April 17, 2014

This is 36

I'm 36 years old.

It's not really a milestone of any kind; I'm now "over 35" and I can more confidently admit to remembering things that happened 30 years ago. But mostly, it's just a quiet acknowledgement that I'm moving along the journey of life and I'm firmly in this part.

In this part of my life, liquor store clerks apologize when they check my ID ("I'm sorry, ma'am, we have to card everyone, it's our policy" - Really? You can't just pretend you mistook me for 20? And what's with the ma'am?). In this part of my life, if I walk across a college campus, I am more likely to be mistaken for a professor than a student. In this part of my life, I sometimes look in the mirror and see the outlines of my parents' faces in a way that I never noticed before.

But I'm also young enough that people in their 40s and 50s smile at me and say, "I remember what that was like." I'm young enough to easily imagine major career and life changes sweeping everything in a new direction, or to imagine my family following our current trajectory 10 or 20 years into the future.

Also, I'm in denial. I refuse to believe that my senior prom was half my life ago. I still feel like a kid, especially when it's time to wash the dishes or I'm in the vicinity of a water slide. 

Maybe 36 is a convergence point where you can feel young while perceiving the weight of age, where you have accumulated just enough wisdom and experience to know the limits of your own wisdom and experience.

Or maybe it's just a number.

My first day as a 36-year-old was a pleasant and mostly quiet one.

I took the day off from work because Felix's daycare was closed. After sleeping for a refreshing and much-needed 10 hours, I was awoken by a very sweet little boy and his Lamby.

Don't tell Felix, but the superhero jammies are getting a little small.

I also woke up to snow.

This is what I get for casually saying, "There's always snow on my birthday" last week.

After a low-key morning at home (OK, checking my work email), Felix and I went out to lunch. He convinced me we should go out for pizza, so I took him to a place with a lunch buffet. He had an emotional meltdown because the pizza was in slices and he wanted his own pizza, all to himself. 

I don't remember, but I imagine that being 3 is really, really hard sometimes.

After Evie came home from school, we continued with the low-key, "everyone does what they feel like" theme. I read a novel while the kids watched Toy Story and YouTube videos. 

Rosie thoroughly enjoys afternoons like this.

And, in a charming new tradition of our era, I soaked in the outpouring of attention and kind words from my Facebook friends wishing me a happy birthday.

Soon, Sam came home and we enjoyed a relaxed family dinner: Salmon, veggies, and the World's Best Cake.

We spotted this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. Sam bravely made this cake from scratch, including his first meringue. It was a resounding success.

"It looks like a giant sandwich!" -Evie

That cake was so good, I wish I was eating it right now.

And, of course, gifts.

Felix gave me a travel coffee mug.

I'll let you guess what Evie gave me.

I'm going to sleep really well tonight.

Sam gave me a Ninja blender, so I can make powerful and stealthy smoothies that might be skilled in martial arts. My mom sent me a lovely necklace and a book of fun cake recipes.

The celebration doesn't end today. Tomorrow, I'm having birthday pizza and pedicures with a friend. I don't expect that she will break down sobbing if her pizza is cut into slices, but I suppose we'll find out.

Saturday, we'll dye eggs with the kids and Sam and I will go out for a fancy dinner date.

Sunday, of course, is Easter, with many things to celebrate that are much bigger than me and my 36 years: Spiritual renewal, Christian traditions, family, ham.

Also, the snow is always gone by Easter. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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