My birthday is three days before Christmas. My husband took the day off of work and my mom said she’d help with whatever I needed so it could be my day. Even with those generous offers, I’ve had a very hard time figuring out how I’d like to spend my time. I don’t want to go shopping or out to dinner. I couldn’t even decide if I wanted a cake.
Figuring out what I wanted to do for me was challenging, I think, because I spend most of my days looking after people I love. The ubiquitous warnings about how your life changes when you have a child, how you should go to the movies or grown-up restaurants didn’t prepare me for the utter transition of self that comes with becoming a mama, especially an AP mama. For my last two birthdays, I couldn’t imagine wanting to be away from my son. The best way I could spend my birthdays was being with a person I had birthed into the world, but he just turned two and I feel differently this year.
It’s not movies and restaurants I miss. Actually, Mike and I went to see Synecdoche, New York recently while my mom watched Cavanaugh, and I go out to eat with and without my son. What I have a hard time with is not having lizard hands, since diaper changing, yogurt spills, digging in the dirt, and wiping noses necessitate at least twenty hand washings a day. I miss taking a shower without a little person yelling, “No” or “Milk.” I miss sleeping in and spending an entire Sunday afternoon reading a book.
So, when I started thinking about what I’d actually like to do on my birthday, I was sure of three things. I wanted to take a shower and for the house to be clean. And I scheduled a mani/pedi with a gift certificate I received for last year’s birthday. I just want some quiet and time with myself. I don’t want to gorge on sweets or go shopping. I want to sit in my house alone and write, read, crochet, nap, drink some hot chai, and just be still. Especially going into the holidays, I find that it’s easy to lose days to errands, decorating, purchasing presents and to get to the end of the day and feel like it was lost. Today, I want to give myself the gift of balance and of receiving some nurturing touch, of time taking care of myself since most of every day is spent nurturing a little person I love more than pink toenails or a trip to the toilet alone.
Happy birthday to me! Happy holidays to you! May we all find some balance and receive some nurturing touch.
Sonya Fehér is a writer and mama living in Austin, Texas. She blogs at mamaTRUE