I woke up to that awesome “wall of guitars” this morning. I was intrigued, yet slightly annoyed, that someone was in my bedroom playing a hauntingly echoing version of Metallica‘s “Enter Sandman” while I slept. Then I remembered that I had changed my ringtone on my cellphone the other day. So I pulled my phone out of the trash can by my bed where it had fallen last night when I tried to put it on the night table and attempted to say hello. I heard my brother-in-law’s cheerful voice saying, “Happy birthday.” I tried to say, “Thanks.” It sounded more like a grunt, but he interpreted it as “Congratulations! You won the ‘I got to say Happy Birthday first’ game.” His linguistic skills were spot on.
After he handed the phone of to my sister to claim her second-place finish, and I checked my text message from my brother who technically was first since he texted at 12:18 a.m., I reflected on some things. Today is the twentieth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday. That’s a lot of 29s. And I am nowhere close to the goals I’d set for myself when I was a young teenager. But that’s good. At this point, my career as a “medical examiner who moonlights as a hot bathing suit model” would probably be washed up. I’ve got a mom-body, complete with extra padding for warm, sincere hugs and my cooking skills are A+ since my food doesn’t taste like medical hand soap and formaldehyde. I’m good.
Unlike me at the original 29 year mark, I have built my patience up to tolerate early morning phone calls with honest laughter. I left my not-so lucrative career of seventeen years to become a broke, stay-at-home-mom who blogs and over-volunteers at the school and with a favorite non-profit organization. On the “How Tidy is My Home” scale, I still only rank about a 6 on average, maybe a 7.5 if I have more than 15 minutes notice that someone is en route to see us. But as long as we’re not wallowing in filth (read: I’ve mopped once this month but forced the kids to vacuum a few times) and we aren’t qualified to be featured on “Hoarders,” I’m okay with it.
And while I complain about the little things that annoy the crap out of me, like being the chauffeur of shame hauling young adults to and from work, college, high school, and various volunteer and social engagements, I know that I have a great life. I genuinely LOVE my family and my friends. (Thanks, Venetia, Sara, and Cindy, by the way. The three of you have been my first truly best friends (who don’t share a mom with me) in many years and you have no idea how great that feels or how much I appreciate it.) I have a home that is large enough to house us all comfortably. My husband works a job where he is home every evening around the same time and no longer has to travel for extended periods. And we sit down to dinner every single night together. Yes, we eat as a family every day. I have a great life. And I’m so grateful to Allah for providing this.
I have decided to carpe the crap out of this diem. I’m going to make a B.A.B.B. (that’s Big Ass Birthday Brisket) for dinner and maybe let my daughter help me choose a birthday cake. (It’ll be chocolate so the masses will be happy. I may get myself a lime popsicle or something, so that I will be happy.) And I will sit back and allow them to do all of the chores for my big, fat celebration of ME.
**The dirty little garden gnome? No. He has no real significance to this story. I just like him and decided he’d make a lovely thumbnail for this blog post.