The Edge of 37

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Well, here we are in my birth month, ending my 37th year. 38 isn’t really a milestone birthday per se, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I am leaving behind.

I had six and a half childbearing years. I was pregnant with my big boys at age 28 and gave birth to my last baby a few months before my 35th birthday. My goal was to not have children past 35, and really having one more was a big (pleasant) surprise.

Getting the IUD that would end my baby-having (it’s removal will be at the very end of my 40’s) was both a huge deal and completely uneventful. The decision felt big and yet once it was all said and done it felt a bit anticlimactic.

There was a finality with the birth of G that I didn’t necessarily feel with his brothers. I did think for a long time that I was through with having kids, that “getting it over with” in one shot–two for the price of one–was the way to go, but it was such a gift to be able to have one more. To experience pregnancy and parenting with someone whose worldview and life goals meshed with mine.

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I loved being pregnant (as much as you can love Texas summer pregnancies) I loved the sweet infant phase. I love watching my boys get bigger and grow and change and become more of who they are. It’s surreal to think I have three babies. It’s surreal to realize I haven’t been a carefree single lady in a really long time.

The biggest thing to get used to about growing up and being a parent is just the loss of freedom and spontaneity. My life is not set up to hop on a plane or spend a bunch of money on things that have nothing to do with kids or food or necessities. I didn’t realize how much autonomy I had in my twenties. I read over my journals and marvel at how small and manageable my stresses were. I only had myself to care for. It felt huge and confusing then, but I had no idea how different things would be in the decade to come.

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I wonder what the next phase of my life will be like. I look at my boys and I wish desperately to slow things down, to hold on to life with small children as long as I can. I am acutely aware of how time flies. I can feel their childhoods slipping through my fingers.

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One day they will be gone from my home. No more making lunches. No more rides to school. No more tiny voices filling my house. No more little boy giggles and squeals and snuggles.

I dread the day when my littles don’t snuggle in my lap or cover my face in kisses. I think back to all the freedom I didn’t appreciate and I miss that time…but mostly I am sad that I didn’t fully understand how much I should savor it. I am fully aware now and trying to be present and thankful and enjoy this experience–I know that none of this is forever. Each stage of life brings different challenges and joys and stresses and pleasures.

As I get closer to the next decade of my life I think fondly of the ones that have passed. I look forward to a time of travel and exploration with my kids and with my partner. I look forward to sharing the joys of my children’s accomplishments and milestones. I embrace 38 and welcome this new year.

I have no regrets.

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