There is grey, there are wrinkles, there are regrets, there is endless laughter and constant chaos, there is lots of singing and silly dancing, and ridiculous amounts of chai. You’re welcome Starbucks. My kids will be just fine with junior college. Six surgeries, all of them non-cosmetic. If you’ve seen me, there’s no doubt. There are hurt feelings I wish would go away. There’s a greater ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. There are more shoes, and bigger shoes post pregnancy. Size eleven, really?
There’s a partnership that began when an uninvited guest crashed my birthday party twelve years ago, and survives and thrives because of a deep commitment and a few broken dishes. And those kids. Those amazing, infuriating, priceless souls. Unconditional love like I never imagined. I’m still not good at cooking or math, but I pretend to be good at one of them for their sake. It’s not cooking. I used to think French toast came from a box. I’m wearing my hair curly more often than straight–that’s for them as well. I look back on a long, fulfilling career with pride and wonder what’s next. What if I don’t find work again? I don’t think I’m a stay-at-home mom.
Beautiful gardens make my heart sing, so does the first rain. It usually rains on my birthday. I’ve lived through grief that hollowed me to the core and found joy that filled me up and left me weightless. I can parallel park better than anyone I know, and I don’t know anyone else who has had a manhole cover explode underneath their car, had their ribs broken in the back of a van, or talked a cop out of letting them out of handcuffs just long enough to run away during all the craziness. So much craziness. Don’t tell my kids. I’m inspired every single day by genuine people whose hearts are filled with kindness. I dream about adopting a child in need. I’m tired all the time, so damn tired, but I wake up most mornings filled with the hope of doing something great. I fear I won’t do anything great.
I’m staring down midlife and wonder when I’ll feel grown-up. I know more than I did at twenty-eight, and in many ways I know less. Much less. My beliefs have changed, evolved, regressed. They’re malleable like me, and I like that because the only thing I’m certain about is that life keeps going, and the only way I know how to keep up is to just keep going too–changing, adapting, and hopefully always growing.
This is me, Audra.