Here it is again: July 15th staring me in the face. I love birthdays and am like a little kid when my birthday is on the way. But I have to admit that this is the very first one that I'm feeling a little...OLD.
I have had my birthday a ridiculous amount of time on Fridays. Fridays and Wednesdays. But Fridays, I mean, c'mon people! I don't know why, ask your local astronomologer or calendogropher. I can't make any sense of it, but it's really, really annoying.
I have very few regrets in life (that I didn't get a degree I can actually USE in Israel, that I left Shadow behind, that I moved back and forth, back and forth) and I still have goals (write a book, share as much of this country as I can with my kids before they don't want to hang out with me anymore, learn how to make a laining (learn a page of gemara), be less judgmental) so I think on a whole I'm doing ok.
I remember VERY clearly a few weeks after my 17th birthday thinking, "This is the best year ever. I'm about to be a Senior in high school, the world is mine. I'm old enough that I'm an adult (silly little girl!), but young enough to be strong and bold and free. Remember this age, it will be your best!" It was a very empowering thought. I even remember where I was; sitting on my front lawn picking the purple flowers that still come back in that same spot every year. Truth be told, that year was just perfect.
And then something happened. I turned 18 the following summer and was on my way to Israel for the first time to learn for the year. After that birthday there was a feeling of such potential, of being on the brink of the rest of my life, I was SURE that this would be the best year ever. And it was just perfect.
Honestly, 19 was pretty good, but suffused with lots of pressures. Go to school, find a job, live in the right place, start the dating process. I don't remember thinking that 19 was one of the best years...it's hard for half of a whole to feel whole when she's missing her other half.
But then came 20, and with 20, the best thing that had ever happened to me. I met TPH. At the time he was only The Perfect Other Half, but I had a feeling of completion and wholeness, and once again I was convinced that this would be the best year ever. We shared our 21st and 22nd birthdays together, and I don't know about him, but for me life was perfect.
But you know, things can get better :) At 21 I was blessed with my first born, and all through that pregnancy I was more than glowing. I was thrilled and felt tremendously lucky.When he finally joined us and completed our little family unit, once again I was convinced that things could not get better because after all, things were perfect.
But they did. At 22 I was blessed with beautiful baby #2 a little girl who can still light up the room. So there I was, 22, married to the perfect man, with the perfect little family.
Things start to get fuzzy about birthdays in those years. Possibly because I was a newlywed with 2 kids before my 2nd anniversary, I don't know... ;) You could say I was a little busy.
But then shortly before baby #3 joined us and moved us from "Young Cute Married Mouple" to "The Big Leagues", we moved to Israel, and made Aliyah for the first time, on my birthday!, no joke. Seriously, there was nothing that could've been better and once again, I distinctly remember feeling so blessed on my birthday. What could've been more perfect?
The following year, TPH threw me my first ever surprise birthday party at my favorite restaurant in Jerusalem. He worked hard secretly inviting our close friends and I honestly had no clue. I remember sitting around the table with friends and family that night thinking, I am so lucky to be in Israel surrounded by such amazing people that I love. Perfect.
Again things get fuzzy...kids, two more babies, overseas moves, work, and let's face it...I was getting older. But for some reason birthdays have always held this magical appeal to me. I know it's cheesy, but it is what it is.
Last week one of my kids said, "Hey, Imma! Isn't your birthday next week?" And I was with a friend who asked how old I'd be turning.
"35." I answered without a moment's hesitation.
"Really?" She seemed surprised.
"Yup! I mean, wait. I think so. I'm not sure! Maybe 34?!" I did some quick math (who am I kidding, math is never quick for me) and was surprised to admit that I had no idea how old I was turning. There is only one answer when you're in that predicament: old.
In many respects been a hard year for us. Leaving behind many comforts of home and family, of familiarity and security. I've been knocked off my saddle, and have had a hard time getting back on. It's made me feel a more vulnerable than ever before, and frankly, a little...old. I'd do anything for a visit from that cocky 17 year old.
So although the last few birthdays have been a kind of jumble in my old and confused mind, :) I do have one thing to report. Each year it seems to me that I have more and more to be grateful for. The bottom line is that even with things that I need that I don't have, or being so far from my family, I am ultimately happy to be where I am and so grateful to be here with who I'm here with. It's impossible to give my life a good hard look and not admit that it's been...perfect.