Turning twenty-eight feels a lot like growing a baby.
I know, I know, it seems like a really obvious analogy given my current physical state, but the more I think about it, the more apt the comparison feels. Let me explain.
It doesn't seem as strange to turn twenty-eight as I thought it might. I think at least part of the reason is because my twenty-seventh birthday feels so long ago.
There are no tears the day before my twenty-eighth birthday. Happiness and contentment fill my heart the way this growing boy fills my belly--heavy and swollen and slow. Our circumstances on the eve of my twenty-eight are not perfect. Maybe it's obvious, but the older I get, the more I think that no one is exactly where they'd like to be and maybe that's the point. Maybe that's the whole point.
I spent a lot of my rough twenty-six searching for the whys and how comes and hurry-up-and-let-me-learn-this-lesson-so-it-can-be-OVER-alreadys and, oh yeah, crying. Don't get me wrong, the search was good. I am stronger because of twenty-six. Twenty-six gave my personal belief system a lining of steel to protect the soft, warm feelings I'd been nurturing over the first quarter century of my faith building. Twenty-six was a good start. I'd do twenty-six over again.
Here is what the twenty-seven year old me thinks, though, at least on the eve of twenty-eight. (I reserve the right to re-evaluate this position whenever I want, of course. I hardly think I have it all figured out before I even hit three decades old.) I think that maybe the whys don't matter all that much. The point is in the process, tthe walking, the hurting, the growing, (even the crying, which makes me feel only slightly less silly for all the carrying on) and the end result. Everyone is going to have some sort of rock in their hiking boot and it doesn't much matter the size or shape of it or how different their trail is from mine, the point is that everyone makes it to the top.
This time around, this year, the challenges and frustrations feel necessary, even purposeful. There are bumps in our family's road, but the road is headed somewhere, and that feels great.
This baby is lower and heavier than I remember feeling with Floyd. By the end of the day, my pelvis and hips are sore and stiff from the effort of hefting the weight of my growing body. Twenty-eight feels like these sore hips--a bit awkward and cumbersome, but worth the effort for the end result. There is heartburn, but not the sort of agonizing fire as last year. This year, I can feel the flickerings of the child in my belly and it helps me push through a bit of burning in my chest. (Plus, let's be honest. Prilosec = fantastic.)
Baby growing is a series of contradictions. It is nausaea and it is also hunger, for one thing. It takes for-ev-er; I cannot believe how fast it has gone. It is painful and joyful. It is hard and worth it and happiness and tears and worry and faith all rolled into one giant growing belly.
And that's a little like turning twenty-eight tomorrow.
I don't have big plans for my first day of twenty-eight. I don't have to work this year, and the Schmoopsie and I have a date night planned for the next evening. I think I'll spend the morning watching a pair of two-year-olds toddle around my living room, and then maybe I'll take a nap in the afternoon.
There is one thing I know for sure: on my first day of twenty-eight, I'll be wearing my pearls.