Now I am 8. And grateful.

I turned eight yesterday.  A few years ago, my sweet children, sensitive to the trauma I felt over the aging process hit upon the idea of combining the 2 digits of my upcoming birthday to make the number significantly more palatable. 3+5=8.  Which by the way, happens to be my lucky number.

35 sounds pretty grown up, let's be real. Holy cow. How did that happen?? No really. How? I am in my mid-thirties. There's no denying that is grown up. My 30's have flown by. I have found them fulfilling so far.  They have been blessed. I am blessed.
I don't typically feel a great sense of gratitude around this time of year. I often feel especially embittered, ungrateful and hard-done-by around my birthday.  First there is the weather. It is almost always especially foul in the first week of February. Then there is the selfishness. A day focused on me is not typically a good idea. It makes me cranky with unfulfilled expectations, maybe, too focused on where I thought I should/could/would be at this stage of my life...I don't know. In short it often makes me act like a spoiled brat.
But this year was wonderful. Although all the parts were in place for it to be my bratty birthday business as usual:  The weather was indeed dreadful. For once the weather people understated the weather and we found ourselves to our great surprise, in near white-out blizzard conditions white-knuckling it on the highway on the way to my baby-shower on Saturday. 
For another, it was  particularly "all about me" weekend. It started with a birthday dinner out on Friday night (we also celebrated Amy, whose birthday is coming up this week, a promotion for Aaron-hooray for my smart, hard-working Aaron,  and other happy recent events).
On Saturday I had my annual day at the fancy hair salon.  The one where I get the expensive cut and highlights.  This is momentous for me since I spend the rest of the year in a close relationship with a box of root touch-up from Rite Aid.   It's a big day.
Here I am trying to rock the Brigitte Bardot-esque bump they gave me.  Sure I look ridiculous but I find the wannabe-sexy pout helps to simulate my lost cheek-bones and that is what counts…sigh…they’ll come back..right? Right?
And then there was aforementioned baby-shower. Which was almost snowed out.  Indeed at least two faithful friends were stranded on their way over, (ack!!!) some prudently did not even attempt the crazy roads, but several others managed to make it safely and our baby girl was spoiled beyond all comprehension.  (Thank you Amy, Erianne, Claire and Tiffany for all your work in organizing such a lovely celebration)
Here’s my baby! Isn’t she cute?? Oh sorry, that’s the practice baby lying on top of my baby who was super jealous and tried to kick her off. I am hoping my baby is  even a little bit as cute as this one and the others who came to my shower. It was a cute baby festival.
Here’s sweet Gracie practising, this makes me so excited..
Speaking of spoiled beyond all comprehension....
Last night, the whole country held a party in my honour, right Dawn? ;)  Even church was abbreviated in recognition of my big day. Ok fine, it was because of the snow...whatever.  The spirit at church was wonderful, and getting to go home early was wonderful too. I'm not going to lie.
Yesterday, Aaron presented me with a delicious breakfast (and a special South African dinner!), my sweet children showered me with me with beautiful, creative gifts. I  held court on the couch as my family cleaned and tidied around me (no greater treat for a pregnant woman). I practiced spelling words with Gabe, I marveled at the artistry of Gracie's creations, I joked with Benjamin who allowed me to cuddle him, showed me after he morphed my face, that it isn’t really all that fat in it’s original form (well it is, but it could be worse-it’s all in perspective), and whose funniest quip recently was to ask me how long I planned to "milk this pregnancy bit?" I love the dry sense of humor he is developing. He reminds me of my brother Luke who can insult me and make me laugh at the same time.
I laughed at my crazy baby all hopped up on fine chocolate shimmying inside my belly. Her gift to me was to swim downstream for the day so that I would have more room for gluttony with less heartburn.  What a doll. (Today we are back to reality and she is once again sitting up high enough in my torso/throat to be at risk of premature birth should I dare to burp).
I had fabulous friends visit (including dear generous Jill who was unable to get to the shower but made up for it by giving me another one in my living room),  my fantastic family calling from from all sorts of time-zones, a delightful skype session with my brother's deliciously fat baby, and so many sweet and touching messages via email and facebook (I was brought to teariness on more than one occasion-thank you!).  At the end of a happy evening with friends (during which the Black Eyed Peas sang about what a good night it was going to be for me) I blew out 8 candles on an amazingly delicious chocolate cake-thank you again Aaron.

Then I lay in my wonderful big tub and kept adding more hot water as I watched mindless TV,  soaping up my enormous belly with deliciously scented luscious handmade "birthday soap" (thank you sweet Karrie).
At the end of the day, I dug out my bed which was almost completely buried in sweet new baby girl clothes, and teeny tiny baby-scented diapers and had the best night of sleep I have had in a while. 

I would say that was a good weekend.  Wouldn’t you? And even though it was so very all about me, I managed to get through it without getting too introspective, petulant and freaked out about my advanced maternal age (I am now officially considered “old” to be having a child according to the medical world. Considering I started when I was 22 and had all the others well before I turned 30, this is a whole new experience for me). 
Today we are back to life and reality (apart from birthday cake for breakfast-which baby-residing-in-throat is making sure I regret,) but I am left with a great sense of gratitude for what 35 years on this planet has given me. I am healthy, I have an indescribably good, kind, loving and funny husband. I have four healthy, beautiful, kind children who I have been blessed and fascinated to watch grow and develop into amazing people over the course of the last decade, and another to look forward to meeting very soon.  I have a kind, caring, wonderful extended family who are cool enough to make me wish I lived much, much closer to them.  Warm, loving supportive and generous friends.  A safe, secure and cozy place to live. 
I know that there is a plan for my life, that God knows and cares for me.  I feel a sense of meaning and purpose in what I am doing.

My life is not perfect by any means. I sincerely hope that it does not come across that way, because that would not be accurate. There have been some very dark periods in the journey and significant trials to endure, and there will no doubt be many more. I whine and complain about something(s) every day. I do not live in a mansion, I am not famous. What I have achieved in the last 35 years is in no way remarkable or great by the standards of the world.

But at 35 and 1 day, my life is great by my standards.  I am indeed blessed.   When all is said and done at the end of the day, on most days, I am content. And at age 8 or 35, one really cannot hope for more than that. 
PS:Thank you for being a part of what makes it great.
PPS: So many more great photos of this weekend to add to this but alas I am too exhausted tonight. Check back later….maybe:)

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Pam said...

Haha!! Love it. I don't think I'll ever grow up.

Kasey said...

Happy Birthday! Baby showers are so fun! Those pretzels are cool!!

Jenny said...

Happy Birthday, Kirsty!!

Samantha said...

I'm glad there were no horror stories for your birthday this year--all major appliances continued to function, etc.

Who wants to be famous anyway? A bigger place would sure be nice though (especially if it came with a cleaner)...

How wonderful that you had a good weekend, Kirsty!

Anonymous said...

What a delightful post! Now that you are all grown up you have broken the curse and have had a wonderful day! So happy is was great. And I think you look stunning, new hair and all. Happy happy baby girl!

2busy said...

What a perfectly lovely, endearing post. I loved it! So heartfelt! It must be all those pregnancy hormones. When are you due?

Happy belated birthday! I wish I was eight again or even 35 would do...

Johnny and Betsye Park said...

Kirsty - you look GREAT!! Very beautiful and not a day over 29! :) xoxoxo

Julia said...

Happy Birthday! You make me feel old since my oldest daughter is also 35! I guess if I add my 5+8 together, 13 doesn't sound so bad, but really? 13 wasn't that great when I was in it so I don't really want to repeat it.

Thalia Randall said...

GIVE ME !!! One of those baby pretzels!!!