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Thirty seven

I've been sitting here for five minutes debating how to write this. It's so easy to slap up a few pretty pictures, say happy birthday to me and call it a day. It's harder to talk about what's going on under the surface. Especially when it's a relatively shallow issue, and I know opinions range from "ohmygod she's whining about her weight again why doesn't she just do something" to "ohmygod, she's not even fat she's so vain and ungrateful and needs to get over herself." 

But I hate the false perfection that sometimes comes across online, even unknowingly. While the entire internet may not necessarily be entitled to (or interested in) the details of my inner dialogue, if I'm being real I'd say this was the first year my birthday made me feel old. Not because I was turning 37. Because having (now) 30 pounds to lose at this age made me feel like I missed my window. I'm not sure what that even means, or how my life would (or wouldn't) change if I was thin again. But I think more than the collection of years, that "missing your window" feeling is what makes anyone feel old. Whether you want to get your degree, drink wine in Tuscany, or play in a sprinkler; it sucks to consider the loss of "I might never ____________."

For me, maybe it's being destined to wear an ass curtain on my bathing suit forever. It's superficial. It's embarrassing. People have real problems like divorce and cancer. Even in my life, this is the least of my worries. And maybe that's why I focus on it so much. It's a problem where the solution is still up to me vs. the real ones that are beyond my control.

I wasn't as much down about it as I was removed from the idea of celebrating. Until a conversation with Shelly a few days before when she said, "It's your birthday we are celebrating and that's that". She is sweet and bossy and knows how to snap you out of too much navel-gazing.

So I sent out a last minute invite for dinner to my favorite sushi place. My lovely friends showed up, some whom I hadn't seen in a really long time. I wish I'd gotten a photo of everyone because they made me feel grateful and happy, and reminded that there are much worse things in life than ass curtains. 

Like BREAKING YOUR JAW. My friend Neva (pictured in the left below) just went through that when she was running a few weeks ago. The doctors told her if she'd landed on her nose or head or neck she might not be here. Talk about perspective. And, talk about how running (and I'm pretty sure all forms of exercise) is really bad for your health.

Love each one of you who made my last minute birthday a fun night. 

If you're in San Antonio, you need to try Kumori. I think it's the best / most affordable sushi in the city, (coming from someone who has been to maybe three places). Still, you should go if just for the desserts. I think they made this one to help me celebrate that I'm now old enough to get a mammogram. 


Since my birthday always falls on Labor day weekend, we thought it would be fun to "get away". So we booked a faux-cation to the Marriott. It's ten minutes away and we only stayed overnight, so it was awesome and easy. Okay, maybe there was one moment when I didn't think I or my ass curtain were going to make it to the pool. I may have pathetically texted two friends from the hotel bed while my family was swimming until I realized I was being a ridiculous example for my daughters. 

Leave it to kids to remind you what matters. 

It was so crowded on Sunday that we decided to rent a cabana the next day. Turned out to be unnecessary because everyone (who didn't live ten minutes away) was leaving. I'm glad we didn't know that before hand, because it was so worth it not having to solve any problems all day. They even brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the kids. I mean y'all, not having to feed my children is how I define a vacation... ten minutes away or not.

I even went to the spa, which had an interesting tradition called Los Siete Nudos (The Seven Knots). Each knot was supposed to symbolize a worry that you leave behind. I tend to keep my worries close (in my purse or pocket, or possibly tattooed onto myself). But the sentiment is nice, isn't it? 

Party animals that we are, the most glorious moment of the weekend was discovering that we could download Mad Men and watch it on the computer. I know I'm late to this train, but I've become so obsessed with this series. It's entertaining, but beyond that it's making me miss my Grandma, and wish more than ever that I could ask her all the questions I never knew to ask when she was alive. Like how much did y'all really drink at work? And did you really nap on your office couch? ... I might need to write a separate post about it.

For now, that's it. I'm officially 37. I'm good with it. And I'm making peace with my ass curtain. 

Reader Comments (10)

I'm so glad your friends came xo You should always be surrounded by loved ones who know and treasure you for who you are on your birthday (and every day)

You know how to get me, if ya want ;-)

Glad y'all took the faux-cation. You needed and deserved it.

Love you, friend.
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
I just love this. The honesty and the is-what-it-is-ness about it. As your (ahem) elder, I have to tell you that the years ahead are a spiral staircase. You'll keep circulating the same damn issues, wondering why you can't seem to get past it, without realizing that you really are moving up all the time in your understanding. Midlife is richest, most interesting, most complex place I've traveled yet in this long, strange trip. When you get here, know you have a friend waiting. :-)
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyran
My ass is one of my least favorite parts of my body (it is so flat, not only could you not rest a beer on it, it goes numb when I sit down for any period of time. So cute! So fun! ;)) Regardless, the curtains make me feel like I have a real tail, so I refuse to wear them. I just can't have something swinging behind me all the time.

That's my ass curtain story. You're welcome.

Of course, like everyone else who can see you from outside and who is lucky enough to call you a friend in any capacity, I think you are a knockout in all ways. However, I have very similar feelings about different aspects of my physical self, and I know damned well how entrenched they are and how difficult it is to move beyond that. It's a process, not an event, of coming to terms with all of it, especially as the numbers tick up higher (hi, I'm 40 now. I still can't believe it.)

But there are two things I can say with certainty. One is that I am SO glad you are here. You bring so much goodness and happiness and humor to the world. You are one of my favorite people who the internet has brought to life. Two, no matter what, you seem to power through and process these feelings and get out there and live, every time, for your girls, your friends, your husband, YOURSELF. That is the victory. That is the evolution of all of this.

This is a very long-winded way of saying happy birthday. You were awesome last week at 36 and today at 37. I'm happy for the moments you can see that too.
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
Happy Birthday, you gorgeous fun sexy creative wonderful woman! You are a joy to be around, a joy to know. And I hope this new year for you is everything you want it to be. Ass curtain or no ass curtain!

I think we all have those things--even at our lightest, leanest, there are things we feel self-conscious about (for years I was embarrassed over my wide feet. Wide feet! What the hell was I thinking?). The trick is to have all our (perceived) flaws, and still get on with our juicy joyous lives. Friends, boob-shaped desserts, swimming pools, kids, splashing--I hope you have many more wonderful days surrounded by people who love you.

As for Mad Men, my mom worked in a NY ad agency in the Sixties. I asked her about Mad Men--was it really that bad with the drinking and the sex? "Actually," she said laughing, "it was worse!"

Happy Birthday, darling. I have a feeling you're going to make 37 proud. xox
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertea_austen
you ROCK my friend. and I love you SO MUCH.

happy (belated) birthday.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIrene
Sister, if you need an ass curtain..I need the Great Wall of China to hide my ass! I also need a crane to hold up my boobs...but life is so much more than that. Too short to care anymore! I love you and Happy Belated Birthday!
September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRochelle
Happy (belated) birthday to you! ;) I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy your day in the pool with your beautiful kids. Yay you!!
September 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangie {the arthur clan}
I FREAKIN' LOVE YOU MAILE!! I love being around you and I absolutely love to hear you's contagious and just the most wonderful sound!!

So much of what you said....I can relate! My missed window....."I might never have a child". I'll just have to love on everyone elses kiddos....hope to meet your soon :-))

You're birthday weekend sounded fantastic and MAD MEN!! OMG, I got hooked while sitting at home all these weeks!

I look forward to seeing you and everyone again soon!
September 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNEVA
Happy Birthday!!! I don't mind my derriere... I mean it's seen better days but still. I totally know how you feel in that I need a gut cover. I've never had hard abs but man the muffin top is annoying! Anyways, beautiful pictures! It looks like you had a good birthday! Hope 37 is spectacular!!
September 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauna
I love, love, love this post!

I turn 37 in a few months myself. In a sea of 26 year olds around me, you are a breath of fresh air!!!

Happy very belated birthday!
December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy King

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