How My Kids Remind Me Age Is Just A Number

On Feb. 3 I will be 35. It's weird to write that because, while there are times I don't mentally feel I'm going to be this age, physically and emotionally I feel so, so much older. I feel as if I've lived many lifetimes because I'm just so tired and have been (seemingly) since birth. There have been moments, though, when my kid reminded me that age is just a number. Those moments are what I hold closest (especially when I find another grey hair or complain about hip pain) when my age doesn't line up with my feelings.

When I think back,at 35 my mom seemed so much older or experienced or something I can't quite pinpoint, than I feel right now. In my heart of hearts, I still liken myself to that of a high schooler; still looking for validation and/or acceptance and still trying to find my footing even though I am a mother. Sometimes, I find myself wanting my mom to handle something, forgetting I'm the adult in charge now.

At the opposite end of that, it's been so long since my care-free days of childhood, I can't remember a time I wasn't an adult. Not really, anyway. My children remind me every now and then that 35 doesn't mean a thing either way as long as I'm still me. So, as we near this milestone birthday, I'm so thankful for that wonderful reminder.

When I'm Challenged To A Dance-Off

Around these parts, there's a whole lot of dancing going on. Sometimes (most of the time) I resist because I'm sore from running or I just really don't want to.

When I was in my teens, I danced my butt off so when one of my kids asks for music and a dance-off, no matter how much I try not to, I always get involved. Of course, I'm always glad I did when I'm finished. Dancing with my kids makes me feel so much younger than I actually am and sometimes, with all of life's responsibilities, that's very much needed.

When There's A Cartoon On (And I Enjoy It)

Aside from all the dancing, there's also a near-constant stream of Nickelodeon and/or Disney shows running in the background. I often resist because, well, why would I be interested in those shows?

By the time we're halfway, through, I'm usually the one not wanting it to end and impatiently waiting for the next episode. It's a small thing I don't remember being so excited about as a kid myself so when I do hunker down to invest on something my kids are into, I'm reminded how young I can feel if I just tap into it.

When We're At The Playground

One thing I loathe is walking to our local park so the kids can play. It's not that I don't want them to be kids and run wild and free (I do!), but that my social anxiety often prevents me from leaving the house.

A lot of the time, when we finally get there and everyone is having so much fun, I typically come out of my comfort zone and, dare I say, have fun with them. Turns out, running around, climbing playground equipment doesn't have to remind me of how old I feel, but the exact opposite (if I participate).

When We Get Out The Toys

My youngest is super into make-believe play right now. He totes around his Legos and superhero dolls like appendages. I'll hear him acting out intricate plays or talking to himself about what they're doing most times of the day but, for the most part, I keep my distance to let him explore without me in the way. This is when I totally feel like a mom.

On the flip side, when I let myself get involved and get into character with him, I see how easy it is to forget about real life and just have fun for awhile. I missed out on these small things growing up so when I fully commit now, it reminds me that I'm capable of letting go for a bit.

When I'm Told I'm Beautiful, No Matter What

So many days, I feel three times my age. I can blame my greying roots, aching bones, and skin that is starting to sag in certain places. So, as a result, I don't always feel as beautiful as when I was younger and arguably more confident (in my pre-baby body).

My kids, particularly my son, tell me often how pretty I look, completely disregarding all the flaws I've pointed out to myself. They remind me nearly every day that regardless of my age, I'm ageless to them.

When I'm Made To Feel So Smart

I may not be old enough to quote things that happened a long, long time ago like my mom or grandmother may have done, and in the eyes of my kids, that's OK. In fact, when I'm caught up on current, social or celebrity matters (things they're interested in), as opposed to adult-ish stuff, I'm literally the coolest person on the planet and no matter what my age, it's a pretty great feeling (mostly because they won't always feel this way about me so I want to hold onto it as long as possible)!

When I Use Slang Correctly And Get Kudos

I realize 35 isn't 95 but, well, some days I feel like it. With slang changing as rapidly as it does, I don't want to be one of those moms who uses it wrong or embarrasses my kid for saying it at all.

There are times, though, I give it a shot and cross my fingers, only to see I've totally used it in the right context and my kids seem quite impressed with me. While it doesn't negate the fact I'm still mom, and still almost 35, the instant I say it right sort of makes me feel more like I'm 20 again. Let me have my moment.

When My Oldest Isn't Ashamed To Be With Me In Public

We've not yet reached the age where my daughter doesn't want to be seen with me in public. We're close, but not there completely. At 10, she's starting to break away from hugging or kissing me outside the home, but for the most part, she's still in her child-like mindset. When I think of having her over 10 years ago, I feel so ancient. I think of holding her as a baby, when I felt like I was still a baby, and how time flew by, and I want to rewind so I can go back and enjoy her when she let me have all of her.

For now, I revel in the moments she hugs without warrant or compliments me without nudging, because it reminds me of all the innocent days before we got to now. While is just a number, there's no greater reminder in what the number represents than my children growing up.

When My Youngest Thinks Literally Everything I Do Is Awesome

Luckily, my son, bless his soul, is still young enough to champion every last thing I do in life. In his eyes, I do no wrong and I grieve the day he realizes how flawed I really am. When I look at him, I don't feel like I'm nearing 35 in a bad way because in his eyes, all I see (besides unconditional love) are all the amazing things I've accomplished and all the things he believes I can do, regardless of age.

No matter how old I am, I'm so grateful I have a loving partner and two beautiful children to reflect back all the things they see, back towards me. Otherwise, I might not realize age has never been a factor in their view of me as their mother. When I blow out my candles in a couple weeks, as I begin my 35th year on this planet, I won't wish for eternal youth or to be young again, but instead, to focus on where I'm at now and where I'm going to be in the future (hint: ruling the world).