A number I remember thinking was ancient when I was an elementary school girl rocking pig tails and overalls.
“You have to round up to 40,” my sister-in-law smiled, settling comfortably into her 29 years.
With a baby brewing and bubbling and kicking me from the inside out, I am officially of “advanced maternal age”.
Deepening creases between my eyes, lines beginning to take shape where smiles had been, a reflection that begs for a few touch-ups I never knew in my twenties: this is 35.
And so is laughing at myself when I can’t understand the slang tumbling from my high school students’ mouths or changing the station when nauseating lyrics catapult from the Top 40 station I listen to now, so I NEVER say something like, “Who let the dogs out?” and follow with “who, who, who, who?”
35 is holding up clothes and wondering if it’s a shirt or a dress while a tween makes the case for shorts with a 1/16 inch inseam to her mother who might also be 35.
And sometimes it’s walking out of a place because “really, does it have to be that loud?”
For me, 35 is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter on my growing belly and the appeal of flats over heels.
It’s all of that and a million other things, but it wasn’t until my morning commute that I slammed directly into my adulthood.
It was the thought of him, his blonde faux hawk, his smile that looks like the beginnings of a cityscape with his missing and growing teeth. It was his eight whole years that got me.
I’m old enough to remember eight years ago with a clarity I can feel. Without closing my eyes I can be there in the hospital if I just let myself remember. My back aches for a second. I’m rocking to get through the pain. The fear comes back, the trepidation, the euphoria is all there like it was in the moments I simultaneously birthed my boy and a brand new woman I didn’t know I was or could ever be.
His eight years made me acutely aware of my 35. And while I can remember that day, that moment, while I can feel it in my gut, so much is gone like a whisper I didn’t quite catch–moments I can’t remember because Time fell through my hands like those wily Water Weinies I got from Santa’s Workshop every year when I was just a girl. It was funny then to try to hold on–the futility made me laugh.
Now, not so much. Eight years slipped away somehow despite my attempts to hold on and measure and document.
Suddenly 5 pounds 11 ounces became 50 pounds; baby fat morphed into muscle; picture books turned into chapter books; a baby became a real boy.
A girl became a mom.