The Eve of 41

This is impossible.  I can not possibly be sitting here, insomnia ridden, listening to the hum of the clothes dryer, on the eve of my 41st birthday.

It’s ridiculous to me that another year has passed with nothing to be excited about, to brag or even journal about. Not a single thing has changed – for better or worse – not one thing.

Embarrassingly, I used to be one of those girls who counted down to my birthday, announcing to everyone the number of days left to shop for a gift for me or to remind them of my very own special day.  Truthfully, I think I wanted this “special day” since everyone who has a holiday birthday – a December holiday birthday especially – knows how “ripped off” we feel.  Either no one remembers your birthday, or they lump it in with Christmas and you’re left feeling jilted.  New Years Eve, I’ve always thought, was the worst, since no one is ever there ONLY for your birthday, they are there to party into the new year!

I remember the days leading up to my 30th birthday and how, in the midst of a divorce, I felt like a monstrous failure.  I had nothing and was humiliated beyond measure. I could not fathom the idea of turning 30. My sister orchestrated a huge party – of mostly her friends if I’m being honest – and though a good time was had by all, I recall being very coherent of the fact that I was now 30, that I had few friends and that my life – as I knew it to be – was ending.

I remember the months and weeks preceding my 40th birthday.  It was not so much the number of the age as it was the number of the age of the year that my life’s dream had ended.  I would begin my 40th year on this earth knowing I’d never be a Mom.  I was angry (still am) and I begged people not to acknowledge the day, which of corse, they did.  Which annoyed & angered me even more. Though my sweet husband planned a get away that was relaxing & wonderful, I came away from the birthdate hurt and sad and full of resentment about how my life was turning out and the theme has carried on throughout the year.

This birthday has snuck up on me.  I still feel incredibly sorry for myself for the one thing I can not change.  Jilted at the hand I’ve been dealt.  I truly could care less about acknowledging, much less celebrating my birthday, outside of receiving a card from my hubby since he does not express much throughout the year and with the piggy back of Christmas & my birthday, I get a good spirit boosting from getting sweet cards from him.  He writes the sweetest things and chooses the sweetest cards. It’s like oxygen at a time I struggle finding reasons to breathe.

I can not believe I’ll wake tomorrow a whole other year older than today.  I’d rather crawl in a dark hole and sleep, hopefully waking 10 years ago, but instead of the girl who counted down to celebrate her special day, I’ll awake as the middle aged woman who counts down the moments until it passes, politely saying “thank you” to anyone who offers cheers.

Blank Spaces

My thoughts on everything are just that. Blank spaces.

We took a trip to Las Vegas a few weeks ago.  Aside from a couple good meals, all I looked forward to was getting home.  Saturday night was spent in the hotel room.  5:30 on a Saturday night.  On the Las Vegas strip.  And I’m watching movies on my iPad. Blank.

Our annual Thanksgiving camping trip? Blank. It was neither fun or boring.  Mostly the same faces. Same weather. Same food. For some in our group, it was a trip of “first times.”  Not even the addition of my sister, brother in law & nephew made a difference in my overall feelings. When it was over, it only felt routine. Drive. Set up. Eat, drink, clean up. Drive home. 

The upcoming Christmas holiday? Blank.  I don’t care to send out greeting cards.  What could I possibly say about our last year that hasn’t been said the last several years?  “Here’s another photo of our dogs, but we wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”  Or, “Happy Birthday to Christ, who has done many great things for lots of people but chooses to bury some dreams so deep in our hearts and never fulfill them?”  I’ve opened zero cards sent to us, where I used to display them in our entryway.  I’m not even curious about them because I already know they are photos of everyone else’s families over the course of another year. 

I don’t care to decorate the house – something I’ve done for years. As a college student with tinsel & beer tabs, a 20-something year old with Dollar Store finds and even after my first marriage ended in shreds, I would venture out on my own, put a tree in the trunk of my car, blast the Christmas music and decorate the whole house in my Pj’s. 

This year, I bought a smaller, “table top” tree at a nursery and a vintage tin pail I found at the antique shop in town….a look I found on Pinterest.  I forced myself to make the purchases in a conscious effort to  get in the spirit.  And yet a week later, the tree sits in the corner of the family room, no decor, barely watered.  Blank.

I do not look forward to gatherings, gift exchanges or sweet holiday movies.  Because MY life doesn’t end like those movies do. I am exhausted of faking a smile.  I have a sweet, strong, loving husband and a cozy home.  And yet, I cannot recall the last time I felt happiness.  The last time I laughed from my core in sheer joy.

I am full of sadness, broken pieces and of fear that what’s left for me in this life will not be quite enough.  I am full of blank space.

Unbelonging

There is a medium in which I exist.  A space not fully defined.  A life with little reason.  A place of unbelonging.

I do not belong at the company picnic.  Where the men shift weight around the barbecue or cooler, discussing the work and cracking jokes at one another’s expense. And where the women gather at one table, talking about the small town daycare options, making lunches and t-ball practice while keeping one eye on the bounce house at all times for their little ones.

I do not belong at the beauty salon.  Sharing congrats and “you look amazing” compliments and stories of how, “when it’s over, you just can’t believe that your body could do such a thing!” While the nail technician rubs her perfectly round belly and bites her lip in anxiousness.

I do not belong at the office.  Where everyone else has a special schedule to accommodate school pick ups and jog-a-thon meetings.  Where calling in sick applies to not only the employee but for their children and where the childless must accommodate vacation times for those with. But those with do not for the childless.

I don’t belong on social media.  Where my online life has little meaning because I’ve not a child to give it as much.  Where “there is no better feeling” than sleepless nights.  Where my life is incomplete since I do not have a family of my own for whom the waiting & struggles were well worth.  And where the rest of the world rushes by, one post post or one photo at a time, while mine is frozen still – with no changes or new news to report.

I am unbelonging.

Waves

The list is short of better feelings than when my husband flirts with me. When he playfully bumps me, touches my rear end or sends a text from the other room asking if I have “time”for him.

He is by far a better flirt than I. And he’s downright adorable when he does it.  

His flirting fills me with love, makes me feel sexy & wanted. And, works like a charm every single time. 

Often though, it also fills me with wonder….how could he possibly want me? This broken thing, this body, this bottomless sack of emotions.

I am in awe of the love he pours over me. Of how our marriage seems less and less like a conscious commitment than it does the most natural, life depending partnership – as natural as breathing. 

His love is like the ocean, constantly rolling into the shore. Sometimes thrashing into the rocks. But mostly lapping in slow reaches onto the sand. The tide may change, but the ocean meets the shore anyway, hour after hour. Day by day. Year after year.

A Letter to my Husband on Our 5th Wedding Anniversary

My Dear Husband,

It’s been 2,628,000 minutes since I walked towards you, never losing eye contact and feeling like I was floating.
It’s been 43,800 hours since you curled your fingers into mine, wrapping our arms behind my back and holding me steady through the ceremony.
1,825 days have passed since we promised to love and care for one another through good & bad in front of our friends and family.  Smiling and stuttering and laughing.
260 weeks have flown by since the day we celebrated being husband & wife.
5 years of loving, laughing, crying & living.
On our 5th anniversary, I want you to know:
That if you would have me, I would marry you all over again.  Without hesitation and without a second thought.
That I have NEVER felt as though I settled or thought our marriage was “just good enough.” I have felt like the luckiest girl in the world since you told me you loved me and asked me to be your wife.  I still feel this way today.
That you make me proud because of the man you are.  And that I am incredibly proud to be your wife. I am proud of our marriage, how it came to be and how it is every day.
On our anniversary, I want you to know that the dreams we’ve shared have been the best dreams – the ones that have come to reality and those that didn’t – because I shared them with you.  
I would want you to know that you have made me laugh and smile from the core of my body….a place of the truest, deepest happiness.
I would want you to know that you make me feel safe and protected.  You give me strength and confidence.  And that my hope is to make you feel the same.  
That if I could, I would take away every hardship – ANYTHING that has ever hurt you or made your life even just a little more difficult.
I would want you to know that my happiness is entirely intertwined with yours and that no matter what, my ONLY wish is for you to be happy.  So much so, in fact, that on an occasion or two, I have felt you deserve better, or more than me – that there might be another out in this world who could make you happier and in those rare times, I wanted it for you more than the pain I knew it would leave me in.  That is how much your happiness means to me.
If I were not here or unable to talk to you tomorrow, I would want you to know how much you are loved by me.  How much you have changed my life for the better.  That since the moment I met you, I have felt physically & emotionally connected to you in a way that if ever severed, I’m not sure how I’d survive.  I would want you to know that my love for you is deep.  So deep, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach and in the tips of my fingers when we touch.
It’s important for me to tell you, that if I could not reach for your hand, I would want you to know that there has never been another hand I wanted to to hold more than I wanted yours.  And if there were a time you could not reach for mine, know that I would never turn my back on you or take my love away from you.  I will be the one to care for you for the rest of my days.  
I need you to know that though I may be able live without you – because of the strength you have given me – that it would NEVER be my choice to do so, and should there ever be a time when we are not able to be together, that I would take my last breath searching for you.
Sammy, you are my one true love.  You are the very best friend I have ever had.  I would choose you over and over and over again to share this life with.  On our anniversary I want you to have these words and I hope you’ll keep them forever….I hope you will read them in 20 years and know in your heart they still ring true.
I saw a quote once that said “If I had one wish, I would wish to find you sooner so I could love you longer.”  I absolutely feel this way about you, about us.
Happy Anniversary!
I love you!