This week is my birthday.
I will be 27 years old.
Almost 30 as my best friend keeps jokingly reminding me.
I’ve always loved birthdays. I used to celebrate for the whole entire month. This year though, the thought of my birthday can bring me to tears.
I find myself wondering, where has all of the time gone?
When I got divorced, at 22, I was just a kid.
I remember thinking, I have all the time in the world.
I don’t need a man, anyway.
I can do it all by myself.
I didn’t believe it when I started saying it, but I just kept telling myself it was true.
I said it so many times that, finally, it was.
I was a college drop out with no idea what I was going to do.
I waited tables during the day and cleaned office buildings at night.
I learned how to be a special needs mom somewhere in between.
I built a career.
I became an advocate.
I found my fight.
I proved to myself that I could do it all on my own.
As a twenty-something, choosing to stay single is fun.
It is empowering.
It is freeing.
As I quickly approach 30 years old, it suddenly feels different.
It feels lonely.
The truth is, it was never really a choice.
It was more of an understanding of the reality of my life.
I don’t have time to grow old with someone.
I am a special needs mama.
My days are full of therapies, IEPs, phone calls, doctor’s appointments, meetings, research, fighting, the list goes on.
My nights are full of worry and wonder.
And this won’t just be my life for a while.
I will be my baby’s caretaker forever.
I won’t stop momming at 18.
I will still be driving to therapy, making the appointments, and doing the fighting long into adulthood.
There will be no empty nest.
There will be no retirement.
There will just be me and my boy – and that is okay.
I am ready for forever, but I know that it is not exactly ideal for most people.
It is not exactly a life that many men would sign up for.
I don’t say that with bitterness or anger.
People tell me that I am wrong. That I’ll never know if I don’t try.
But my boy’s life – that is not an experiment.
He can’t have someone walk in his life and then change their mind.
It’s not a risk that I will take.
Our life is a lot.
It is hard, scary, stressful, beautiful, blessed, messy, chaotic, happy, and full of love.
The good out weights the bad, any day.
But any way you look at it, it’s still a lot.
Lately I realize that I didn’t just give up on love or marriage.
I gave up on all the things that I thought came with it.
I gave up on buying a house.
I gave up on having more babies.
I gave up on the white picket fence.
I gave up on all of the things that I didn’t think you were supposed to do alone.
The truth is that alone does not have to mean lonely.
Single doesn’t have to mean giving up.
Maybe, one day, someone will walk into my life and prove me wrong.
Or maybe they won’t.
Either way – this year, for my birthday, I will stop waiting.
I will buy the house.
I will adopt the babies.
I will build my own damn picket fence.
I am the luckiest girl in the world because I get to be mama to the greatest kiddo in the whole world.
I get twice the love, twice the kisses, and twice the hugs.
I will have a life full of adventure and fun and more love than I could ever ask for.
And that makes this a pretty good birthday, after all.