Mama Writer

Thankfully, 30 Wasn’t My New 20

I just finished my 30th year, (Happy Birthday to me!) and I’m well aware that 30 was supposed to be tough.

People expected me to suddenly feel a rush of aging.

People might have expected me to mourn the loss of my twenties.

A few wrote hopeful little “30 is the new 20!” messages on my timeline.

These feelings probably run through all of us in varying degrees.

But, I wrote a lot of my twenties down. I remember them through the pages, so I don’t feel like I’m losing them.

Plus, while I love how my life grew during those years, looking over my writings from my twenties, the one thing I see that I needed, again and again, was 30-year-old me.

For example, I will have to go on a trip alone for the first time in 9 years. My husband and I have been road trip people since we married. This will be the first time that I’ve had to handle a flight/hotel/adventure on my own since I was 22.

So, when I was planning my trip, all of my 22-year-old issues starting rushing back to me.

When I was in my early twenties, I studied abroad for a session with the UNC honor’s program. It was a great opportunity. We split our time between London and Oxford while studying theater and Shakespeare.

Such a wonderful trip in so many ways.

Also, incredibly difficult.

I had never been on a plane before.

I had never had to deal with passport checks, security procedures, layover problems, missed flights, and exchanging currency.

I did it all, except the initial airport drop off and final pick up, alone.

While I struggled, while I fought to overcome a tidal wave of unprepared ignorance in order to survive the trip, what I desperately, tears-in-my-eyes, wished to have was a traveling companion who knew what the hell she was doing to show me the way.

It occurred to me the other day.

That’s me now. That’s 30-year-old me.

If I were to see a young woman looking lost and alone at the check-in counter at the airport, being told she was sold a problematic ticket, had thus missed her impossible flight, and would have to wait 12 hours for the next one, I would know what to say.

I could help someone through that.

And this new self-assured experience carries over in other ways.

20-year-old me almost broke a middle-aged dude’s hand on that first flight. He turned into an octopus when we were sky-high. I was so proud of myself for strong arming him and finally getting him to leave me alone.

30-year-old me, though, would have started with the pulling his fingers back to his wrist, then stood up and reported his ass, so he would think twice before ever doing that to another woman.

24-year-old me thought she was the worst mama in the world, as I struggled to take care of my first newborn.

Now, I know I was just a regular mom fed a myth about “good” moms. Now, I’m on the lookout for new moms who need to be told how good of a job they’re doing.

My twenties were about learning to take care of myself, then learning to take care of my family. At this point, though, I have those things pretty well in hand. It’s a lot easier to think about others, now.

I’m saying hello to 31, today. As someone officially on the other side of 30, I am happy, proud, and relieved to report that, for me, 30 was not the new 20.

Thank God.


Mama Writer

Traveling with Kids: Where’s My Teleporter?

Traveling with kids has some challenges. I was thinking today, that if I could design a special car to cover all of the needs of a family with littles, I would end up with an RV.

A house with wheels.

Tuesday, Husband and I packed everything imaginable for our family to travel four hours away and stay a couple of nights at my parents’ house. On the way there, we stopped for fast food.

While munching nuggets, my son confesses he’s actually really sick, but he’s been hiding it. He was scared we would cancel our trip if we knew.

Husband and I had packed the car to the brim- but we were still unprepared for that surprise.

Once we got to my mom’s, my son had deteriorated to the point that, if my mom hadn’t already happened to have a thermometer, I would have had to go get one right away.

My daughter started coughing the next morning.

We were all beyond lucky that our destination was my mom’s house. My parents are accommodating and understanding. They helped us through, and my family is home again today, comfy, albeit sniffly.

I can’t help but feel connected to the parents still in it this weekend. So many people won’t do the travel thing until Saturday or Sunday. So many have further to go. So many have smaller kids.

We need teleporters, y’all. Forget the flying car. I bet our littles would still be carsick in those, anyway. In the future, an “RV” won’t cut it. We literally need home to travel with us. 

Until then, parents, when you’re out there in it, you have all my sympathy.

I see you pulled over letting the sick kid be sick.

I see you pulling out an easy mac as your picky kid sits down to grandma’s 8-course dinner.

I see you trying to put your light sleeper down on a pull-out couch while, downstairs, the party continues at a jolly volume.

I, too, see the line at the gas station restroom, and I, too, pray your kid “makes it.”

Solidarity, parents. If I see you, I’ll share my saltines and wipes.

And don’t forget- there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll be home eventually.