*This post was originally published on May 20, 2013.
Today is my birthday. It always rains on my birthday. Really. For as long as I can remember, it has rained on my birthday.
And this year my birthday falls on a Monday. Double whammy.
Except that I love spring rain. It's warm and it greens the grass and it makes the flowers grow. And I love a good thunderstorm! The flashes of lightning, the distant rumbles and the sudden booms that send little boys running into our big king-sized bed.
I really don't mind Mondays, either. I once said that I am a Monday person. Mondays are the perfect day to begin anew: new goals, reviving old ones, a time to start knocking items off a fresh "to-do" list.
Nope, rainy days and Mondays don't always get me down (and for the record, I love the Carpenters, too).
Except . . .that today is my birthday. My 43rd birthday.
Normally, I love my birthday. Sure, millions of other people have my same birthday, even some people I know, but it's still a special day. It's my day.
Even the year Joey was sick I enjoyed my birthday. Aside from the wonderful surprise party Hubby threw me for my 40th, there was the fact that Joey did not die on my birthday; which, as morbid as it sounds, was the only thing I wished for leading up to my birthday that year.
So there was that.
Admittedly, the three years since then have been really hard for me despite the gift of Baby E. For the first time in my life, I feel old and it pains me to say exactly how old.
This past weekend my family went out of town, and I got to see my sister. She gave me a lovely birthday card, and I said to her, "Half of my life is over."
She and her husband laughed (What else could they do? They are older than me!). "Don't look at it that way," they both responded.
It's true. I can't look at it that way. But it's hard not to. I'm tired and achy. I have a mom body. I am so not up on the latest lingo and trends. Okay, so I never have been, but that's not the point.
The point is that 43 sounds old.
But here's the thing: honestly, it's just a number. It is simply the number of years I have been alive. That's it.
Age is just a number - I've always believed that. It doesn't define a person.
What defines a person is that person's experiences and attitudes, the things that have happened to her and the things she has made happen. What defines her is the love she has given and received and the words and the actions she uses.
Sometimes I still feel like a young girl. When I am playing in the backyard pushing my boys on the swings, I feel compelled to jump on a swing to see if I can swing high enough to touch the bottom leaves of the tree.
Sometimes I feel like I am 28 again when I dress up and Hubby tells me I look hot. He reminds me that after having five children and suffering grief, I still look amazing to him. I'll take that compliment.
Sometimes I feel like my younger years were too easy on me even though I made them too hard on myself. But I wouldn't have it any other way because they have shaped who I am. They taught me who I want to be.
With each passing year, I learn more and more about myself. I learn how strong I can be. I learn about resiliency and courage. I learn to be independent, and I learn how important family is. I learn that true friends are made, not found, and I see life for the way it is, not the way I want it to be.
I realize that the unobvious beauty in life is the hardest to see, and that there was once good in every human being and can be again.
I want to remain young in thought because a young mind is what keeps a person young at heart and soul and body.
I've got a lot more living to do - over half my life!
Today is my birthday, and I'm celebrating me.
It's Monday, and it will most likely rain.
But I'm not letting that get me down.