My 42nd birthday is coming up in a couple days.. and over the last few years I approach birthdays more reflectively. I suppose age does that to you.
My 41st year of life has been the most challenging one I've ever had - Professionally and personally.
I had an feeling it was going to be. I remember watching the big ball drop on New Year's Eve 2008 and thinking to myself, "Najla? You got a hell of a year ahead of you."
I was primarily thinking about all the work that was ahead of me on my comprehensive exam and dissertation... but so many other things happened along the way this year - so many other really big, hard, stressful, emotionally draining things. Holy. The dissertation pales in comparison.
I'm not going to get into all the things that made this year so difficult. But today, as I was trying to sort through it all... and thinking about turning 42... Ethan walks into my bedroom.
Ethan: Mom. Can I take a nap in your bed?
Me: You are taking a nap?
Ethan: Yes. I am tired and sick. I need a nap.
He crawled under the covers, nestled up beside me as I was working (well... sorting through the last 42 years of my life and trying to work on my dissertation. Not a combo that equals success, I know).
He fell asleep in two minutes...
Kids seem to know what they need. They eat when they are hungry, cry when they are hurt, laugh when they are happy, and take naps when they are sick.
So he is lying beside me, looking angelic but sounding like the devil with this awful sounding stuffed-up snore and for some reason it hits me...
We are all great! I'm great! Life is great!
Yeah - it has been a hell of a year and I really don't care to experience it again... but wow. I managed it and I am still here. I'm not only here... but I'm better for it.
And... if this year had happened to me when I was younger - like let's say 5 or 10 years ago - I wouldn't have managed it well. I don't think I could have coped.
Man - do I improve significantly with age or what?
I can't wait for 42.