I have had many a sleepless night this past week. I have had a lot on my mind and I am a thinker. When my brain gets going I often have a hard time shutting it down. I plot, plan, and organize. It is dangerous for me to get over-stimulated before bed. I have to especially monitor my time on the computer, iPhone, and TV prior to hitting the hay or I can be doomed and liable to be up for hours.

With the new baby due any day now it has been hard for me to settle my mind and sleep. Last week also marked my 35th birthday and although I had very low expectations, as I do every year on my birthday, turning a year older this year was a revelation as to how wonderful aging can be.

My birthday week arrived with little fanfare. Come Tuesday, it was business as usual in the Blaustein household. Because of the Monday MLK holiday, I was looking forward to the short school week with my kids. I love having Olivia in Kindergarten and Georgia in full-time preschool. But our morning routine still has a few kinks to work out leaving much to be desired in making a smooth transition from wake-up to drop-off.

In the mornings, Olivia never lets me brush her hair. She has this thick, wavy, beautiful hair and it often gets tangled in the back. I can totally relate to her not wanting me to touch it because when I was little, my mom would torture me with a hairbrush almost every minute of the day as she tried unsuccessfully to remove the permanent dreadlock that lived at the base of my skull.

On Tuesday I also wasn’t able to tame Olivia’s hair before heading her off to school. I’ll admit Olivia’s hair was looking particularly bedhead-ish that day and as we put her things away in her cubby, two of her female classmates stood by audibly critiquing it.

“She looks like she just got out of bed,” said one perfect-pony-tailed, blond-haired little girl. The other one nodded in agreement. Thankfully, Olivia didn’t hear them making comments. I felt sad that I hadn’t done more to insist that we brush it out a bit before heading into class. Little did I know I’d be the next one under attack.

I quickly pulled out a ponytail holder and went to work on getting her hair up and under control so they would stop talking about it. Then I heard the little blond one say, “And look at what her mom is wearing. Her shoes look like slippers. How tacky!” Horrified I looked down at my Uggs and thought to myself, “Hey!” then I realized they do kind of look like slippers.  Not bunny slippers mind you, but slipper shoes.

I felt a familiar burn reminding me of being back in Elementary school where I was teased relentlessly. Later I wasn’t sure if my pain was the wound of my childhood being re-opened or something I should bring up with Olivia’s teacher. So I chanced it and simply emailed her asking her to keep an eye out for that kind of stuff with those two girls and generally inquiring if Olivia was doing okay with friends in class (still haven’t heard back yet).

I dare those two little girls to come look me up when they are in their 38th week of pregnancy and have three other kids at home. We’ll just see what kind of shoes they are wearing. God help their mothers.

So having narrowed my supply of wearable clothing down to a few pairs of stretchy pants and some loose fitting tops, I tried hard to not let the comments of a few five-year olds deter me from staying comfortable with myself. Although you could say that after that incident I definitely started feeling every minute of both my pregnancy and my 35 years of life.

When my actual birthday came, I didn’t wake up feeling any different than I usually did. I pulled my stretchy pants over my big belly, made sure to wear some different shoes, and headed out to do the day as we always do. After a long day with the kids I had the evening to look forward to. My amazing husband bought me flowers and a beautiful leather and metal Colleen Cordero cuff from Robindra Unsworth (my favorite Petaluma store). And after a tasty dinner with my in-laws, my birthday was over.

By Saturday, you could have stuck a fork in me. I had one of the most emotional days I could have possibly had. My kids threw a fit before I left for another dinner out with our good friends, Jason and Heather. Brent picked me up and we headed down to Graffiti. Outside the restaurant I broke down in tears after almost spraining my ankle because I was wearing shoes that were not my comfy Ugg slippers. I told my husband then and there that I did not want to be going out.

Brent gave me a hug and shepherded me into the restaurant anyway. When the owner turned us around the corner to our table to meet what I thought would be our two friends, I was greeted by “Surprise!” There I saw the familiar faces of family and friends from all areas of my life. Even my mom and 95-year old grandmother had come up to surprise me. I couldn’t believe it. I broke down in tears once again and instantly had people worried that I would go into labor at once.

My husband had planned and plotted for two whole months to arrange this surprise without giving it away (or having anyone else give it away for that matter). I was completely stunned and couldn’t believe the joy I felt in that moment and all night long. My friends and family are amazing people and I realized that I couldn’t be happier or luckier in my life exactly as it is today (even though sometimes I have to work hard to remember that).

Now that the dust has settled, my birthday over, and we are back to waiting for baby. I love being 35 and tacky because even though I am far from perfect, my life far from perfect, it doesn’t matter whether I’m wearing Uggs or not, because I love my life just the way it is. (So there!)









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