I looked at the girl as I got on the elevator. I supposed she was beautiful. She was certainly dressed the part of the socialite granddaughter of a talented and, in many circles, famous man – complete with suede platform wedges at least eight inches high bought, most assuredly, at Neiman Marcus.
The man in the elevator with her had already noticed what I had not. She was holding balloons and remnants of a birthday cake. He congratulated her. And she quickly thanked him, countering – proudly and without hesitation – that it was her 25th birthday today.
I looked at her and thought about when I was 25.
I remembered that year vividly. It was the year Lee died.
Greta was 4. An adorable ponytailed t-ball player.
Kind of like Ezra is now.
I remarked to the girl that 25 was a good year. She agreed. And she then proceeded to tell me how she felt really old now; how she and some friends were going out celebrating tonight; how she was getting up in years and needed to stop smoking a pack a day soon. You know, start taking care of herself now that she was getting “up there.”
Her voice was a bit raspy. I imagined she did a good deal of partying. I had heard her in the elevators before. She was no quiet, demur socialite. She had a mouth on her… an opinionated one. I imagined she had been a handful in private school.
At 25 I had a kid and still managed to have my share of fun. I could not imagine what it would have been like if, instead of being a single mom raising my child, going to school and working, I was single, living in a kick-ass apartment in downtown Atlanta , had a brand spanking new college degree (on Daddy’s dime, of course), a job at the family company and a fabulous night planned for my 25th birthday at a club where I would wear $325 stilettoes and be hit on constantly.
For about a minute I thought how fun that would be.
But then I remembered that this privileged 25 year-old’s life would pale in comparison to my life at 40.
I had married the man of my dreams and started our family together this (my 40th) year.
I have replaced waking up hungover and alone on a Saturday or Sunday…
… with waking up in bed every morning with the three most amazing guys on the planet. Of course, one may have his foot in my face and the other his elbow in my ribs, while the 3rd is waaaay on the other side of a king size bed snoring….. but it is still Heaven. For the 20 minutes I am awake and they are all still asleep, at least. Then Ezra’s eyes open and his tongue starts wagging.
I have replaced constant running conversations with girlfriends about possibilities with this guy or what that guy thinks about our almost hooking up 3 weeks ago but then he only called once like 6 days ago and I am going crazy thinking he is just blowing me off….
…with actually having a conversations with my amazing, talented and funny husband about everything from our plan upon winning the Mega Millions, to issues Ezra has been having at school and Sawyer’s physical therapy… to laughing our asses off about some silly, but hilarious, joke dreamed up halfway through the second (large) bottle of wine at 11:30 on a Sunday evening, how business is going… and where we are going together as a family.
I have replaced bars, dancing to live bands and shots…
…with NOLA jazz (the Loose Marbles) in the kitchen while cooking, drinking wine, and, on occasion, impromptu dances with Ezra and/or holding Sawyer until we are all three laughing and winded in the dining room. [This is not to say that is totally behind me, however. When I am IN New Orleans, I will certainly be hearing live music somewhere on Frenchman… more than likely there will also be shots involved.]
There are other wonderful perks as well…
Last night, while Jay worked, Sawyer was the perfect gentlemen patiently watching a chick flick with me on the couch. He snuggled up and gave plenty of love and kisses, while both cooing and talking to me here and there – but also sitting quietly and letting me watch the cheesy ending where the girl got the guy but didn’t compromise herself or whatever. When it was over, he did not once comment on the silliness of the movie. He was the perfect date.
Tonight Ezra will run to see me when I pick him up from school. He will want me to read him a book at bedtime. He will spontaneously tell me I am beautiful and want to sit close to me and just BE together. He will tell me, “Mommy, I you best friend!” (that is, if it has been a good day, it is just as likely that he will say, “I not talking to you, Mommy!” if it has been a bad day…the difference between a tired and hungry toddler and a well-rested and fed toddler)
And then there is quiet time with Jay while children sleep.
Yeah, that 25 year old doesn’t have a clue what she is missing.
I wouldn’t change places with her for anything. My life is too good.