Today is my thirty-third birthday and as I sit here writing this, I can't help contemplating how fast the first thirty-odd years of my life have gone. As a child, the time seemed to drag so that every day, every week, every month seemed like an eternity. But as I've gotten older, I am astounded at just how quickly the world-- and my life-- has begun passing me by.
It amazes me that I have three children, the oldest of whom is a junior high student and the youngest of whom is only two. Both are bittersweet ages to me, because I've come to two realizations recently-- one that this is my last child and I will never again hold a brand new baby in my arms and think, "This is my child." The second of which is that high school and college aren't that far away for my oldest one and suddenly, as days and weeks and months whirl by, it seems like the time limit that he is exclusively mine and his father's baby is getting shorter by the minute. I'm not saying that it isn't rewarding to watch all of my children grow-- of course it is. But I can't help wanting to freeze time and hold on just a little more tightly to each and every imperfect day that we've been given.
And while time marches by, it does more than make my children older. It ages me as well. I look in the mirror now and can't believe how deep the smile lines (I'm feeling the need to be kind to myself today so we won't call them crow's feet) at the corners of my eyes have grown. Or that the lines in my forehead (a legacy of years of scowling at my junior high and high school students when they misbehaved) can no longer be smoothed away with a relaxed brow. And we won't even mention how my best friend stood over me a couple months ago and gasped in shock at the white hairs peeking through at the crown of my head.
And yet, though I fight aging with anti-wrinkle cream and home face peels, hair dye and endless trips to the gym, I can't help but be happy that I'm celebrating this birthday today. For with the years have come a certain maturity-- a certain understanding-- of the world and the eople around me. An acceptance of -- and even an affection for--myself that I didn't have in my teens or twenties. An understanding and liking of who I am-- flaws and all-- that was anathema to me in my younger years. And for that gift, I'm willing to put up with the wrinkles and slowing metabolism and even the first few white hairs.
And making the day even sweeter is the fact that the first chapter of my short story, Lightning Strikes, the prequel to my very first novel, A Christmas Wedding, went up at eharlequin.com this morning. It's a free, daily on-line read and a new chapter will post every day (except Sunday) between now and November 7th. If you get a chance, stop by and let me know what you think. Here's the link: http://www.eharlequin.com/article.html?articleId=1382
Oh, and in honor of this exciting event, I'm giving away a copy of my November book, A Christmas Wedding. I just got my author copies on Friday and the box is burning a hole in my dining room table ;) So leave a comment and I'll post the winner at the end of the comments section tonight.
My question for the day is simple. What do you know now-- about yourself or the world-- that you didn't know five years ago? Or ten? Or twenty? I can't wait to hear.