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Jan 31

Turning 48

My birthday was last week. And mostly – I ignored it. I ignored it because it scares me, a little bit, to be getting older. I’m not at all sure how I feel about it, so I’m pretending it’s not real. I don’t FEEL older. But there’s no way to deny that 48 is really close to 50. And 50 – well, that’s old.

I mean, it’s not OLD. I’ll be 50 with a child who isn’t yet in high school. I’m still young if I’ve got a kid too young for high school, right?

But I should be embracing my age. I should be feeling good about this – not everyone gets 50 years. Not everyone gets what I have, a good, healthy marriage. Five healthy kids, who are all thriving. A scruffy dog who barks too much. I love my life.

I’ve thought about life goals, resolutions. I used to make birthday resolutions. When did I stop doing that? Was it Sam’s accident? I think somewhere along the line I started thinking setting goals was too much, survival was taking all that I had. And it’s hard, now, to think of personal goals I want to make. Everything comes back to kids – I want to continue supporting Jessie into adulthood, providing the scaffolding she needs, and gradually stepping back more and more, letting the scaffolding go because she doesn’t need it anymore. I want to start treating Sam as an adult, pushing and nudging and getting him to see himself as capable of doing it on his own. To make his own goals, to work towards what he wants. I want to continue to build my relationship with Julie as a stand alone thing – to be there for every last second of her childhood. To soak up all that I can, because I don’t have that much more time with her. I don’t have that much more time as a parent of children at home.

What do I want? Outside of parenting, outside of being a better wife, a more dedicated pet owner (because I really do need to get her groomed). What do I want, for me?

I guess that should be my resolution. To try and figure out who I am, outside of these definitions. The problem is that my obligations, as a parent, still seem so… huge. So big and so important, it’s hard to know where that ends and where I begin. So much of my identity is tied up in parenting. And it grows and changes, I am not the mom of babies, I’m not the mom of a zillion little kids hanging out at the Ecotarium anymore. But the mom of a college student, an elementary school student, the mom of a disabled high school freshman who needs to fight for every accomodation – that takes up a lot of space. So much space, I’m not sure there’s room for much else.

Parenting is such a guge part of my identity. I’ve been very purposeful about that. I did this intentionally. And I’m sure, as they all continue to grow and need me less, I’ll find space for me again. But we aren’t there yet. Sam still needs a lot. Julie is still a kid. And while Jessie is super close to an adult, she’s still learning and figuring it out. I’m okay with where I am. More than that, I want to be where I am. I don’t want to miss a moment of what I have left with them.

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