After the cake is gone and the wrapping paper is in shreds under my chair, what really matters? It it enough that I love my husband? That I love my kids? That I try every day to love myself?
Is that enough? Am I enough?
And how do I know?
Have you ever given yourself the gift of introspection? Did you find clarity? Peace of mind? Renewed sense of purpose? Or did you just want another piece of birthday cake?