It's just as well I had a nice couple of days of being spoiled, because today's birthday reality is this: the Faery - claiming to be unwell - is home from school; Miss Pie - having gone three days without pooing - unloaded a massive slop into some pull-ups that I caved in and put on her, but then leaked onto the carpet (I guess if she'd been wearing undies, it would have been a hundred times worse); it's raining, and the coldest day in about two months. By L.A. standards, it feels more wintery than spring.
Cheering me up, though, are the frequent bleeps on my computer, and notifications on my phone, from birthday messages on Facebook. On days like this, I could hug Facebook. Also, never one to waste an excuse for cake, I dragged the girls out to a bakery to choose some cupcakes for later. A proper whole cake was tempting, but with only one adult in the home at the moment, my waistline would not be thanking me.
When I turned 36 last year, I had no problems with it. 36 had a nice roundness to it - a kind of symmetry. It was the completion of yet another cycle under Chinese astrology, and the Year of the Dragon... and I dig dragons.
Last week, I watched This Is 40, and was reminded of my own approaching nearness to that number. Still a few years off, but not many. The movie itself was enjoyable, and there were definitely moments I related to and giggled at... apart from living in a nice, big fancy house, filled with many pretty, expensive things - why does Hollywood have to do that? Sure, the main characters were having major money issues, but I'd probably have sympathised more if they lived in a more modest home, their kids didn't have their own Apple-everything, and their cars had cost half of what they did. Know what I mean? But then, I've never really been one to buy into keeping up with the Joneses. That aside, the movie had heart and is worth a Saturday night viewing, with a bottle of wine and your significant other.
Something that had me scratch my head - momentarily - was how one of the main characters kept denying her age. She'd been turning 38 for the last few years. Who really does that? I wondered.
Then I remembered. My own mother... guilty. When my brother and I were in high school, my younger brother and sister were still in the early years of primary school. For those school runs, my mother interacted with parents who - I assume - didn't really know about myself or my brother... and my (young) other brother and sister were truly under the belief that my mother was still in her late twenties - not a number they magically came up with themselves. Sometimes I marvelled at the audacity of my mother to pass off such a lie (How would she explain having a 16-year-old daughter? As it was, she was a teenager when I was born).
From that point on, I vowed I would never have hang-ups about my own age as I got older. And I don't.
I'm not going to lie, though. The number 37 does sound, well, older. However, my kids know how old I am, and I'm not about to start 'covering up' my age. I'm pretty sure L.A. has enough women who do that.
And really, there's nothing wrong with 37. In some respects, it's still young. I think any negative feelings I have boil down to one thing only: baby-making. I have no desire to be chasing toddlers and preschoolers around when I'm in my forties. I have a lot of respect for women who do it at that age, but I don't think (energy-wise) that I'd be very good at it. Which means.... if we are to have a third child, we need to get cracking. Soon. I need to get off the fence about another baby, but I'm stuck. I just don't know.
So. This is what 37 looks like for me. I'm mostly content with where I am and can't complain, yet there's an invisible question mark hovering over me. But on the bright side, this is the year that I'm going to move to Seattle, and that alone is something to be excited about, right?
In the mean time, there are cupcakes, lemon tart, and cannoli to be eaten.