Friday, August 26, 2011

What I want to be when I grow up

You wanna know a not-so-well-kept secret? I'm turning 30 tomorrow. General consensus is that thirty is a big deal. Personally, the number doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I can't understand people who get their britches all in a wad over getting older. In my opinion, getting older is far superior to the alternative. However, I will say that I don't feel thirty. Admittedly, I don't know what thirty is supposed to feel like. But I can say this for certain, my life is not what I imagined it would be like when I was a little girl daydreaming of being 'all grown up.' Or more accurately, I suppose, I am not the person I thought I would be at thirty.
So, what did I picture... In a nutshell: Independently wealthy (of course!), living in a big white house with a huge wrap-around porch on a large farm where I'd grow my own fruits and vegetables and raise cows, chickens, pigs and a house full of kids. I'd spend my days Martha Stewart-ing it up in a perfectly pressed, never messy, ruffled apron. I'd make all of our food from scratch, hand-sew my childrens' clothing, and no scrapbook, photo album or other memento would be left undone. There would be plenty of time for running and playing with my kids all afternoon and then rocking them to sleep at night because, in this fairy tale life, a maid takes care of the dishes, laundry and house cleaning. And on the weekends, my husband and I would go jet-setting to exotic, far off locations - kids in-tow.
As it turns out though, I am not Superwoman and Mother Earth incarnate rolled into one. In reality, my days are spent trying to keep mounds of dirty laundry from overtaking my house and devouring my children. I do dishes one-handed with my baby daughter on my hip, ripping out chunks of my hair and trying to take my ear off my head by force, while my 2 1/2 year old son literally crawls in to the dishwasher. In the midst of cooking and cleaning and caring for kids, I desperately try to squeeze in playdates to keep the kids from being socially stunted, learning activities to expand their little brains, and arts and crafts so they're well-rounded. This is all done on too little sleep and too much caffeine. In the evening, as soon as my husband gets home from work, I race out the door to go to work myself, exchanging getting to put the kids to bed at night for being home with them during the day and not having to put them in daycare. As for 'jet-setting,' our last trip was to Vermont to visit my husband's family. My husband and I bravely traversed the airport with our small children - him with bags and carseats strapped to his back as I tried to navigate the crowds with a cumbersome double stroller brimming over with diaper bags, stuffies and babies, leaving a trail of Cheerios in my wake.
I am not the person I imagined I would be all those years ago while daydreaming about "When I grow up..." Its easy for me to look at my life and myself and point out all of my shortfalls. But, when I look at my kids I try to see myself the way they see me. Their little smiles show that they love me unconditionally. In their eyes I may as well have hung the moon and stars. My son doesn't care that I didn't make him blueberry muffins from scratch for breakfast or that we're having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for the third time in one week. All he wants is for me to sit on the floor and play blocks with him or chase him around acting like the Tickle Monster. And my daughter doesn't care that she's wearing hand-me-downs rather than a dress hand-sewn by me. She just wants me to hold her, and hug her, and give her kisses.
While I was writing this I saw a quote (I stopped for a Pinterest break!) that said "People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be." Absolute truth! And I have every reason in the world to be happy... A good husband, happy and healthy children, a roof over my head and food on the table. As for all that other stuff, in the words of Tim McGraw, maybe in my next thirty years.
Bree Eastman, 30 (almost), wife, mother, amateur writer, aspiring entrepreneur, and domestic goddess at heart

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