A few months ago, I was sort of freaking out about the impending
Eva (looking out the window at the meter reader): What that man doing?
Erik: I don't know. What do you think he's doing?
Eva: Oh. He's just walking around, looking at all the beautiful...
Life. Is. Beautiful. Even when you're meter reading.
I've thought a lot about what I want to say on this birthday, the last of the twenties if you will, and mostly what I really want to say is this: even though I'm exactly where I've always wanted to be at 29, the details still jar me from time to time.
Nine years ago, on this day, I was mentally preparing to become a mom and, by association, an adult. I was, inch-by-terrifying-inch, crossing that line into a grown-up world that I had spent the better part of my childhood imagining.
When I was a kid, my parents emptied a large walk-in closet for me, and I set up my grown-up dream-world in there. I hauled all my Barbies into that closet, and spent hours arranging their lives. I cut up carpet samples for every room in the dream house, and made baby bassinets from old hairspray lids.
There were birthday parties, and elaborate Thanksgivings meals, and about 11 million wardrobe changes.
There was a Porsche, people. It was damn near perfect.
And outside of the closet, a real world existed, and it was not nearly as pretty. My mom and dad had just gone through a nasty divorce that just kept getting nastier. My sister barely looked at or talked to me. My friends weren't always nice.
But at some point I think I decided that the world I created in my dream closet was the one that I was going to live in someday. You know -- when I became a grown-up.
Pregnant at 20, by way of a guy I had been dating for all of 4 months. And by dating I mean that he broke up with my crazy ass about 2 months in, and then made it clear that we could still hang out as long as there were no strings attached.
That's cool. When you say "strings" does that include a baby?
Enter: tiny apartment, with screaming child, with guy I barely know hyperventilating on the balcony.
Which of course is when everyone started asking when we were planning to get married.
Just as soon as we can stand to be in the same room with each other...
Happiest day of my damn life.
If we can make it here, we just might have a shot...
Enter: buying a house.
I handpicked the carpet for my dream house.
And thought holy shit, maybe I was right all along in some I-musta-took-some-twisted-dark-and-scary-back-country-road-to-get-here kinda way.
Enter: second child.
Mostly this is just a blur of me sitting in a nursery that I carefully designed, crying my eyes out because it was all... just... so... good.
Life is good and boring, and I mean that in the best way possible. We have flat-lined in a way I didn't think we ever could, and our lives have become routines that make days, and weeks, and months blend into one another.
Don't get me wrong -- there's still plenty of healthy dysfunction (oxymoron? only if you're not married). We still believe in therapy. We still believe in knock-down drag-out fighting. We still believe in being exactly who we've always been.
But the dream world -- it's here. At least for now.
Catapulting onto the other side of happy, though, doesn't change how we got here.
At 29, this is sobering, and this is the part I will take with me as I start toward the end of my twenties. The less-pretty real world, in all its frustrating, cruel, and unpredictable glory, can't be ignored.
Without that world, I could never be where I am now.
Sometimes I think about what I'm going to tell Noah one day about this part of his beginning. I think I remember reading somewhere that you're never supposed to tell a kid that he/she was the glue that held your relationship together (maybe it's a little too close to the we-stay-in-this-bad-marriage-for-the-kids argument?)
But the truth is, Noah was the glue. He was more than that -- he was the freaking super glue.
He held two people together long enough for them to fall in love. He held our family together long enough to make my dreams come true. And there's just no way on earth that I'm not going to tell him that someday.
Life. Is. Beautiful.
Even when it's not.
Happy Thursday to Everyone!
And Happy Birthday to me :)