The kids made this sign 2 weeks ago and then asked me to hide it for them until my actual birthday. Pretty sneaky, guys.
It’s kind of a big one, I tell the kids, this turning 40.
Like when I turned 5, Rosie says knowingly.
Exactly, I tell her.
But why is it so big, Col wants to know. It’s because of the decades, I tell them. This is a new word for them. It means ten years – it’s like counting by dimes. You’re 4 dimes old! Col shrieks. Okay, that sounds more digestible.
Now that I’m forty, I can finally pose with my gardening gloves.
I don’t know how it is that turning 40 is both a crazy big deal and also just another day. I mean if I’m lucky, it’s just another day, like today where the kids slept PAST 6:30 and I crept out of bed and made the quietest cup of coffee. Ten minutes later I hear someone squeak awake and find Rose on the toilet in her pink “sophisticat” shirt, bewildered, blinking at the light. I throw my arms around her olive-skinned softness and kiss her eyelids, grateful to see her in a way that surprises me. I’m peeing, Mama, she tells me. That’s okay, honey.
I carry Rose into the living room and kiss her a hundred more times. Col rises and lunges for us on the couch, missile-like, all bones and hard-edges. The kids argue over who’s getting the most mama-space and I realize that even at 5 and 7, they need to be tucked in the envelope of my limbs regularly. Especially first thing in the morning.
Outside, the chickens screech brrrraaaaaaacck, and hundreds of edible plants are roused by the sun. The lettuce is spellbindingly lovely. The slugs eat my cucumber seedlings, and everyday we feed at least 20 of them to the chickens, whose eggs we eat, so it all sort of evens out. My husband is mixing up batter for waffles, this husband who’s known me almost 17 years, who loves me so well it sometimes makes me cry.
Sushi tonight, and then we’re spending the weekend here, with dear ones.
What more could I want?