twenty-eight.

Birthday

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.

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22 Responses to twenty-eight.

  1. Hi Ashlee! Happy Birthday! I remember at 28 I feel like the world has just started for me. It was a new chapter and I was living in a foreign country. I’m 32 this year, unmarried, I’m okay with it and I’m patiently waiting. Why rush? But I would love to one day have the kind of family you have. All the best, Ashlee!
    Audrey of http://www.audreyisms.com´s last blog post ..Everyone’s Irish On March 17th

  2. Jo says:

    Happy birthday! What a beautifully written post … yet again. Enjoy your day as best as you can. I hope your men feel better soon and hey, there’s always the weekend. :)

  3. Christine says:

    Honest and beautiful. Happy birthday pretty lady!
    Christine´s last blog post ..Postcard from Midtown New York City

  4. Natalie says:

    I love this. Nice realizing that all of your dreams have come true, and you are right where you are supposed to be. Sounds like this is definitely going to be your best year yet. I’ve been 28 for about a month, and it’s been wonderful : )

    Happy Birthday Ashlee!
    Natalie´s last blog post ..Healthy Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

  5. ashlee says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHLEE!!!!!

  6. julie says:

    Happy Birthday and waiting is okay :)
    julie´s last blog post ..Boomerang

  7. Mariah says:

    Twenty-eight is a fabulous year. I just realized two weeks ago (10 weeks into being 28?) that I’m an adult, and that other people see an adult when they look at me. And I’m realizing that I’m ready to be an adult. :) Happy birthday! (hashtag: funfetti rocks!)
    Mariah´s last blog post ..Baby Toys :: 1 Year Old

  8. Cara Crowley says:

    I can completely relate. I always wanted to turn 30. I was 7 when I asked my grandmother when I would be 30 and then every year on my birthday and I would always think, “good, one more year closer to 30″. I didn’t have any big delusions about what I thought was waiting for me, I just wanted to get to the goal. My 30′s have not disappointed me. They have been transformative and I feel like I’m finally living and I’m finally getting to the good stuff.

    I hope you have rhe happiest of birthdays today! And welcome to your dream year!

  9. Kelly says:

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays, sweet friend! I would die to be 28 again (I’m 31!). So sorry about the boys being sick. It sounds awful. Missing you and I just know this will be a great year.

    Love,

    Kelly G

  10. Jess says:

    Happy Birthday, Ashlee! I’m so sorry your family isn’t enjoying it with you :(

    I don’t comment often – though I know I should – but when I read about Everett being sick it broke my heart! I have a 6 month old and thank Jesus she hasn’t been sick in her short little life thus far, but I had to share that I have heard AMAZING things about Young Living Essential Oils. My MIL gave me a starter kit for Christmas so I’ve been doing lots of research on them and wow! Your description of what’s going on with him made me remember several testimonies I’ve read on The Lemon Drop Lounge – a blog all about using the oils (http://thelemondroplounge.com/) I’ve only just started learning about them, but I thought it might be worth a read if it would help your little guy.

    Good luck! Maybe try to sneak out to Chipotle for a margarita ;)
    Jess´s last blog post ..our life be like | volume 10

  11. HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with a whole house full of sickies, but hoping that the peace and love you define above makes it a wonderful day anyway. :) Sending you tons of the best wishes for today and the coming year! xo
    Carla (@charliesue)´s last blog post ..DIY No Sew Tablecloth

  12. Kaylan says:

    Happy birthday! I feel the same way, even though our life is currently a little thrown up in the air. But I’ve been the most content I’ve ever felt just because I am secure with my little family of three and have taken note, because of my life with my toddler, to be grateful. Blessings on your year ahead!
    Kaylan´s last blog post ..my first quilt!

  13. Sarabell says:

    Happy Birthday!! Sorry it’s been a rough one… hope tomorrow makes up for it! =]

  14. Iris says:

    The whole part on waiting has me written all over it! This is me right now. So many things you want to accomplish and feeling like you’re always waiting, waiting, waiting, to check each thing off the list. I think it’s awesome that you’ve been able to accomplish all the things you’ve wanted!

    As for the sick hubby and a sick kid with his less-than-perfect feet, girl if you honestly need those root beer floats I will deliver one (with a cherry on top cause it’s your birthday) cause it sounds like you could use one! Happy Birthday!!

  15. Jenn says:

    Yes yes YES! I feel I’ve waited my whole life to be an adult, too. Enjoy it, girl. This is YOUR year.

    Happy Birthday!
    Jenn´s last blog post ..Spring Cleaning, For Your Diet

  16. Vanessa says:

    I too feel like I waited my whole life to be in my late 20′s/”grow up”. Sadly I don’t feel quite as “there” as you do yet, but I’m glad to see that it can happen. Happy birthday!
    P.S. I also turned 28 this year and my son’s name is Everett too ;)

  17. Your writing is extra-beautiful today. Definitely an uplifter for a Friday afternoon! I hope your boys get better, and have a wonderful birthday.
    Lindsey // MoreAwesomerBlog.com´s last blog post ..Thursday Tidbits 3/19/14 + PINCHme Box

  18. Kiki says:

    Happy Birthday, Ashlee! Even if the week didn’t pan out as expected, I hope you still had a wonderful birthday and at least got to spend lots of time with your boys! :)

    And as for waiting, I know that feeling all too well. I’m in that waiting for marriage/family/kids boat right now and have to keep reminding myself that there is so much to enjoy in the present and that life starts now–not when I get married. Thank you for that sweet reminder and these wise words!
    Kiki´s last blog post ..BITS AND PIECES.

  19. molly yeh says:

    yayayayayy!!! happy birthday, lady!!! here’s to many more :)
    molly yeh´s last blog post ..friday links

  20. Courtney says:

    Ashlee,

    I have never commented before, but I’ve been reading for a while and I just had to wish you a happy birthday. As always, your words resonate with me. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and your stories have brought me peace many times this year. My daughter is just a little younger than Everett and your posts about motherhood, marriage, and life in general are just so comforting. I’m positive we would be kindred spirits if we knew each other. I just turned 28 a few weeks ago and this post sums it up perfectly. My family has always begged me to stop wishing my life away, but I just couldn’t help it. Being grown-up is the best! Hope everyone at your house feels better soon. Thanks for being you!

  21. Bethany says:

    Well happy birthday, but I’m so sorry it’s been so rough lately! My one birthday as a parent thus far was pretty awful, probably because I had such high expectations and ended up with an especially difficult baby that day. But 28 WILL be a great year for you! :)
    Bethany´s last blog post ..overcoming parenthood paranoia

  22. Gina says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Ashlee!
    Gina´s last blog post ..{Currently} March

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