So today I have completed 3 decades on this Earth, which is both highly significant and pretty inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things. My father never dreamed he’d make it past 25 — he made it to 64, which was really more of a miracle than it sounds. And yet simply not enough time. I wish he were here today, to wish me a Happy Birthday Kiddo in that raspy voice of his, pulling me in for a hug with his tattooed arms and huge, battered hands.
Instead I have the sweetest baby in the world, who when she smiles reminds me of him. That is what is incredible about having a child of your own flesh and blood — your loved ones who have died come back to you in their little faces. Olive gave me the truly wonderful gift of sleeping through the night for the first time in over a month! When she woke up and Joel brought her to me, she gave me a look of unparalleled joy at seeing my face — it’s truly amazing when she does that, it makes me feel like a zillion dollars. Then Joel gave me the fabulous gift of an e-reader, which I have been wanting for a very long time and he has been telling me there’s no way we can afford it. He got friends and family to chip in and now I don’t have to balance huge tomes on my lap while breastfeeding the baby! It’s very exciting. I believe the first book I buy will be Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
So, thirty. This past decade has been all about creating good habits, finding balance and sanity. Then I threw a wrench in the whole machine by having a child, and now I am searching for my footing again, seeking to make meaning in this post-baby life.
I have a close friend who constantly reminds me of how far I’ve come, how much work I’ve done to heal myself. I see what he means — it’s been ten long years of slogging through the underworld, but sometimes I wonder if what he’s trying to tell me is that I was totally crazy and terrible to be around when he first met me, and he’s incredulous at how I can be bearable to be around now. Which is pretty much true. When Joel first fell in love with me, this friend was like “Dude, pass on her. One way ticket to Crazytown.” But I guess I won him over because he was in our wedding and is our baby’s Godfather and basically our biggest fan. And thank Jeebus Joel didn’t listen to him and pursued me anyway — my transformative love relationship with him has been the #1 reason I am not growing snakes out of my head today.
My next blog post will be: “Heal Yourself Through Your Twenties The Rhea St. Julien Way: in 20 Difficult Steps!” It’s sure to be a banger. But for now, I’m going to go enjoy my birthday to the hilt, remembering where I came from (Big ups to my longest relationship — with my Mama!) and where I still have to go.