This morning, I woke up. That’s a good start already. I was a whole year older than yesterday, but I didn’t feel a single sensation different. When I opened the bathroom door upon finishing my birthday shower, my girls were holding flowers and presents and wearing smiles and giggles, screeching “Happy Birthday Mommy” in pure delight. I bathed, clothed, and fed my darlings. I packed lunches, school bags, after-school snacks, dance clothes, hats, gloves, and jackets. I did laundry and put away toys. This morning, my dog did his business extra far into the lingering snow banks. He must have known it’s my birthday because that was a gift. Truly. And in the freeze of the morn, I retrieved it. I began my chauffeur route, dropping off, kissing goodbye, running quick errands. Picking up, kissing hello, hearing jumbled snippets of excitement from their day. In between all of that, my baby kissed me abundantly, mimicking “Happy Birthday” as he’d previously heard. We went to dance and met up with my best friend {they call him daddy} for dinner out. I didn’t have to cook. Or do dishes. I just had to wrangle my well behaved babes and gobble my food before they expired. A few hours later, when tuck-ins and stories, another glass of water, potty again, I’m cold and I’m hot were finally over, the hush came. In that quiet I reflected on the sprinkles of wishes that were sent my way from friends near and far. I vividly saw the beauty in the ordinary. I feel thankful to feel no different, in most aspects, in the passage of a year. And yet I feel the growth and the acceptance that has become a companion. Better with age. That sounds good to me. It feels promising and full proof. Just have to keep having birthdays. Just have to breathe. And as this birthday comes to a close, a new year full of possibilities begins. I close my birthday girl eyes and say, “Thank you life. You’re complicated and often difficult, but you’re good.” This is 36.