the one about when I was 17

Tomorrow, I will be 33 years old.

When I was younger, like most teenagers, I would project forward and try to anticipate what my life would be like at each upcoming stage. When I am 25, I will be _____________. When I am 30, I will have _____________. And while "33" wasn't really a milestone age that I looked forward to very much, I know that I had some prediction of who I would be, what I would be doing, and how my life would be unfolding.

And honestly? I don't know how I am stacking up.

I have a four year bachelor's degree in elementary education that I "used" for six years full-time and three years in the part-time realm. I now walk past an entire shelving unit in my garage stacked to the top with teaching materials on my way to the deep freezer to retrieve yet another box of frozen waffles for my hungry children demanding "breffast."

I didn't predict that when I was 17.

I am greeted by the kisses of four beautiful children each morning and I place my kisses on the foreheads of those same four beautiful children each night. And twice, over the past nine years, I lost two babies to miscarriage. Babies I can't think about because it hurts too much to go there.

I didn't predict that when I was 17.

I am a weary traveler on this road of motherhood. Wherever I go, I carry a bag of diapers, Minnie Mouse undies, fruit snacks, pouches of puréed vegetables, and 13 Shopkins toys. I am still wearing maternity jeans because why should I wear anything with a button or zipper ever again? I'm sure there's spit up on my shoulder and at least one booger in my hair. I haven't slept through the night in 7 years. I pass other mamas on the same journey and raise my Starbucks cup in solidarity.

I didn't predict that when I was 17.

I spend my days folding endless piles of laundry. Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Wiping chins and wiping tables. Refereeing arguments over junk toys. Transporting tiny humans in my mini van. I answer 36,815 questions a day. I am an expert at preparing meals that my children refuse to eat. I find solace in long afternoon drives with four sleeping beauties and a McDonald's Diet Coke. I vacation at Target.

I didn't predict that when I was 17.

And while my life may not be exactly what I had scripted many years ago, I find myself extremely grateful for the mess, the chaos, and the opportunities for growth. The adventurous times, the predictable times, and all the times in between. The memories, the mistakes, and just the simple opportunity to get up and try again each day.

Here's to "33" being far better than I could have predicted when I was 17.

No comments