Month of Milestones

June is a full month for me, in many ways. For starters, my birthday is the 28th, and while I’ve never been a crazy birthday celebrating kind of person, each passing year feels heavy, fraught with a dueling sense of growth and loss. This sensation has grown more fierce as I approach the milestone of 40 (this coming year will be the last of my 30s). Aging kinda sucks. And yet, not entirely. I feel smarter, stronger (well, maybe not my abs), and more clear-sighted about what I want for myself than I ever did before, but there is something hard to accept about the loss of my youth.

Speaking of lost youth (joke! sort of), this month is also my wedding anniversary. Two of them. June 7 (Brooklyn courthouse) and June 11 (the gorgeous Virgin Islands), and I just realized as I’m writing this, that those dates, 7/11 mirror Little Guy’s birthday, 11/7/11. How perfect.

Flying in a little plane (yikes) to the island of Tortola.

Flying on a little plane to the island of Tortola. (The little plane part is why my man looks a bit green.)

My husband and I have been married for ten years now, TEN YEARS! How did this happen? It kind of crept up on us. Years ago, when we were newly married and, frankly, a bit stupid, we thought we’d return to the tropical island where we had our intimate and insanely fantastic wedding. Which was here, like literally, on this beach:

Little Dix Bay (please, hold the puns), on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Little Dix Bay (please, hold the puns), on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead we went out to an early bird dinner (cause that’s how we roll), got a little drunk on pink champagne, and then went out for milkshakes to sober up before coming home by 7:45. Hey, what can I say, it was a school night.

Regardless, making it ten years is no easy feat, especially since six of those years were post-kids. I don’t talk much about my husband on this blog, for privacy reasons, mainly his since I clearly have no problem talking about myself, but suffice it to say, being married is CRAZY hard/good/bad/fun/horrible/fantastic/tedious/magical. We’ve been through a lot together, the superficial stuff like the second half of our 20s, and the big life changing rock your world stuff like death and babies, and yet somehow we keep on keeping on.

My baby bump with Bunky. Little Guy never got such tender pics. Sorry LG!

My baby bump with Bunky. Little Guy never got such tender pics. Sorry LG!

Speaking of death, that’s my other June milestone. My mom died on June 21, 2007 on Summer Solstice, which makes this year my seventh without her (physically) in my world. Losing a beloved parent is not something you get over. Ever. The whole time heals concept is pretty much bullshit. Time smooths out, time stretches, time passes, but the pain and loss remain. Of course, the turmoil I felt that first year does not even compare to how I feel now, BUT, there are these gut wrenching moments when something happens in my life, often having to do with my kids, and the person I’d like to share it with, confide in, or call for advice is dead.

As much as I miss her presence in my life, I’m grateful for our close relationship, and her enduring love. I think of her daily, and often, she inspires both my writing and my mothering. If only Little Guy could have crawled onto her lap and given her one of his sweeter than chocolate kisses, or if she could have seen Bunky’s newborn face which mirrored my own. But nope. As the Rolling Stones once said, and still say (gotta love their endurance), you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. And I’ve got these guys:

get what you need

Life is full of brutal moments of loss, tempered only by beautiful moments of joy. Sometimes they are all mixed up together, sort of like the way my laundry looks after I yank it out of the overstuffed dryer. Pant legs braided together with towels, socks hiding in the corners of the sheets, my daughter’s sleeves tangled with mine. You don’t get one without the other, so as hard as this month can be for me – my birthday just a week after my mom’s death, all coming in on the heels of my wedding anniversary – I no longer dread its approach, and instead I almost look forward to the rockiness of it, the messiness of it, because that is life.

My anniversary bouquet, picked by my daughter and husband.

My anniversary bouquet, picked by my daughter and husband.

* I had meant for this post to also include stories about our recent trip upstate, as well as gluten free product reviews, in addition to end-of-the-school-year angst (mine, not Bunky’s), and also about some big changes on my home front, and possibly blog front, but clearly that would have been a monster of a post, so tune in soon for all of this and more.

** Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have any milestone months, please let me know what they are and how you muscle through them.

17 thoughts on “Month of Milestones

  1. What a very moving post Dana. I reach my big milestone birthday this year so I echo a lot of your emotions. But guess where I’m celebrating it? NYC!! :)))

    I’m so sorry you lost your mum so young. Cannot even begin to imagine. My thoughts are with you from across the pond xoxo

    • Thank you so much Lauren for your kind words. 40 in NYC sounds wonderful and exciting! What a perfect celebratory spot. I wouldn’t mind traveling across the pond for mine, since I live in Brooklyn 🙂

  2. I either haven’t collected enough major milestones yet or have celebrated them evenly distributed throughout the year, because I can’t think of any milestone months. I did have a milestone birthday last month and wished I had a few more concrete achievements to show for it, but I’m trying not to sweat it too much.

    Like Lauren, I’m so sorry about your mother, who you wrote about so beautifully. The laundry metaphor is perfect.

    Thank you for sharing your milestone month with us—I’m looking forward to hearing about the changes on the horizon for you and/or your blog!

    • Probably good not to have a milestone month! Milestones are tough enough 🙂 I’ve always been hard on myself for not hitting some imaginary requirements as each big birthday has rolled by, but I agree it’s best not to sweat it too much. I’m trying to motivate in other ways, by more clearly defining what I want, and cutting out what I don’t in order not to waste time.

      Thanks for your comment, Molly. My mom had a dark (but funny) sense of humor, and she used to joke that her illness would give me lots of material, and she was right.

  3. Dana thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your beautiful life, you are young and I am young at heart lol as I turn 50 this year and feel better about who I am now more than ever. Life is precious, enjoy every little moment. Look forward to reading about all your new ideas and changes friend. Ps love the shot of you and hubby on the plane, priceless.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Kath! The paradox of aging is so fascinating to me. On one hand I feel a sense of nostalgia for my unlined, less tired looking face 🙂 but on the other, I feel like I know myself better than ever before, and feel better about who I am, as you mentioned. May our forthcoming years be bountiful and creative! So nice to know you’re out there.

  4. Beautiful post on life’s bitter-sweet moments. Congrats on the wedding anniversary!! Gorgeous pictures, have a happy birthday month fellow June baby 🙂 Was in NY recently so I hope you enjoy the amazing summertime buzz xx

  5. Early happy birthday wishes. Late happy anniversary. And many good thought coming your way tomorrow. 🙂 Obviously none of us knew your Mom but from the way you write about her she was a wonderful mom and I can only imagine she would be very so very proud of the Mom you are to your little ones. 🙂

    • Oh, this is so sweet, thank you 🙂 She was a great woman and mom, and I think she would have gotten satisfaction from my newfound understanding and perspective now that I’m a mom myself. That’s one of the things I miss most, being moms together.

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