As I write this, I’m turning thirty years old in about fifteen minutes. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought thirty was old. I was probably agonizing over my first broken heart and couldn’t wait to get out of the small town that I thought I would leave and never look back. I pictured being a UCLA graduate married to a man I met at a bookstore or literally ran into with a shopping cart at a grocery store. We’d have two kids, and, of course, a white picket fence. And there was no way that fence would be anywhere close to my hometown.
I wasn’t too far off from my dream. I’m a college graduate with an amazing husband (though it was our online profiles that bumped into each other, not our shopping carts). We have one kid and one on the way. I’m still pretty far away from the white picket fence, but, now, I couldn’t imagine celebrating my birthday anywhere but in my hometown. I tried to raise my first born in a different state. What was I thinking not having grandma within driving distance?
I spent the evening celebrating my first thirty years with three of the women who raised me: my mom, my grandma, and my aunt. My mom had me when she was twenty years old and needed all the help she could get with a handful like me. I never would have thought I would be sitting there playing Cards Against Humanity with three generations of mothers thirty years later.
As I looked around the room, I thought, “What were they all thinking when they turned thirty?” My grandma had all four of her kids by then, my mom had a ten year old, and my aunt had just gotten married. Growing up, it didn’t seem like any of them second guessed how they were raising me, and I know I put them through hell. Were they better at hiding their fear, exhaustion, and utter confusion at times? Or was it my unconditional love for them that only made me see the best in them: their awesome taste in music, their home cooked meals, and the revolving front door they allowed for all of my friends?
The question that plagues me the most right now is, “Can we handle another one?” Somehow my grandma managed to keep four under four in line without Paw Patrol and disposable diapers, so with all of these resources, why am I so scared?
I thought by thirty I would have all the answers lined up like the rows on my white picket fence. The only answer I have is that I have three amazing role models to help fill in the gaps. As moms, we are often perfectionists. As perfectionists, we tend to isolate ourselves into thinking we have to do it alone. The old adage that it takes a village has somehow lost its meaning in the digital age. So what if at times we make it a virtual village? Support is support, and previous generations had it right. At the wise age of thirty (kidding), support from moms of all ages is about the only thing I don’t question.