Today is your birthday and we’re both 34 years old and feeling it in the arms and legs and hands that tangle together in a second-hand bed you bought to be big enough for us and four dark-eyed babies who, no matter their age, still crawl in to snuggle on early mornings.
Last night the baby fell out of his bed, and I put him in ours, tucked safe between us with his damp curls and belly-splitting laugh that was mercifully quiet at 2 a.m.
You bought that bed even when I figured it wouldn’t fit in our room just so there’d be room enough for them all. Even though you don’t like to share your sleep with nightmares about crocodiles and a four year old’s snores.
Sometimes I feel like we’re so far removed from that pair of naively starry eyed twenty-year-olds that I’m not sure we were ever really there. But we have friends who remember us from that time, friends who were there when you first brought me cough drops in that light booth of the old EH Young Theater, people who aren’t at all surprised that we’ve grown up to raise four kids and learn to love each other in new and different ways.
Sometimes I miss being that young with you.
But I never regret that we’re slowly, patiently growing older together.
Time thinks it’s flying by, and I measure it in moments of childhood that I never want to end. I’d freeze it here, you know, right here, with a terrible two and a baby girl on the verge of double-digits. I’d stop and never let us get a second older, just let us revel in the here and now that is the wonder of parenthood and adulthood and never-ending mortgage payments.
But you wouldn’t.
You see the gift in the moving on. In the days that are far, far ahead in our future when we’ve held them tight and let them go and are settling back into a routine of just us.
I think you wonder if I’ll find you enough. If, after the days of mundane mothering are over, and I have hours to fill without the constant company of one who is half-you and half-me, if I’ll be satisfied with just the company of you.
When I was only twenty years old, you were plenty company enough. I pretty well imagine that come twenty years from now–
I’ll be happy to have you all to myself again.
Happy Birthday with all my love.