This past Saturday I turned twenty eight. We spent the morning at the zoo. We had gotten a zoo membership for Christsmas and even though it's a good forty-five minute trek from home, we've been just about every other week so far. The zoo is quickly becoming Ethan's favorite place to be and he was dying to show my husband Marty the white alligator who is currently his favorite animal at the zoo. (Fingers crossed he doesn't expect me to make him a Marty costume for this year's Boo at the Zoo.) Anyway, our morning at the zoo was wonderful. We got there just around the time the zoo opened which meant the weather was still perfect -- not too hot just yet -- and there wasn't a large crowd. I spent the rest of the afternoon at my sister's dance showcase. We did a family dinner at my favorite restaurant on Sunday evening instead. It was a simple birthday but I won't bother blaming that on pregnancy or the exhaustion that comes with being a parent -- it's the same kind of birthday I've been having since I turned eighteen. I'm prematurely old, or something.
If I'm being totally honest, I've had trouble remembering how hold I am for a while now. Every week that my birthday got closer, I'd pick another argument with my husband about how I thought I was already twenty-eight, or was I twenty-six? It all sort of blends together at some point. I don't fear getting older and I certainly don't dread it. It's just that life sort of gets a little fuller, a little sweeter, each and every year and at some point age really becomes just a number, some irrelevant point people like to make that holds no weight or value.
This birthday, I just want to make peace with myself. I'm not one of those women who is magnificent at being pregnant. I want to be, so badly, fresh-faced and showing off my perfectly rounded baby bump around town singing how great I feel. It isn't ever going to be me. The part that hits me the most, more than the morning sickness or the fact I'm only ten weeks and can already no longer wear my pants, is the fatigue. The not being able to do everything that I'm used to doing. If I'm not rushing around, busy, frantic -- I don't feel very much like myself. My promise to myself this birthday is to breathe it all in and let it go. Try not to push myself. While ideally I've always wanted four children, I've realized this could very realistically be my last and I don't want to gloss over it all. It's been a hard lesson for me to learn and it hasn't even been a week since my birthday. On Sunday evening I listened to my body and went to bed despite tot school not having been finished. I woke up in tears on Monday about it, wishing I would have pushed myself harder. I'm trying, though. I've had huge plans for a gigantic birthday celebration for Ethan's third birthday in June and I realized that I should probably put it off until I'm not pregnant, do something a little smaller scale this year. It was a hard confession for me to make, that I couldn't handle something that big right now, but I still feel a little bit of the weight being lifted. I'm trying.