This past weekend, I celebrated my 33rd birthday. My birthday typically falls around Easter, which I never minded as a kid because this meant a big family party with lots of food, chocolate and games. I always shared my birthday/Easter party with my Grandmother, cousin, Uncle and Aunt as all of our birthdays were very close. The cake always had to be huge to include all of our names!
As I got older, birthdays started to change. Celebrating meant going out for dinner, drinks and getting together with friends. Less presents, more late nights. I also never minded this as an adult, because time spent with friends and family was more important in my life than presents (whereas presents are clearly more important as a child).
This year, I realized how different birthdays have become yet again, since having children. My husband’s birthday is close to mine and we decided to go out and celebrate his as well (why not make it a birthday extravaganza?)
Living in a small military town means slightly (ok, considerably) less options to go out than when we used to live in Toronto. The bonus is we can walk to any place we wanted. My husband LOVES fish and chips so we decided to head to the Legion. They serve fish and chips every Friday and we heard they were awesome! Why not?
First difference of birthdays from then and now:
Then: Fancy restaurants and bar hopping
Now: We went to a LEGION.
Now, I don’t know how many of you have been to a Royal Canadian Legion, but it sort of feels like you’ve been invited to a house party but not introduced to anyone. You’re in a basement, everyone stares at you, but no one says hello. Don’t get me wrong-they are AWESOME. It’s still super fun and being our age, we also felt like the youngest people there which is never a bad thing. No-scratch that, we WERE the youngest people there.
Another great thing about being our age and having three young children is we couldn’t have cared LESS! We were OUT. By OURSELVES. We could talk about anything we wanted, even swear if we wanted. And I didn’t have to spell a single word the entire night. Pretty exciting…no L-I-E.
The vibe of the night changed slightly when my husband told the middle aged bartender I was “turning 25 again” and she turned to me and said: “You 5-0?”
I was in such shock I couldn’t speak.
She said again: “You 50?”
I think I stammered out something along the lines of “WHAT? You think I’m 50?” @#^$**%#$^#&@*
Oh wait no. That was happening INSIDE my head..loudly inside my head, but inside.
What I really said was: “Nooooo, I’m turning 33.”
That’s when she said: “Oh, because I’m 50!” I’m sorry? Either you think you look amazing for 50 or I look pretty darn haggard for 33. I’m seriously considering a new face cream.
And to rub it in, she told me I was robbing the cradle…and my husband is 2 years OLDER. Terrific.
So after that reality check (I am not fishing for compliments, I know I don’t look 50, thank you very much), a new bartender came in and watched “Days of our Lives” at the bar while we waited for our fish and chips. They came downstairs to let us know it was ready-now that is small town service right there!
After a few rounds of pool, we decided to head out and maybe get a drink at another bar…well-the ONE bar we passed on the way home was closed, but the steakhouse at the end of our street (that hasn’t changed their sign since the 70’s) was open! Woohoo! We were one of 3 tables and happily enjoyed our private drink.
There’s the 2nd difference:
THEN: Heading home, probably pretty hazy, late at night…
NOW: Walking home from the restaurant at the end of our street while it’s still light out. Very light. Like, 7:00PM light. And happy about it.
So we got home, one child had gone to bed, two were awake. We played with them for a while. We played a fun game hugging and squeezing each other, maybe a little too much…I felt we should stop when my oldest son barfed. A lot.
So, my night finished up with me on my knees cleaning up barf.
And the best difference:
Then: Feeling like I might barf
Now: Being sober enough to clean up copious amounts of my child’s barf
After putting the kids to bed and grabbing a glass of wine, I got the coffee maker ready for the morning and made pancake mix so when my husband got up on MY birthday the next day, he would have everything ready to make breakfast for the kids.
Life is different now. I’m 33. I’m a wife. I’m a Mom.
I am not ashamed of being 33, in fact I’m quite proud of where I am and what I have accomplished. I’m happy to be where I am. I think back every once in a while and wish I was back in my twenties, but then I look around and smile. Life is so wonderful. My children are happy and healthy. I’ve been married almost six years and I’m still crazy in love. We have fantastic friends. We have worked hard to get where we are and have what we have, but we’re also lucky. I really feel lucky.
Birthdays may just be numbers but they deserve recognition. They will always change-but mostly for the better. The older we get, the wiser we are. There is no better reason for celebration than a birthday! So no matter what your next birthday brings-enjoy, celebrate and savor the moments because next year you’ll be a year older and have distinctively different reasons to let loose.
I wish I knew then what I know now. But if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have the memories (or no memories) of birthdays past. Horray for birthdays, both then and now, I hope there is a difference every year.