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The Story

I’ve told the story at least 100 times. I’m sure if you recorded me telling the story 10 times, I tell it using the exact same words with 98% accuracy. There are most likely errors in the story but the story has been told the same way for so long, the truth is long forgotten. Years from now, my children will tell their children this story. When you have twins, the “when did you find out it was twins?” question becomes as common as the “how did you meet?” question when talking to married couples. This is my story.

It was a Monday morning in late August and I had just found out I was pregnant a few weeks earlier. I was eight weeks pregnant and it was the day of my 8-week check-up.  The day before I had had an issue that concerned me and spent the day googling the symptoms (never good) to see if I was having a miscarriage. While my internet findings gave me results that said I could be experiencing anything from a miscarriage to a multiple pregnancy to a normal pregnancy most of what I read said that it was completely normal. I thought it was best to bring it up with the doctor anyway. She agreed that it was probably nothing but prescribed an ultrasound just for “peace of mind.”

My husband had accompanied me to the first appointment, but it was his first day of fall classes for seminary and since we were pretty confident that everything was okay I gave him my blessing to go to class as to not miss his first day. The last thing he said before he left was:

“Call me if it’s good news, call me if it’s bad news, just don’t call me if it’s twins.”

I called my mom to come with me, more to watch my son in the waiting room, but also to be there if something was wrong and I needed emotional support.

While the technician was doing the ultrasound, she was mostly quiet which made me a little nervous.  It seemed to be taking longer than it needed to. After a bit, the technician turned her screen toward me and showed me a picture and said:

“Do you know what this is a picture of?”

I had not had an 8-week ultrasound with my firstborn. The only reason I had even a remote guess at what she was showing me was because my friend had just told me she was pregnant and had shown me her 8-week “black bean” ultrasound picture. I sat up to get a better view of the two black beans that were on the screen in front of me. Hesitant to answer, I looked at the technician and then back at the screen.

“Is it, are there two of them?”

“Yes, and I saw heartbeats for both. So it looks like you have two babies in there!”

The technician went back to the waiting room to get my mom so I could share the good news. Coming back to see what she thought would be pictures of just one baby, imagine her surprise when I explained what the two black beans meant. We asked the technician a few more questions and then headed out to the car.

At this point, the appointment had taken much longer than expected. I looked at my phone and realized I has missed a call from my husband. I quickly called him back.

“Well she said she saw a heartbeat.”

“That’s great.”

“And then she saw another one.”

I could tell he was confused and then remembering his last words to me, I added,

“Sorry, I didn’t call you but you told me not to call.”

“Wait, what?”

“Twins! We are having twins!”

The rest gets kind of blurry. Family members were called. Friends were notified.  The events of the day were quickly becoming the events of the story that would be told and retold again and again.

I share this story today because my twins, the ones that were born over a month ago were originally due today.

April Fool’s Day.

And if you know them you’ll agree that this was a fitting due date for them. Because their main goal in life is to make others smile. Whether it’s trying to tell funny jokes (that are never really that funny) or singing silly songs, these two kids know how to bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

They came a little early, but they are still jokesters at heart.

Happy 4th Birthday!

A Very Special Letter to Two Very Special 4 Year Olds.

Today is your birthday. You are both four. You can discuss it all you want, but you are both equally four. Technically, your birth certificates might read you were born a minute a part but I was there and I promise you, you entered the world within seconds of each other. One of you might be taller today but trust me son, when puberty hits, that might change for a few years. I wouldn’t get too comfortable being the tall one, she’s close behind you and eats way more fruits and vegetables than you.

Today you are four and that is special. It is special because you have another person to celebrate the exact same milestone with. The two of you have a bond that no one else will ever have with you. I know I tell you this all the time, but I don’t think you’ll truly realize this until much later in life. The miracle that took place to create two babies instead of one is something special that most of us don’t have. Most of us didn’t have a friend with us when we were in our Mommy’s tummy. You did. You were literally created with a friend right next to you. I know you don’t always think of each other as friends and you threaten to not be brother and sister anymore, but fortunately that is something you will never be able to change. You will always be brother and sister. You are special together.

But you are also special because of who you are when you are alone. Yes, you are a twin and that is special, but you more than just a twin sibling. And so, because your older brother gets his very own birthday post on his birthday, here are your very own birthday posts.

To my Sweet 4-year-old Son,

Wow. To say this has been quite a year is putting it mildly, isn’t it? I’m not sure when it started but I’m pretty sure you hit the ground running when you turned three and you haven’t slowed down yet. In one year you have done three years worth of activities. I often tell people the world moves too slowly for you. Some might say you are a bull in a china shop, but I prefer to say that the world was built too small for you. That’s why you love to be outside. When you are outside you are free. You can spread your arms wide and run and soar like an eagle. You would be outside everyday if you could. It is only because I refuse to stand outside in 30 degree weather that we aren’t out there in the winter. The cold doesn’t seem to bother you though, you are moving too fast to notice the chill. My favorite memory of you this summer was you riding your bike. It was a bike that was too small for you. You had outgrown this bike and yet you loved to ride it. You were so proud to show me how you could pedal up the driveway and glide all the way down again and up the neighbor’s driveway. I think you liked riding your bike because on the bike you are finally going a speed that is normal to you. While others might look at you and think you are going fast, to you it’s just normal. I will cherish the image of you riding that bike down the driveway in my mind.

To my 4-year-old Princess,

Today you are four. You have waited for this day for weeks and it is finally here. It’s very special to be you. At three you have come out of your shell. I used to worry that you would get lost next to your two extraverted brothers but this year you have shown the world there is nothing to worry about. It has been such a joy to get to know your personality. You are spunky and sweet at the same time. One moment you can be insisting on brushing your hair yourself and the next minute you are sitting in my lap asking me to read you a book. It must be tough being three. You are capable of so many things but still dependent on so many other things. The good news is when you are four, things will get a little easier. You’ll learn to do more things which means you will be dependent on me for even less. This will be exciting to you, but a little sad for me. It’s a tough balance for us mothers and daughters. As you strive for independence I will want to hold you tight and keep you small forever. It’s not that I don’t trust you can do it on your own; I’m sure that you can. It’s just in my mind you are still the little baby in the NICU born 5 weeks early. You’re the sweet little baby who used to love to be held for hours. It’s hard to change that mental picture. That’s why I cherish your hugs so much. They take me back every time. Promise me that you will still come to me 50 times a day and say “I Love You” like you do now. If you promise to keep doing that, I promise to keep telling you the story about how lucky I am that God gave me you.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday to my Son

To My Big Six Year Old,

Today you are six. Six is big. Last year, when you turned five, I thought five was big, but I was wrong. Five was the end of an era. Five was the end of being able to tell people your age while using just one hand. Five was graduation from preschool. Five was starting Kindergarten. Five was learning to write your address and phone number. Five was big, but six is bigger.

Six will probably be the year when you master tying your shoes. (I know you think you know how to do this already, but it doesn’t count if it comes untied two minutes after you tie it. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.) Six will be the year when you learn to ride a bike with no training wheels. You’ll probably lose your first tooth when you are six. There is a lot to look forward to when you are six. But I don’t have to tell you that, you’ve known that for months. You’ve anticipated this birthday since your friend turned six in May.

It has been a fun year to be your mom. You are at an age when every new thing excites you. May you always embrace new things with the same level of excitement as you do today. You are a friend to everyone. May you never lose your ability to find something good in everyone you meet. You want to play every sport you learn about. May you continue such a lifestyle into your adulthood; you’ll never regret staying active.

Thank you for our conversations. Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams for your life. Thank you for telling me about walking on the balance beam in gym class. Thank you for telling me who sits at what table in your class. Thank you for telling me how you got in trouble for talking even though there was no way I’d ever find out that it happened. I am very aware that the day will come when I can no longer take you out to Panera and expect a full report of everything going on in your world. I hope the radio silence between us won’t last for long. I pray that you’ll always be able to come to me to unload your thoughts. I promise to try to just listen and only give my opinion if you ask for it.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Today you are six. You are officially closer to age ten than you are to being a newborn. Anyone who has had a conversation with you lately would not be surprised by such a statement. You are wise beyond your years. At least according to your mother.

Because in my eyes you are still the little infant I held in my arms six years ago while watching the Super Bowl in the maternity ward. You are still the little baby who could sit and stack cups for hours, laughing every time you knocked them down. You are still the toddler so eager to help his mommy care for two little babies just home from the hospital. You are still the preschooler who can barely write his name. You are the brave kindergartener walking into school on the first day with two skinned knees but no tears. You will always be those memories to me.

Thank you for making it so awesome to be your mom. I love you.

Love Always,

Mom

He Wore My Gloves

A few mornings ago, my son wore my gloves. It’s not that he doesn’t have his own gloves. He does. It’s just that he only has one pair and he needed them for school, which we were leaving for in less than an hour and I didn’t want him playing in the snow with his school gloves because then his school gloves would be wet. He only has one pair of gloves and even those are his third pair this winter. I didn’t realize that it’s nothing short of a miracle for kindergarten boys to hold onto a pair of gloves for more than a week. Apparently, gloves are very difficult to keep track of when you are busy learning how to read and write and such things. This is why he had to wear my gloves that morning when he played in the snow.

They were big on him, of course, but not that big. It wasn’t like putting my gloves on the hand of a newborn baby. My gloves were not completely useless on him. Sure, the fingers were about an inch and half too long but the gloves were functional. He was able to move the fingers and was no more disadvantaged in my adult gloves than he would have been in his kid-sized gloves.

I watched his face light up as he realized he was able to wear his mother’s gloves. I was all too aware of the other reality I was facing: as he continues to get bigger I will become smaller to him. The shadow that I cast will not always be so long. My footprints will not always be so far apart.

As he grows, my larger-than-life status will fade. He will discover that the monsters I scared from his closet never actually existed. He will discover that the person behind the curtain is actually just a semi-clueless woman trying her best to raise three kids.

I imagine it must be a weird feeling: when your child grows larger than you. When it’s his shoes that can’t be filled, his head that surpasses your own. Even more odd must be when your child’s dreams move beyond your dreams. How odd to watch your child, the same child who used to eat sand and lick dirt, graduate with a degree in biochemistry. It must seem like he’s only pretending, like he’s got your gloves on again.

Only this time, the gloves are his. And they aren’t too big. They fit him just right.

The post I didn’t want to write.

I didn’t want to write this post. For weeks, I told myself that I didn’t need to write it. But I’ve been blogging for over a year now and what I’ve found is when I blog about something, I can make sense of things and find the silver-lining in a situation. So it’s time. It’s time to write about something I haven’t wanted to write about for quite sometime. I’m going to warn you, it’s not about committing to a hairdresser or catching worms. Today’s post has a bit of a different tone. I hope that you’ll hang on until the end. The purpose of this post is not to bum you out. It’s not to throw a pity party for Susan. It’s a way for me to sort my thoughts and heal.

My son loves my husband more than he loves me. I know this because he lacks the developmental skills to know that he’s not supposed to have a favorite parent. Instead he tells me that he loves Daddy more than me on a regular basis. I realize that he’s three and three year-olds say things they don’t mean all the time. Except that they are also brutally honest. They don’t sugar-coat things to spare someone’s feelings. That’s why I try to be strong when I enter my son’s room to read him his bedtime story and he exclaims “No, I want Daddy to read to me.”

In some ways his words are the easiest expressions to deal with. Of course he’s going to say he likes my husband better than me. My husband is the fun parent. He has all the patience. He sneaks them candy when I’m not looking. I’d like him better than me too.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s one thing to say he loves his dad more, but deep down he doesn’t mean it. There are other ways to express love. He loves him more in those ways too. When my son falls and skins his knees, it’s my husband’s kiss that will make it all better. When he wakes in the middle of the night with a bad dream, he cries out for his daddy. When he had his tonsils out, awoke from anesthesia, was groggy and needed a parent to hold him for two hours before he could be released, it was my husband who got to hold and comfort him in the comfy chair. Meanwhile, I sat in the uncomfortable chair usually reserved for dads and watched as child after child came out of surgery crying for his mom. How does it feel to be the second place parent? Sit in the cold, hard “dad chair” for two hours and you’ve got a pretty good idea what I go through on a daily basis.

It’s not that he doesn’t like me. It’s not that he doesn’t hug me. It’s just that I’m not his preference. And being the open and honest kid that he is, he’s very upfront about this. If you’ve ever spent time with a three year old, you know that they are particular. Good luck trying to get one to eat a graham cracker that has the tiniest broken corner. My son is the same way when it comes to my zipping his coat. When he’s in one of his “my way or no way” moods, daddy is the only approved helper.

Quite possibly the only thing worse than being turned down for my husband when he’s around is being turned down for my husband when he’s NOT around. There are nights when my son will sit in his bed crying for his dad and there is no act of comfort I can give him that will calm him down. A hug from me will not do. A kiss from me will not do. No cuddles. No tickles. I am simply not his dad.

Second place sucks.

It shouldn’t suck. I should be happy for my husband. I should be happy that a little boy can love his dad so much. Many children aren’t close with their dads, how fortunate that my son has such a close bond with his. How lucky am I that I have such an amazing husband that built such a bond with my son. I could got on. There are many reasons why I should be happy about this situation.

But the truth is, it sucks.

It sucks because when my son falls off his bike and starts to cry I want to hug him. I want to hold him in my arms and tell him he’ll be okay. I don’t want him to scream and say “Don’t touch me, I want Daddy!” It sucks because when I plan a fun outing with just my son and me I want him to be excited and jump for joy instead of saying “No, I want to do that with Daddy!”

It sucks.

It sucks because I’ve convinced myself that I’m the only mother who has ever had this happen to her. I question where I went wrong in my parenting. I wonder if I held his twin sister too much and him not enough. Did something go wrong during his “imprinting” stage? We should have been more intentional about switching babies. Did we play favorites and now they have favorites?

It sucks.

I’m learning to look for opportunities to sieze the good moments. For a lifetime planner, this is a challenge for me. Because the opportunities come without warning and often without any pattern. On Wednesday, he wanted to hold my hand while walking to pick up my older son from school. Last week, he asked if I wanted to play with him in the basement. On Saturday, he asked if the two of us could decorate the Christmas tree together.

Each day I continue to hope for progress. I’ve learned to not take a single act of kindness for granted. I celebrate each hug, each kiss and each bedtime story. I know these moments aren’t forced. I know they are real and honest. I cherish them all and hold them all in my heart.

Dear 16-year-old Me

I write letters on this blog a lot. I’ve written one to the woman on the escalator, to the bug from my garage, to the class of 2013, to my music teacher, and even a letter to future me. So when I heard about the Dear Me link up that Emily from Chatting at the Sky was doing, I could hardly resist. I’m a little nervous and a little excited because, to be honest, I’m not really sure how this letter is going to go. Here it is, a letter to the 16-year-old me.

Dear 16-year-old me,

Wow! Can I just take a minute to say, you are adorable. I know you don’t believe me. You look at this picture and you hate that your hair is frizzy and your cheeks are rosy. I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have to just get used to that. I know your older family members have assured you that your rosy cheeks will go away when you get older, but they are wrong. At 30, I’m still dealing with cheeks that turn beat red when embarrassed or cold or hot or sick or, well you get the point. I will say this, eventually this won’t bother you as much. The truth is, at some point you are going to realize how great your skin is and be thankful that you only ever need to deal with the occasional zit or two. No uncontrollable acne for you my dear girl, just rosy cheeks that you will never need to apply blush to. It could be worse.

Can we talk about boys for a second? Here is the thing, I know that 16 has been a good year for you. You’ve had a boyfriend for most of the year and I’m sure you’ve noticed that your self-esteem has elevated because of that. There are days ahead when you will find yourself single and you will question your self worth. Please hear this: your value is not determined by how many boys want to date you. This will be a hard truth for you to learn. You are awesome but you will frequently assume the worst about yourself when you don’t receive the attention you desire from the boys you like. Do you want to know a secret? You aren’t any prettier just because a cute boy says you are. Stop waiting for others to praise you and start finding things to praise on your own. You are far too beautiful (both inside and out) to wait around for some teenage boy to figure that out.

There is another thing I need to bring up. You have some great friends and you will meet some more in the years to come. Years from now, you will still be incredibly close to some of these girls. But it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows between here and there. There will be fights and tears and even some times of silence. One word of advice: a little grace goes a long way. You are not as perfect as you proclaim to be. You have not walked in the shoes of these friends you are chastising. In some ways it is admirable that you would risk your friendship to confront someone about their behavior, but you don’t always engage in these conversations with a loving attitude. Self-righteous would be a better way to describe your attitude.

I’m really excited for you. You still have a lot of great things ahead of you. Don’t stress too much about the worries of today. Trust your gut. When something feels wrong, it probably is. You’re a smart girl. Stop doubting yourself so much.

Love,

30-year-old You

The First Day of Kindergarten

The morning started like most other mornings. Last night, we picked out his clothes so there would be no stressing over what he wore. After he was dressed, we went downstairs and ate breakfast. If he was nervous, he didn’t show it. While I struggled to have the stomach to finish an English Muffin, I watched as he finished an entire bowl of cereal. This was the kid who could barely finish a mini muffin all summer. The biggest day of his 5 year-old life and he’s eating cereal like it’s no big deal.

My husband and I were, in so many ways, the typical first time kindergarten parents. We had packed his lunch the night before. We showed him all his paperwork in his backpack and told him to remember where it was when his teacher asked for it. We took the classic picture on the front step. We were all set and ready to go at 7:30. The school’s drop-off time wasn’t until 8:15. So we sat and waited.

The drive to the school was filled with anticipation. I kept sneaking glances back to him to gauge his facial expressions. Was he nervous? Excited? Confused as to why his parents have been mushy idiots all morning? Still, his expression was cool and calm. This kid was going to be just fine in Kindergarten.

If you’ve ever been near an elementary school on the first day of school, you’ll know that it’s a mad house. In an effort to stay out of the chaos, my husband dropped my son and I off about a block away and the two of us made the final journey to kindergarten walking hand-in-hand toward the school.

And that’s when it happened.

He tripped.

He fell to his knees still clinging to my hand.

I watched as he tried to keep himself together with all of this 5-year-old strength. His knees hurt. The broken skin and blood was evidence of that. He winced in pain as I rubbed the dirt off his legs.

The brave boy I had watched all morning was suddenly my little baby again. I wanted to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way but I knew I could not. He was in kindergarten now and kindergartners aren’t carried into school by their mothers. He was going to need to walk. And so he did.

As we walked the rest of the way, I was reminded that there are going to be more bumps and scrapes that I won’t be around for. There will be mean words said to him that I won’t be able to keep him from hearing. I cannot protect him from pain for the rest of his life. He will feel much more pain than just a few skinned knees. There will be times when I will want to pull him into my arms and hold him forever. But there will be times when he will need to just keep walking. I will be there to walk with him and hold his hand, but I won’t be able to take the pain away.

On the bright side, my son has the distinction of being the first patient at his school’s clinic for the 2012-2013 school year. He now knows where to go if he’s feeling sick. How many other kindergartners can say that?

Once bandaged up, we walked into the cafeteria to meet his teacher. I found him a seat next to his preschool friend and said good-bye.

Having already survived the skinned knees, I knew he was going to be okay.

Advice from an Expert Worm Catcher

I’m a mom of three preschoolers. That means I get asked roughly 10,000 questions every day. Most of these questions I have answered before, sometimes even within the last 5 minutes. I’ve become so accustomed to these questions that I’m able to answer them without hardly thinking about them. But yesterday, one question stopped me in my tracks. It was a question I had never heard before.

“Mom, can you help us catch worms? Because you are such a good worm finder.”

I don’t want to brag, but I am pretty good at catching worms. The trick is to not use the hand shovel thing. You will cut the worm in half if you dig with one of those. You need to use the little rake thing (can you tell that I am NOT an expert gardener?). The hand rake, or as official gardeners might call it: a cultivator, is the perfect tool for finding worms. It loosens the dirt without splicing the worm. But this post is not about my worm finding technique.

The question above was asked by my 5 year old son. Lately he’s been really into fishing, okay maybe just casting a fishing pole in the front yard, but it’s relatively the same in his mind. He needed worms for bait. Earlier that day, we’d spent some time collecting worms which is where he discovered my mad skills.

At that moment, I could not think of anything more important to do than go outside and dig for worms. The weight of my son’s question was not lost on me.

Most days, I go the entire day without having a moment like I did yesterday. Most days, I worry about the laundry and the dishes and forget that I live with three little people who will not always be so little.

There will come a day when I am no longer the expert worm catcher my son thinks I am. In fact, I won’t be the expert on anything in his mind. He will see me for the flawed human that I am and not think twice about letting me know his opinion of me.

There will come a day when his eyes won’t light up when I tell him I’m subbing for his Sunday School teacher. There will come a day when he won’t climb into bed with me at 6 in the morning and cuddle. There will come a day when I can’t pick him up and tickle him just to hear his adorable belly laugh.

It’s tempting to be sad about the inevitable passing of time. To be angry that we are not able to freeze time during the good moments and enjoy them longer. Because like I said before, these moments do not fill my day. There is laundry to be done and dishes don’t clean themselves.

In two weeks, my worm catching apprentice will enter Kindergarten. For the next 13 years, he’ll spend the majority of his waking hours somewhere without me. I will eat lunch with him only two of the seven days in a week. Our opportunities for worm catching are limited.

So you can understand how easy it was to answer that question yesterday. Only a fool would have said no.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I wish there was some sort of sign that I could wear when I walk in. A sign that said something like “I’m not looking for a commitment right now.” I feel like that sign would clear things up.

I don’t want to lead you on. I’m sure you are a really great person. It’s just, I’m not looking for anything serious right now. I don’t want to be tied down to just one person. I want to be free to see other people. I’m not saying I don’t want to see you again. I do, I think. I mean, when I left tonight, I felt beautiful. I really did. But tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up and be the same old person again and I’m not sure I’ll remember that rush of self-esteem. Tomorrow things will be difficult. And I’ll resent you for it. I’ll resent how easy things were with you and now that you are gone, I can’t have it anymore.

Even if I was ready for a commitment, you wouldn’t be happy with me. I wouldn’t want to see you as often as you’d want to see me. I know today you were hoping that I’d schedule a time we could see each other again. I told you that I’d call you. You gave me your number. I’ll be honest, I might keep it in my purse for a few months, but eventually I’m going to clean out my purse. I’ll see your number and I’ll think back to our time together.  I’ll think about tonight but I probably won’t call. It will have been too long. I don’t want to explain why I didn’t call you sooner. Maybe you won’t care, maybe you would just be happy that I called, but I’ll feel guilty. I’ll also question if things will be good the next time. Sure tonight went well, but was that a fluke? What will it be like next time? What if the next two times things go well but the fourth time things go bad? I’ll feel trapped. I’ll feel like I am in too deep. I’ve committed and now I need to keep seeing you even though things are different.

I’m not saying we can’t do this again sometime. Maybe in a few months, when I’m ready, I’ll walk back in and I’ll see you. Maybe you’ll be sitting alone and things will be just like they were tonight. Or maybe you’ll be busy with someone else. I understand. Obviously, you can’t just wait around for me to walk back in again. I might sit with someone new. You and I might meet eyes and it might be awkward. I might watch you with someone else and wish it was me. I might smile as I’m talking to someone new, but deep down I’m wondering what things would be like if it was me in that chair next to you.

Judge me if you want. I know I’m not getting any younger. Plenty of women my age have found someone. I hear about the loyalty and devotion other women have in their relationships and I know deep down that I’m never going to have that. I don’t think I even want it. I just can’t see myself committing to one person for the rest of my life. People change. What I like now, I’m probably not going to like in 10 years. Are you going to be okay with that? Are you willing to grow with me like that? After one night, I just don’t know if it’s possible to know something like that.

So here is what I can tell you. I’m happy with my haircut. I think you did a great job. You did what I asked you to do. I think you are great hair stylist and are very talented. I’m sure you make a lot of your clients happy. I’m sure you would make me happy. I just can’t make you my stylist right now. I’m just not ready. I hope you understand.

 

On Turning 30.

I turn 30 in 60 days, but who’s counting? Okay, I’m counting. September 2 looms on the horizon in front of me and I am unable to shake the pit in my stomach that accompanies the date. In the past, the days leading up to my birthday were days of anticipation and excitement. Growing up, I was the youngest in my grade, which meant every year I anxiously watched as my friends reach their milestones before me. I hated this. I hated that I was the last one every time. Adults told me that someday I would love being the youngest. I didn’t believe them. But like most wisdom handed down from adults, they were right. For the first time in my life, I am relieved that I have a late birthday. But it also kind of feels like I am slowly tearing off a Band-Aid. With every birthday Facebook post I write, I know my day is coming. It is only a matter of time before I join the club.

I don’t want to turn thirty. I want to throw a tantrum and demand to remain 29 forever. I like my twenties. I accomplished a lot in my twenties. I graduated college, lived in Japan, got a job, bought a car, moved out on my own, got married, bought a house and had three kids (two of them at once, I might add). I’m proud of my twenties. We’ve had a good run, my twenties and I. I am not ready to say good-bye to them.

Though I’ve done a lot, I can’t help but think I could have done more. People do some crazy things in their twenties. They road trip to Mexico, they go skydiving; they get tattoos they later regret. I’ve done none of these things. Not that I actually want to do any of those things, but I’d like to know that I could do them and it would be okay. Well, maybe it wouldn’t end up okay, but if things got bad, I could chalk it up to being in my twenties. I didn’t know any better. I was just learning a life lesson.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the youthful, ignorant bliss ends at 30. At 30, you have to be responsible. At 30, you have to make sound judgments. At 30, you become a real adult. The training period is over. You are expected to know better at 30. No more practice rounds. The rest of you life goes on your permanent record.

Your twenties are your safety net. They are your chance to take big risks and gain big rewards. You can set practicality aside and follow your heart. It gets harder to do this in your thirties. In your thirties you have things like college funds and retirement plans to worry about. You have soccer practice and T-ball games to attend.

I realize that many of you might be reading this “from the other side” of 30 and I probably appear to be a bratty baby. I’m sorry. I realize I most likely sound absurd. But I cannot pretend any longer. This is going to be a tough one for me.

So I’m asking you to help me out. Share with me why you loved your thirties. Tell me how great it is. Help me enter this new decade of life with excitement and joy instead of fear and dread. And do it quickly please because I only have 60 more days.