This past Friday, I celebrated my 27th birthday with my family.
This year when people have asked me what I want for my birthday I have focused on one theme: self-care. I’ve asked for face cream, face wash, a massage (which insurance covers, anyway) and some make-up.
Funny, how as a 27-year-old wife and mother of two, who also happens to be expecting, I am now asking for things I would have easily purchased for myself a decade ago. Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been a “treat” to purchase a new tube of lipstick, it would have been my right and my expectation.
Today, lipstick is so exciting and frivolous, an absolute treat and splurge. Today, a brand new bottle of face cream – anti-aging and ultra-moisturizing – is one of the most exciting gifts I could receive. Spending an hour on my birthday on a massage bed getting pampered, my sore and pregnant body relaxing under the care of a professional massage therapist – that is the ultimate treat of all.
So much has changed since I became a mother over four years ago. My life doesn’t revolve around myself anymore. My four-year-old daughter asked me what toys she would be receiving for my birthday. My kids insist on blowing out my birthday candles, and taking the biggest piece of my birthday cake. The one day that is supposed to me about me somehow turns into a day about them.
For a moment I’ll allow myself to be bitter about that fact, but not for long. For a moment I’ll allow myself to mourn the days when make-up was a right and not a gift, when money was abundant and not non-existent.
But I can’t wallow in self-pity for long, because I chose this life of a house overflowing with babies and a marriage shortly after my teen years. And I love this life.
Recently, I looked through old pictures with my two daughters, reminding them, and myself, of all the fun we have had this past year. How my year as a 26-year-old, while different from most people who are 26, was brimming with love, light and life.
This year we enjoyed two wonderful trips to Muskoka, and spent hours exploring the great outdoors under the blazing heat of the sun.
This was the year we moved to a new house, and began painting and decorating and making it feel like home. We spent our summer exploring our new neighbourhood, taking many trips to the park and the splash pad, and enjoying times with our friends.
We went on many day trips this past year, strawberry picking, hiking, visiting Snyder’s Farm, Wildhagen’s Greenhouse, and so much more.
This was the year we purchased a season’s pass to the Butterfly Conservatory, and spent our wintery weekends in tropical warmth only a short drive away. Our kids learned about the life of a butterfly and touched creepy crawling bugs, and I even convinced my husband to eat some bugs with me during the bug eating day.
This was the year that we mourned our old house, the one with the mulberry tree. It’s the year that I wondered many times if we made a mistake leaving our old place, and faced the consequence of difficult adult decisions. It’s the year I second guessed myself more times than I would like, about more things than I’ll ever admit.
This is the year that depression has taken over my life, robbing me of everything about myself that I have loved. It’s the year that I became pregnant, and faced the fear and challenges of a sick mind and body while nurturing and loving the life inside of me. It’s the year that I was embarrassed and ashamed, but also empowered and vulnerable with others.
This past year I have realized that life is much harder than I would ever expect, but much more beautiful too. It’s the year that I have faced my demons and my fears, and in return, greeted hope and grace and anticipation for my future.
I am 27-years-old, and although that number means nothing to me, the past year means everything. Nothing has turned out the way I expected when I was 26, and I expect the same will be true for 27. Regardless, I greet this year with excitement and a fresh outlook, with a zeal and zest for life, and anticipation that this will be the year that I give birth to new life one last time.
Here’s to 27.