It wasn’t the way I’d pictured my 30th birthday at all. I had thought that maybe I’d get my girls together and take a trip to Vegas. Tossed around the idea of a personal retreat.
Think, massages and room service at an upscale resort somewhere sunny.
What I didn’t think, however, was that I’d be laying on the cold floor of my bathroom, my head leaning against the toilet, trying to contain the nausea. Alone.
This was not the way it was supposed to happen.
When I was younger, I dreamed about getting married and having babies. Never once had I considered that there was any other way for me to do it than with a white dress, picket fence, and supportive, loving husband.
Those single moms that I had known, the girls that got pregnant the year after we graduated high school, the working mothers in the neighborhood who always looked so tired, I had nothing in common with them. I was smart. I was talented. I had goals and dreams and plans.
But here I was. Thirty years old. Laying on the cold floor of my bathroom, my head leaning against the toilet, trying to contain the nausea. Alone.
I started preparing for the big 3-0 right around 27. I made my bucket list, “Things To Do By The Time I Turn 30”, and went on a diet of self-help books on everything from affirmations to finance and relationships.
Life was working for me, but even as I was crossing items off of my list, the closer I got to 30, I started to realize that I wasn’t going to make it. It didn’t matter how many to-do’s I got done, it just wasn’t enough.
At 29, after failed relationships, and a career that seemed to be stalling, and the fact that I was always, always so damn lonely, I gave up. And I carried that defeat right into my thirtieth birthday, where, instead of a girls’ trip to Vegas, I found myself laying on the cold floor of my bathroom, my head leaning against the toilet, trying to contain the nausea. Alone.
Things with us happened so quickly. I met him, and although there were major red flags, I pushed them out of my mind because, you know, the clock was ticking.
Sometimes I wonder if he had peeked at my list, because he always seemed to know the right things to say. I later found out that those “right things” were lies, but at that point, nearly a year later, it was too late.
I was pregnant, and life, mine and my child’s, it had to go on. I pushed through each day, fighting the desire to stay in bed until it was all over. Finally, though, after months of sickness and stress and heartache, once again, I gave up.
I gave up the shame I had of making a choice that changed the course of my whole life. I gave up the humiliation that I felt for getting duped and deserted. I gave up the anger that I had towards myself for being so stupid.
I gave up feeling embarrassed that I needed help. The more I gave up, the more I wanted to give up. I gave up on the dream that I’d had when I was younger.
There wasn’t going to be a white dress, a picket fence, or a supportive, loving husband. Not yet, anyway. I gave up doubting that I couldn’t be a single mother and raise a confident, intelligent daughter. And I gave up believing that this was not the way it was supposed to happen.
The love that fills me, and the blessing of being the mother of this particular child, they weren’t on the list. There is no way that I could have planned for this.
And while it may not have been the way things were supposed to happen, it’s perfect. I’ve gained more than I gave, and I would give it all up again if it meant that I’d be here, today, with more love and happiness than I could have ever dreamed.