Happy birthday to you. You wake, sandwiched between your husband and your daughter, elbows and knees pressed into the soft part of your stomach. A hand over your shoulder. A curl of hair fluffed under your nose.
Rise and greet the day. A murder of crows calls out as you walk your dog, one hopeful bird trailing you silently, beady eyes trained on you. You remember a trick your husband read online, how you can wear your glasses on the back of your head to prevent the birds from dive-bombing you. Crows won’t attack your face, he told you. But your glasses are inside and your dog is pacing restlessly, hurrying you down the street until snatch, he wolfs down a piece of pizza that a stranger left out in the road. You try to wiggle it out of his mouth and then give up, let him win this time.
Back inside you wake your daughter, dress her to greet her day. A floaty teal dress and tall white socks. Lately she’s been asking to wear sneakers rather than flip flops so she can smuggle contraband toys into school in her socks. At the end of the day she’ll sit down in the playground and there, right in front of her teachers, she’ll pull back the fabric to reveal plastic dinosaurs, tiny rocks. She’s tricky, that one. You feel awfully proud.
Yesterday your father asked you if thirty felt like a milestone and you said, no, not really at all. There are so many other big things happening, and you are finally ok, right here, in the everyday. Last night, though, you did shave your legs and groom your eyebrows for the occasion. Then you pulled your hair into the same ponytail you’ve been wearing since high school. If you squint just right so you can’t see your laugh lines, you look almost the same.
Thirty is good. Thirty isn’t a list of all the things you wanted to accomplish by now. Thirty is knowing you are on your way.
This is your morning so far: you debate eating a salad for breakfast and decide on something sweeter instead. You drop a perfect pancake onto the floor and curse a little. You cut strawberries into the shape of a heart.
Later you will walk to the butcher and buy a rack of ribs and try your first ever attempt at cooking them. Thirty is as good a time as any to try something hard, to start something new.