XX Year Anniversary of XXIX

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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.

 

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Her Typical Morning

She reaches over and grabs her cell phone to turn off that annoying bubbling brook ring tone that she has set for her alarm. She tries to set the phone down quietly but misjudges the distance from her hand to the the night table and it lands with a loud thud, causing her husband to grunt, turn over and yank the covers from her. He immediately begins to snore again softly. She clumsily feels around on the low table for her glasses, bumping into OTC pain relievers, half-read books, a straightening iron her daughter never put away, and a small bottle of personal lubricant. On the 14th drop of her hand, she lands the glasses and shoves them unceremoniously onto her face, unsure why she needed them since she can’t see squat at 5:30 a.m. when it’s still dark.

She does the morning ablutions, prays, and shuffles into the kitchen and turns on the coffee pot that was prepared the night before. She starts the morning bathroom line-up by staggering the wake up of teenagers, two at a time, keeping them moving and focused on their next task like a well oiled machine. Between 6 and 6:45, she is able to get 4 high school students up, dressed, fed, loaded with correct backpacks and clean gym clothes, signed permission slips, and requested additional school supplies, out the door and on the correct buses. She wakes up the college student who spends exorbitant amounts of time in the bathroom and then ties up her walking shoes and heads out the door.

She’s got a family history of heart disease and has decided that this is the year to face facts. She’s fine with her curves and is old enough to know that that tag in her jeans is just a size and not a definition of her character. She just wants to feel healthy and working out is the only way to get that feeling. Also, it’s the only “ME TIME” that she is able to afford. She plugs in her earbuds and turns on her eclectic playlist and walks as fast as she can to her favorite songs; some heavy metal, some pop, some old school rap, some pseudo-country. She doesn’t care about the labels; only the best 8-count to keep her heart rate up. She warms up by walking the first 0.8 mile with a quick stride and then continues this pace with boxing moves to keep her arms and torso in shape for the next 0.6 mile walked. She completes the remaining 0.8 mile with the same paced stride all the way back home. A quick shower and she’s handing her husband his coffee and hanging with him on the back porch while he performs his morning wake up ritual with caffeine and nicotine.

It doesn’t seem like much, does it? A 40-minute plus shower routine to break up the morning and motivate her is all she needs to be able to get that self-preservation of mind and body that aids her in continuing her service to family. Keep it up, woman! You kick that heart disease gene right in the ass! Live healthy. Feel good.