Happy birthday… to me

Today is my birthday. It’s always a bit melancholy for me.

Reflecting over the past year as a stay at home Mom can seem uneventful. My accomplishments are my kids’ accomplishments. I don’t have projects at work or deadlines to meet. My successes are measured in milestones and they rarely have deadlines. I don’t have drinks with friends after work. I have Crock Pot meals and a glass of wine after everyone is tucked in tight. I don’t have work clothes or even clothes that are fashionably relevant. Most days, “getting dressed” involves changing from my pajama pants to my yoga pants.

The days all seem to blur together. The routines are so steadfast and, well, predictable.

It’s not glamorous, but really, whose life is? I wouldn’t change a curve or straightaway on this road. Staying at home with the kids was always a dream of mine (one in which, after 6 years of higher education, my parents must be supremely proud of). But, deep down on those days when I was buried in research writing my thesis, I was pining away for the day I would throw it all away to change diapers and watch Sesame Street all day.

And here I am at 37 with everything I always dreamed of. I am not a mover and a shaker in the business world; not too many people in the real world know my name. But when it comes to raising kids, I’ve got this down.

Yes, I’m 37 today. I don’t mind admitting it; I’ve earned every one of these years. Every worry line on my face and every gray hair are exactly where they are meant to be. I am proud of this journey and the four precious souls who are my life’s most important work. They are my greatest accomplishments. Just as they are. Not tomorrow or in 20 years.  Not once Charlie masters his times tables or Finn is finally released from physical therapy. Not when Tallulah is out of diapers or Henry is finally all caught up to his peers (which he is, by the way. I can brag on my birthday, right?) But, right now. Today. Not when they grow up and make something of themselves. Right now. While they are still mine. For everything they are… Sticky fingers and dirty faces. Tantrums in the supermarket and hiding in the clothing racks at TJ Maxx. Arched backs while I try to strap them in their car seats. Spilled milk EVERY morning. Runny noses and toilets never flushed.

This is the stuff of life. These are the real accomplishments. The thankless work. Six people’s clothing all folded and put away just where they all need it to be. The cereal bowls ready every morning. Being here when they bound off the bus every day. Filling and refilling juice cups. Signing tests and agenda books. Pinning artwork to the bulletin board. Knowing what is being served in the cafeteria for lunch. Writing notes in lunch boxes. Reading them Harry Potter at night. Wiping little butts and sniffly noses. This is the grit and the joy.

Loving them is what I want to remember most. Feeling loved is what I hope they will remember most.

This is motherhood. And I’m right in the thick of it.

Exactly where I want to be.

Tallulah dug her fork directly into the cake right after this shot was taken.

Tallulah dug her fork directly into the cake right after this shot was taken.

I entered this post into the “Yeah Write Weekly Challenge (except I have no idea how to put a “badge” into my post so that you can click on the pretty picture to vote for my post.) Click here instead and please vote for my blog (if you liked it!)

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13 thoughts on “Happy birthday… to me

  1. I love this!!!! For many reasons but one sticks out the most in my mind and that is you always wanted to stay at home with the kids. You are such an outstanding friend, mother, etc. it’s no wonder your kids chose you and Joe to raise them. Happy birthday my friend!!!

  2. You write so well….. Happy birthday! What a great synopsis of your life and thx for sharing it so positively…. Some days it’s hard to remember the day to day life as special and meaningful. It truly is.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I think you are blessed where you are shannon, and I know your children certainly are to have such a loving mom to nurture them and give them such a solid and grounded start to their lives. never apologize for being so influential in your children’s lives. They wouldn’t care or remember whatever projects you did at work, but they will remember with fondness the days shared with you. Happy 37th!

    BTW – I can tell you how to insert the badge if you ever want to know.

  4. Hope you had a wonderful birthday my friend 🙂 Thank you for reminding me how important our “job” is. I love your perspective on things!!!

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