I turned 28 today.
Many people wished me a Happy Birthday via text and posted messages on my Facebook wall. I was asked countless times if I was “doing anything special” to celebrate. I woke up, ate my usual breakfast, and boarded my train to work. I came home an hour early to have dinner with my family and attend my tween’s Science Fair, which had been rescheduled because of the previous week’s snowstorm. Now I sit here blogging for a few minutes before I head downstairs to finish packing tomorrow’s lunch. To some, this might not seem like a way to celebrate a birthday – but to me, it was perfection.
We spent an hour at Hayley’s Science Fair with over 100 children and their parents, crammed into the school’s claustrophobic cafeteria. Kyle and I made our rounds through the crowds, trying to read each child’s display board while simultaneously entertaining a very cranky Colin. One year olds apparently aren’t too interested in volcanoes and evolution.
At first, Colin was happy to be worn in the carrier. As always, this was short lived. With 30 minutes to spare until the event’s end, Kyle and I quietly snuck away to the school’s empty hallways to let Colin roam without fear of being trampled by helicopter parents and their colossal sized SLRs. At just about 7:30, he began to really lose it. We grabbed Hayley and dashed to the car in the now pouring rain. When we arrived home, Kyle gave Colin a quick bath while I proceeded to clean up the kitchen and meal prep for the following day.
Kyle and I rotate putting Colin to bed. Tonight, we decided to read him bedtime stories as a family – me in the rocking chair, Kyle at my feet, and Hayley on the stool. We laughed together at Colin’s animal impressions and giggles, savoring these delicious moments. They are exhausting, yes, but they are fleeting. Someday Hayley will be off to college and with a family of her own. Someday Colin might be a surly teenager with headphones fused to his ears. We will long for the days of sticky fingers and bedtime snuggles.
Colin’s current favorite book is titled, “Where is Love, Biscuit?” If you’re not familiar with the storyline, Biscuit is a curious puppy that questions where love is. His owner, a young girl, takes him around the house and shows him. Love is in the wooly sweater Grandma knits and the crunchy cookies they bake with dad. At the end, Biscuit discovers that love is also in him, as he brings his family great happiness.
At 28 years old and the mom of two children, I’ve developed some wisdom over the years – and I have my own version of where love is.
Where is love, according to our family?
Love is in the perpetual purple ring that surrounds the kids’ bathtub, thanks to Colin’s bath crayons. His happiness when he draws wild loops along the smooth porcelain makes it well worth the mess.
Love is in the crumbs strewn atop the kitchen counters, signifying evidence of the wholesome food we are so grateful to eat. They also denote our parenting philosophies of promoting independence amongst our ten-year-old by encouraging her to make her own meals, even if it means a bigger cleanup.
Love is in the endless piles of laundry we have at all times because they can wait – there are more important things right now.
Love is in the random leaves you will find strewn about our house year-round, because our dog – who is more like a third child – treks them in. We think her fur is magnetized.
Love is in the endless books we have piled in the playroom, because we spend much of our time reading to each other. Though we try to put them away each evening, our toddler prefers them in his hands or on the playroom floor.
Love is in the beautiful drawings that adorn our kitchen walls, created by our ten-year-old artist. They far from match my West Elm décor, but we think they make our house a home.
Love is in –
The tattered stuffed animals that have been well-loved over the years by both our kids.
The newborn onesies that are lovingly packed away in storage, awaiting a potential new sibling someday.
The ultrasound photos of our children that we have on display, wrinkled from curious, miniature hands.
Family game nights on Thursdays.
And even the bags under our eyes as we attempt to wake up each morning and do it all again.
Because this is 28. And it’s pretty freaking awesome.
Note: This is a piece I wrote on my 28th birthday. I’ll be 30 in a few weeks! So much has changed.