Today I turn 35. In my head, at least, that is middle aged. Officially. Seth and I were talking about my upcoming birthday while driving back and forth to indoor track practice this week. I explained that if I lived until 70, a feat not yet seen on my mother’s side of the family, I would be half way. Half of a life lived. Halfway through this journey, if I am so lucky.
When I was turning thirty, my peers were freaking out about the big 3-oh. I took it in stride. Heck, in my twenties I got married. I had three children. I had done so many things. I was ready for thirty. But something about this milestone is different. A distinct realization that I am not in the coveted 18-34 demographic anymore. No longer considered a young adult.
I see it in my hands. The ones that look like my mothers in so many of my memories of growing up. The soft folds that form as you run your hand over the back of them. Skin no longer taught. Around my eyes when I smile or laugh, squint or cry. The lines that radiate out like the rays around the sun in my preschoolers drawing.
This year has been one of change. A moving from a more than full-time mom to something different. Not something less, but definitely another place. When all four boyz board the bus each morning it is a reminder that I am no longer needed in a way I once was. No diapers that need changing or bottles to be given. Teachers answering questions that I used to field incessantly.
I hold on to my afternoons with Eli dearly. Treasuring each time he wants to snuggle, his code word for nap. Cradling him in my arms as we drift off to sleep with the afternoon sun streaming through my bedroom window. My nose buried in his hair. Staying awake a few moments longer to marvel in the rise and fall of his chest, the flutter of his eyes moving beneath his heavily lashed lids. All too soon September will arrive and even this will be gone in an all day Kindergarten whirlwind.
It is time to change too. I plan to spend the next year learning what it is I love to do. Narrowing down the array of things I enjoy to those that are my true passions. Spending some of this new found time experiencing life as myself. Mothering has been my career since I was twenty-two. Done all hours of the day or night. At 35 it is time to learn more about who I am. A singular being not cloaked in the necessities of motherhood, but standing on my own away from my crowd of men.