Well friends, today I am twenty-eight.
My birthday week has been less than stellar, to be perfectly honest. Last Friday Everett came down with a 102 degree fever and subsequently spent the whole day in my arms. On Saturday we noticed a rash forming around his mouth, and later found huge blisters between his toes. We spent the weekend cooped up in the house trying to make him feel comfortable, but he wasn’t eating or sleeping or even playing like his usual self.
On Monday afternoon we took him to the pediatrician to rule out hand-mouth-foot disease. Mother’s intuition had me convinced it wasn’t that, but Brett wanted to make sure. After an excruciating doctor visit in which Everett cried the entire time, the pediatrician diagnosed him with cold sores. Also see: herpes virus. Also see: gross. She went on and on about how most children are exposed to the virus by age two and how it’s a good thing and teaches their bodies how to fight off viruses, blah blah blah.
Whatever, lady. This sucks.
She barely looked at his feet, mostly because he was screaming the entire time, and then casually shrugged her shoulders and said it might be related to the cold sores. Really? Not satisfied, I immediately went home and spent one hour on the internet researching medical websites and parent forums for an explanation before I confidently diagnosed Everett with a case of athlete’s foot. Again: gross.
My poor, poor kid. He’s been walking around on his heels, hesitant to let his toes touch the floor. Every once in a while he’ll look at me and point at his feet and say, “uh-oh” in the saddest voice you’ve ever heard. Hello, heartbreak. We’re leaving him barefoot until everything clears up, which has limited our activities to “play around the house” and “play around the house some more”. I would tell you how much television he has watched, but you’d probably be appalled. Let’s just say I could kiss PBS on the mouth for saving my life this week.
If that wasn’t bad enough, on Tuesday Brett also came down with a fever, which stayed between 101-103 for 24 hours. I spent the whole day at home playing nurse to my two boys: cooking for them, cleaning up after them, getting medicine for them, tending to them. The house was a stage five disaster area. The only thing worse than being home with a sick toddler is being home with a sick toddler and a sick husband.
It’s funny and a little bit ironic, because just last week I was thinking about how I’ve waited my whole life to be twenty-eight.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a grown-up. I spent all of elementary school wishing I was in junior high, and all of junior high wishing I was in high school. When I got to high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate, and when I got to college, I couldn’t wait to get a job. When Brett and I fell in love, I started waiting to get married, and after our honeymoon, I started waiting to have a baby.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. I could have been a professional wait-er.
None of this is to say that I didn’t enjoy those seasons, or moments, or periods of my life. I absolutely positively did. It’s just that it almost felt as though all of those stages had an expiration date, or a ticking clock attached to them.
Nothing felt permanent. Everything felt temporary.
I know myself well enough to know that I don’t always do well with temporary. I’m a planner, a dreamer, a big picture thinker. Some say the grass is always greener on the other side, and for me, it was always greener in the next phase of life. I couldn’t wait for the next season, the next stage, the next wonderful part of my journey to begin.
But here I am today, on my twenty-eighth birthday, and maybe for the first time in my whole life, I am waiting for nothing.
I am married to my best friend, raising the sweetest boy a mother could ever ask for, pursuing a self-made creative career that brings me great joy and fulfillment. This side of heaven I see no greener grass, no next phase, no greater place than this home and this age and this beautiful stretch of time with Brett and Everett.
Today I am surrounded by piles (and I do mean piles) of dishes in the sink, medicine bottles all over the bathroom counter, and two sick people under my care. My house is a mess, my to-do list is full, and I’m really not too bothered by any of it. I wouldn’t wish this day away for anything else in the world.
Instead, I am simply grateful—grateful for this day, for these boys, for this less than perfect birthday. I am grateful to be here in this moment where for the first time, I actually want the clock to slow down instead of speed up.
Yes. I’ve really waited my whole life to be twenty-eight. It’s going to be a good year.