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A Joyful 37

I’ll be 37 in about 2 1/2 hours, and for the first time in a long while I feel truly different on a birthday. The last time this happened was when I hit 30. It doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet I’m now closer to 40 than that earlier benchmark.

When I was 30 I was in San Francisco and was freaked about not yet having what I considered a “real” job since leaving my PhD program. Flash forward seven years and I have had two such “real” jobs and yet still do not know exactly what I will be when I grow up. And that’s OK. Because while I was quite happy at 30 and was in the full throws of my romance with San Francisco, I am quite happy now at 37 and am in the full throws of my romance with being back home.

And then there is Simon, who, even on a crabby day like yesterday, brings me great joy. Joy that is hard to put a finger on, as on the surface he’s much more work than fun.

By the time I feed him eight times a day, burp him, change him, coddle him, put him down to sleep, and clean up after him, it’s easy to watch an entire day go by with precious little to show for it besides laundry and garbage. Where’s the joy in that?

I think the answer lies in the daily routines and coziness of our life now. I’m a bit of a worrier to say the least. I’ve spent much of the past 37 years worrying about everything from my career to global warming. Since Simon came along, I have less time for this (unless I’m worrying about him, of course) and more opportunities to appreciate the everyday joys in life.

Like baby clothing and books. Every time I change Simon, I have a chance to giggle at the bodysuits with cows, chicks and frogs on them [and blue puppies -mgw.]. Every time I read to him I get to enjoy beautifully illustrated books about bears having tea parties and birds searching for their mommies. The accoutrements of babyhood reek of gentleness.

It’s also great fun watching a new little human discover some of the pleasures I’ve been enjoying for years. Simon now loves his bath, he’s starting to pay attention to the sound of wind and feel of fresh air when we go for walks, and I just know that one day soon he will look over and discover the cats.

And of course there are the eight hours a day I spend holding Simon during and after his feedings. Nursing Simon can be a heady experience, especially in the morning when the sun is coming up and we have the whole day ahead of us. He has a way of molding into me when I hold him that feels amazing. More than once I’ve let my arm or hand go completely numb and tingly before giving in and letting go of Simon. I have to wonder: Who’s comforting whom here?

So here I am. Staring down a birthday and enjoying a time of quiet contentment. A contentment that is, in fact, a fabulous birthday present to myself.

One Response to “A Joyful 37”

  1. […] even 30. It’s just that I thought I might celebrate turning 38 the same way I celebrated turning 37. Turns out it wasn’t in the cards for me this […]

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