I'm middle aged. Or maybe I'm just on the cusp of it. Like the beginning of a roller coaster as it scales up and up, right before it starts taking the plunge to god knows where. That's where I am, I think. I'm 30, I got pasty white legs, varicose veins, stretch marks and a cubby middle. My body has been through it in the last 3 years and I'm starting to feel it.
I've birthed 2 beauties, who I swear, aged me 5 years each pregnancy, so technically, I'm forty. My BMI would annoyingly agree to that. When I haven't been pregnant, I've been breastfeeding. I am forever carrying a baby, two large jugs that won't fit gracefully in a normal shirt (or bra for that matter!). Just when I think I have a moment without motherhood, you know like a date night: Oh no, I'm attached to a pump and I better have every single of the 194 parts that go along with that thing. Not to mention cleaned and sterilized, or I'm paying mad hell for it!! My oldest is arguing with me in a non-english language, right now as I type. Probably because I'm taking a little ME break, and that's just too much time for momma to spend for herself.
As many of you know, a couple of months after I welcomed my second daughter, I was diagnosed with a diseased (Hashimotos) and cancerous thyroid. I think that was the month, I became an adult. Like a full-fledged one. Not that I had trouble growing up, although I did carry naiveté and carelessness around longer than most. I just faced down my life that month with tired everything and knew nothing was forever and every moment was fleeting.
I came home from the doctor that day and just hugged my babies. Luckily for me, thyroid cancer is mostly just a nuisance. But after a day of crying and telling my close friends my health issues, I felt a calm peace. Life was a good one and I needed this bump in the road, as crazy as that sounds. A reality check I learned a lot from. I learned white, pasty legs aren't so bad as long as they have strength to carry my babies. I learned varicose veins like stretch marks are a reminder that I survived 50lb pregnancies and came out with enough love that even beauty doesn't match the sacrificial joy that I have as a mother. I can almost forget what I looked like 5 years ago when I could sleep in, work out and take a nap all in a hard day's work.
Motherhood, with all her challenges, has surprised me with something: More grace!! And more grace is always a good thing. It's the margarita at the end of the day (although I'm on a diet) when I've had a gassy baby and a fussy toddler finally in bed. It's the shrug of my shoulders when dishes are piled high but I'm sitting and playing with my baby. I know I'll wake up tomorrow and she be asking me to turn Toons on for her. It's when I've gotten on a scale after surgery and gained 3lbs despite eating the healthiest I could possibly eat. No worries I'll be the healthiest cubby girl, you know!
Some of the hats my Grace wears are silly but since I'm middle aged, who do I have to impress? A few more heads that would've turned 5 years ago? Those chicks who have perfect bodies on instagram? Good for themmmm!! I toast to them while I obnoxiously drink my frozen pina colada, full of sugar! There was a time in my life where I would almost punish myself for such indulgences, but Grace is something I've discovered, it's like the best kept secret for happiness for us almost middle-aged folks, who's time in the sun has expired to a afternoon nap.
So here, let's raise a glass to those 20 somethings and the 30 somethings who still want to be 20 somethings and remind them of one thing: Hey, you are perfectly not perfect and that little bit of space between you and what you think is perfection is the very spot Grace wants to make a home in. Don't fight her, let her be.