Birthdays are annual milestones by which we measure our life’s progress. We dread them, we embrace them, we celebrate them, and sometimes we try to bribe the office admin to not send out a reminder email to the entire office that it is our birthday that week.
My personal favorite was my 25th birthday when me and my friend who had both turned 25 locked ourselves in her apartment, drank several bottles of red wine, and lamented how old we felt. Simply tragic at the time. Giggle-worthy every time I think of it now. Because truly I don’t have any issues with birthdays anymore. Well, at least my own that is.
The strange things about being a parent is that though I find myself at ease about my own birthday I now find myself slightly anxious over my children’s big day. And I’m not talking about the drama of picking Chuck E. Cheese’s over Pump It Up. I’m talking about anxiety inducing time marker that is your child’s fifth, sixth, seventh, etc. birthday. So when my son. Jack, turned seven this week it became a chance for me to obsess about all my shortcomings as a mother: have I missed too many soccer games, am I too hard on him, do I go to easy on him, is he socially well-adjusted, will he become an ax murderer?
Then – and this could be my own insanity because I am a numbers girl – I start freaking myself out playing the math game: if I double his age he’ll be fourteen and almost ready to leave me forever. Time is running out and I feel like I just gave birth to him yesterday. Seven years passed me by in the wink of an eye. If time continues to pass at this alarming rate he’ll be moving out in the equivalent of a nanosecond. He’ll be gone and I’ll barely have had any time to pass along to him all he needs to know to survive in the world. He’ll be eaten alive out there and it will be all my fault.
And just when my insanity threatened to spiral out of control, my friend Dara stepped in with a perspective only your best girlfriends can give you. At my son’s birthday celebration, Dara presented me with a card containing the wisest words a mom will ever hear: Good job not fucking up these past 7 years. And she’s right. I haven’t been the worst mother ever. And my son is awesome – at least in part because of me.