The BIG 3-5

me, on left, smiling because I don't have to worry about any toddlers falling into the lake Things I thought I would have mastered by now but haven't:

  • Remembering which week is recycling and which week isn't.
  • How to actually swaddle a baby without a leg or arm poking out.
  • I miss my friends, a lot. We've all gotten so far apart, it makes me sad.
  • Actually making up my mind when deciding on a menu rather than just picking the salmon every time.
  • Feeling good in a bathing suit. No. Scratch that. Good isn't the word I want to use. What I want to feel is that I'm not thinking of my suit, my body, how I look in my suit. Forgetting how I look. Being neutral and not having it be any sort of issue. (For anyone saying "Oh really" you assume that I'm super thrilled about not needing to wear a bra after nursing three babies. I would LOVE some boobs, trust me)
  • Being able to parallel park (seriously I still can't do it, don't judge me).
  • The last bra I bought was a training bra. (see above swim suit tirade) I get it I'm a tiny person. But at 35 buying a training bra? Unexpected. Need to find good bra...
  • Being able to stick up for myself adequately when someone hurts my feelings, disrespects me, or does me wrong. And I mean really stick up for myself.
  • Not just being the smiling, nice girl I was brought up to be. Letting the outrage, the indignation, the injustice bubble up when it needs to. Suppressing that idea that I need everyone to "like" me. Not being bothered when people don't like me.
  • Accepting that no matter what, people will do you wrong, people will cheat you, will steal ideas, will piggy back on your work, will comment, will try to down you, will try to bring you down. People you believed in will break your heart. Still not totally accepting of this (working very hard on this one)...

Things I Get Now:

  • That people can be so incredibly beautiful, and sharing, and warm, friendly even when you are strangers. That people that you don't even know can sometimes turn your entire week, or month around. Side note: I've had a few of you write me, telling me that you read something I wrote and it helped you find a different perspective. Know that those messages meant the world to me, and kept me going. We are in this together.
  • Imperfection is beauty. From relationships, friendships, careers, meals you are making, whatever it is, you can find the beauty in how YOU put it together and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Sometimes you drop the ball on calling back that good friend, sometimes you were working late and you haven't seen your wife since you brushed your teeth together two mornings ago. NO ONE has it perfect. No matter what their facebook photos look like. We all have lettuce in our teeth at some point. Stretch marks, scars, having to buy a training bra? Those all mean that you gave your ALL to be a mom. The truest beauty of a woman? I think so.
  • Being sad, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like a failure: it's all part of it. Let's face it, being a parent is really sort of this heartbreaking beauty. As much as you love it, it can rip your heart out and make you feel like an absolute f*$@ing failure a lot of the time. That's part of it. If you don't feel like a failure at least part of the time, you're not trying hard enough.
  • That, if I'm lucky, I have SO MUCH further to go. That one day I might realize how little I do know now, even still...

But, I never thought that I would get to 35 and would still feel like I didn't know what I was doing in some ways. I felt like 35 would be this really mature, accomplished age. And after 3 kids I don't feel any more accomplished or mature as a parent. I still worry needlessly about all three of them. I still feel like a part of my own body is missing if they are away. And that is the true timeless nature of parenting. It evolves, it changes, it builds, of course. But we are all the parents of those babies, sneaking in to make sure they are still breathing in those first few months. Feeling the pain viscerally when they fall when learning to walk. Crying in the car when we drop them off for the first time at school.

Very soon, after I turn the alarmingly "adult" age of 35, Mamatoga will also turn two at almost the same time. You all mean the absolute world to me. Trust me when I say that. I've become a better parent from getting to know all of you. Very grateful for that. xoxo