Officially In the 40s (Boo!)

41 sucks balls. That’s all I’ve been thinking. I’m a holiday and birthday junkie and usually milk my birthdays for an extended period of time that my husband has dubbed “Marnie Gras”. Even the momentous 4-0 last year was exciting to me, as I had big, big plans for that one. But this birthday means I’m truly in my 40s — 40s!!! I listen to Howard Stern. I know the implications. For the first time in my life, I wanted it to just pass me by without giving it any thought.

It doesn’t help that the whole thing has been sort of depressing, as I just got back yesterday from a blissful two weeks of vacationing with great friends and family. We had a 4.5-hour layover in Chicago which, when you have two boys under six, is about as fun as a scorching case of herpes. They survived the layover with flying colors, but the second leg of the trip was a different story. My older guy was as ornery as could be, having had a virus that was still attacking his poor little system. My younger guy thinks every single electric device is touch-screen, which is challenging when you’re trying to get him to pass the time by watching a movie. Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Murphy’s Law was in full effect, as the two of them conspired against me by not falling asleep until 20 minutes before we landed. “No!” I thought. “Noooooo!” The plane landed and neither of them stirred. I had no husband with me to help rouse them, so the ending of the trip was one big wail-fest. Both of them cried through the airport like I was trying to kidnap them and sell them on the black market (which I thought about doing). When I got to baggage claim and saw my parents, my mother immediately told me to wrap her sweater around my waist, as I had some sort of mystery stain on my ass, which she said “looked like I sat on a dirty diaper.” So that happened.

Needless to say, I was happy to get home, but couldn’t help but feel that I was cloaked in a serious case of the post-vacation, post-kid-meltdown, 41st birthday blues. I sat down and clicked on Facebook, which is when one of my friends posted about a friend of hers that was entering hospice, soon to be leaving his family of FIVE (!) kids and wife due to a terminal case of brain cancer. I’ve never even met this family, but clicked on the man’s profile and perused photos of his kids and wife by his bedside. Somehow, despite it all, I saw pictures of them smiling and laughing, sucking the marrow out of the time they have left together. I wondered how they will get through this, as life is about to deal them a brutal blow.

That’s when it hit me — the alternative to having your 41st birthday? NOT having your 41st birthday. Life’s a lottery, folks, and I guess what I realized is that each day we wake up and each birthday we reach in good health is like hitting the jackpot.

So…Happy Birthday to me. Even if I am old.

Jackpot!

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