“What toy do you want for your birthday, Mom?” Henley asked as we drove to school earlier this week.

“I don’t want a toy, baby. I’m just going to take a day off from work to relax.” 

“You’re having a birthday party without me?!?”

I assured her that I would not be having a party without her and then explained that sometimes Mommies just need time alone to recharge, similar to a battery. She seemed to reluctantly accept that I would be home while she went to school, then decided that a trip to Target with Daddy was in order to pick up a few things for me.

A few days later I walk in to find beautifully wrapped presents on the table and two proud little girls. They chose very thoughtful presents and were more than helpful in the unwrapping of them as well.

I had the day all to myself. I spent the morning cozied into a booth at Panera reading my book and then roamed the aisles of Pier 1. I spent the afternoon at the pool, floating in the water while Ed Sheeran’s latest album played in the background. It really was a great day.

Birthdays in my thirties are quite different than they were before. Instead of lavish gifts I prefer a few moments of peace. Instead of late nights out drinking we opt for a nice, quiet date night instead. I act surprised when unwrapping presents that are easily identified and I let the girls help me blow out the candles, even if that means there will likely be slobber somewhere on the cake. Seeing their excitement for my day is just as good as the day itself.

 My birthdays may have been more eventful in my twenties but I can say with confidence that the years in my thirties have topped them all. The thirties have given me babies, a stronger marriage, confidence in myself, a drive for my own desires, strength to say no, pride in my family, and a love above all else. Motherhood. So while every year adds another candle on the cake, that is another year of growth for our family, another year of milestones, another great adventure. Welcome thirty-five, I look forward to another great year.