I opened my eyes and heard Husband ask the kids what they had to say to me... and they were all: "What's for breakfast?"
And I thought to myself... "This is thirty three."
I walked to the bathroom and peered into the mirror...
I turned my face right, and left...
I pushed my wrinkles up, and down...
I pulled them side to side...
I yanked at the skin around my eyes, trying to remember what they looked like before all the crows feet set in.
I sighed, dropped my hands, and stared at my reflection in the mirror... she looked tired; she needed blush.
I spoke out loud to the older, more distinguished woman in the mirror: "I guess you're thirty three."
I got everyone fed, and dressed... on the bus and off to school.
There was no "Happy Birthday," sign on the chalkboard, no banners hanging in the hallway... no balloons taped to the walls....
I couldn't help it... I was sad.
I was sad that everyone else's birthday is a huge grand affair... celebration after celebration .... and mine... wasn't.
As if this birthday didn't feel totally mundane and unimportant enough... as luck would have it, we were completely out of toilet paper.
So I packed the Baby into the car and headed to the store.... buying toilet paper on my birthday....
This is definitely thirty three.
The baby started screaming as soon as we walked into the store...
Apparently, he hates toilet paper... and wanted everyone to know it.
He took a deep breath, wound up, and started howling from his perch in the cart:
"I HATE TOILET PAPER! I HATE IT! NO YIKE TOILET PAPER!"
I shook my head and laughed to myself, as I pulled out my camera and snapped a picture thinking... this is thirty three.
I'm buying toilet paper... with a toddler who doesn't wipe his own ass, but has serious anger issues towards toilet paper...
I'm so old that I think that this would be the perfect time for a photo op...
I look around me and despite all the toilet paper screaming, I realize that no one has even noticed us...
I am sad again.... this might be the least special moment of my whole life...
This must be thirty three.
I decide to buy balloons.
I got home and blew up the whole damn package, all 20 of 'em.
I'm tired as Hell after they are all blown up and I think... Shit... this must be thirty three.
I taped them everywhere and instantly felt better about myself and my endurance.
I stepped back, crossed my arms over my chest and smiled, thinking... "This.... is thirty three."
Those balloons were colorful bright beacons of happiness lighting up my life and filling me with pride... for myself.
Suddenly, I wasn't a wrinkly woman that was sad... I was a woman who knew herself well enough to know that if I wanted some damn balloons, I better just go get them.
A younger, more childish version of myself would have pouted about the balloons... but not this woman.
She is a woman who gets shit done.
She is thirty three.
I took my pride onto Facebook and caught sight of my Husband's adorable tribute to my birthday and you know what?
I usually give no shits about Public Displays of Affection and often find them cheesy... but not today... not on my birthday.
I read what that man wrote about me and beamed from ear to ear... having a man who is not afraid to tell the world that he still thinks his wife is hot... suddenly seemed like a very thirty-three year old thing to have.
I smiled at my bright balloon beacons and thought to myself... maybe birthdays aren't so bad... maybe my crows feet are laugh lines.
The doorbell rang and one of my nearest and dearest Girlfriends stood there, ready to make good on her birthday promise to help me with my garden.
Gardening... I thought to myself... on my birthday... THIS... is thirty three.
We moved three humongous plants, we used a saw, and a wheel barrel... things that I have literally never touched in my life... but I wanted the garden to look nice, and my friend offered to help me do it and so I was all... "bring on the saw! and the wheel barrel! and the hoes!" (Just kidding, that's someone else's birthday story).
Because as we learned with the balloons, if I want something done... I had better do it myself... or at least, with the help of one of my nearest and dearest Girlfriends.
And so... we dug and sweat and laughed and complained, about how when you're a woman, sometimes... your birthday isn't what you'd hoped for... sometimes no one hangs up balloons and you buy toilet paper.
I chuckled to myself as I wiped dirt on my clothes, watching my friend use a shovel in the name of friendship and thought.... This is thirty three.
Having a friend who knows you well enough to know that all you want is to not do a shitty job all by yourself on your birthday... is definitely something a thirty three year old would have.
At lunch time Husband came home with one dozen roses and a huge bouquet of balloons.
He is, after all, a man... and so though he always pulls through... it's usually not on time.
I smiled as he walked around the kitchen staring at the balloons that I had given myself.
I explained that they weren't there to make him feel bad, they were there to make me feel good.
He hugged me close and told me how very much my birthday meant to him... and I thought to myself...
This is thirty three... when someone loves you so much, that your birthday is important to them too.
This is thirty three... when your husband knows that your birthday is your favorite day of the whole year... and no matter what, he wont let you down.
This is thirty three... I thought to myself... knowing that you picked the right partner... even when the flowers show up late.
He brought me a deli sandwich for lunch, my favorite... and something that I never treat myself to.
That afternoon, I napped, and I went for a run...
I sat on the porch in the sunshine while my babies ate popsicles and ran in the yard.
I felt blessed to be able to do all of my favorite things, and be at a point in my life where my birthday can be relaxing and enjoyable.
I went to hibachi with the family and my sister .... Where, For the first time in my life, I caught the flying zucchini that the chef throws.
AND... I ate it even though I hate mushy zucchini.
Because this is thirty three.
This is the adult thing to do... eat the food that someone just threw at your face and smile because for fuck's sake you finally caught it!
After dinner was dessert and singing and presents and when I leaned in to blow out my candles... three little heads leaned in with me...
As I was just getting my head wrapped around my wish... those three little heads blew out my candle and cheered for themselves and I laughed thinking....
This is thirty three.
When three someone else's blow out your candles and beam with pride and you don't even care because you know that life has been so, so kind to you.
Thirty three means rolling with the punches... and trying not to be so hard on myself.
Thirty three means being so grateful for every last inch of my wonderful life.
Thirty three means not being allowed to skimp on the water... and hoping that someday, my wrinkle cream will start to work.
Thirty three means continuing to worry about the size of my ass... even as I run on the treadmill and eat cucumbers (not at the same time of course).
Thirty three means praying that all of my body parts will somehow defy gravity and stay where God and Victoria's Secret intended for them to be.
Thirty three means knowing damn well who I am, and being proud as Hell of that woman and all that she has accomplished.
Thirty three means accepting that my accomplishments have not been in an office, or in a bank account... but in shaping the lives, hearts and minds of my children.
Thirty three means knowing that as we get older, birthdays kind of start to suck...
Thirty three means knowing that I have a choice in how I approach every situation... and understanding that those choices will be a direct reflection of my heart and mind.
Thirty three is old enough to know better... and old enough to do better.
Thirty three is looking around, and knowing that you are exactly where you were meant to be...
Bunny ears and all.