Today is my birthday. I am turning 36. I think.
I have the hardest time remembering my age. People ask me sometimes and I stammer while I try to do the math and invariably wind up asking one the kids to figure it out for me. It’s not that I’m running from my age — quite the opposite, in fact. I embrace it.
I remember the summer ten years ago when I was pregnant with Ambrose. Every day, while Dan worked landscaping at a local golf course, I would take 3-year-old Kateri and 2-year-old Eamon into the front yard of the small Cape we rented and let them play in the kiddie pool. I would pull a lawn chair up to the edge of the pool and sit my big, pregnant, sweltering self down there to soak my feet.
One day, when we were set up in this agreeable fashion, a car slowed as it passed us on the road nearby. A young woman leaned out of the window and shouted at me, “Wooooo! You go, girl!”
It was only then that I considered how ridiculous a largish pregnant woman might look while wading in a kiddie pool alongside a couple of preschoolers. My shouting fan made me smile.
Yesterday afternoon, Dan took some of the older kids fishing while others of us stayed behind. The little kids splashed and played in the kiddie pool. The air was heavy with heat and the hazy sun warmed my skin as I sat poolside with a book.
When pool play was over, I wrapped Daniel in a towel and brought him inside to dress him in a fresh diaper and a clean, dry T-shirt before naptime. As I carried him upstairs toward his bed, he hooked his legs around my middle and patted my face with a small, fat hand. His baby flesh was cool, smooth, and fresh.
After settling him, I returned outside and stood on our front deck. Wet towels littered the yard. Two escaped roosters strutted in the green field. As they scratched and pecked the ground for insects, they carried on a cackling, crowing conversation.
I stooped to gather the towels, but then paused for a moment to listen. I heard not only the roosters, but also the liquid twitter of swallows that are busy building homes in our bird houses. I heard the animated chatter of small children inside as they changed out of wet suits and planned their next afternoon activity. And I heard the words of my long-ago fan echoing in my ears.
“You go, girl!”
36 years have brought me here. And it’s an awfully nice place to be.