Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today I Am Thirty Seven

Today I think of my mother, getting through a winter pregnancy with a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old...the snowsuits, the boots, the deep snow. I wonder who cared for my sisters while she laboured to birth me. I think of her, the woman who carried and gave birth to me. Dad wasn't allowed into the delivery room when my sisters were born, so mine was the first birth he had ever witnessed.

I was named Stephanie Rose ("with the little pink toes"). I think of the photos I've seen of my mom holding me, gazing into my tiny face with that mysterious mother-love, that boundless force that just grows larger with each new child.

I think of a photo of me as a newborn, nestled in my sister Lana's arms, with my sister Julie looking down at my little face. My relationship with them has been a stabilizing force in my life, and I love to look at this picture of our first meeting. Little did we know that we'd be gifted with a sweet little brother in a few years.

My kids always think they're looking at pictures of Margot when they see me as a baby.

Age 4 or so, with my daddy (and his groovy glasses).

Age 9 or so at my dear Nanny's house in Quebec.

10 years ago: age 27, with the sweet man I met that year.

Tonight my husband and I will spend a night in the Byward Market in Ottawa. We thought of planning our time by looking online for things to see and do. But I decided that we should wander as if we've never been to Ottawa and don't have favourite places. I'm secretly hoping that we'll stumble on some subtle little club where we can hear some live music. I'm secretly hoping we'll eat in a dimly lit, quirky restaurant where the staff won't realise we're the exhausted parents of three little ones, and they'll think we've just recently fallen in love (picture us being serenaded by a mariachi band...)

But what life has taught me so far is that the best way to live is to enter into it with no expectations.

 Follow your feet where they lead you. Find a reason to love the place you're in. Find the beauty in the people you meet. Say yes.

Thirty seven is looking pretty good from where I stand. I thought when I was 21 that I'd have things all figured out at 37. Turns out I was wrong. But the journey is long enough, and maybe I don't have to figure things out. Maybe it's just this, living (and laughing) out loud, loving deeply, listening closely, and always learning.


  1. Happy Birthday, sweet sister!!! I will think of you all day today while teaching expectant parents in Ottawa. Love to you!

  2. Happy birthday! I am ten years your senior, but I, too, have been lucky enough to move forward without the burden of expectation. At the age of twenty, a friend of mine who was a wise, old 34 year-old at the time, told me, "Beware of Expectation--it's the great joy-killer in life," and I have never forgotten it.

    Truly, that is wisdom. I hope your day is joyful.

  3. Happy Birthday dear Stephanie!!
    Much Love
    xo xo

  4. happy birthday dear friend...have a splendid night out...I'm picturing you wandering into some fabulous yarn shops, (after the dinner and dancing of course)!
    xo maureen

  5. Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a wonderful night on the town

  6. Happy birthday to you. I always love how with your wise words you celebrate all of you - who you've been, who you are and who you want to be seem to coexist so cohesively in you. I just love your writing. Enjoy yourself tonight and thanks for spending 36 inspiring so many!

  7. Happy Birthday sweet friend. Hope this birthday is the best one yet!

    Stephanie :)

  8. Happy Birthday Stephanie! Hope you find a lovely spot tonight.

  9. I am so proud to be your big sister and to be one of the first people to meet you and love you in your life. You bring me such huge joy and so much laughter and awareness of the beautiful, funny, sometimes painful and wonderful parts of this life we have. It is a true honour to have grown up with you, to be an aunt of your children, a sister-in-law to your lovely husband, and to be able to call you FRIEND.
    Happy Birthday, my baby sister.

  10. Happy Birthday. It is now after the fact, but may the first full day of 37ness be awesome.

  11. You've been a joy to me all of my life and how lucky I am to see your smiling face almost every day and to recycle yourself in your children.Here's to a summer full of sunshine and diaperless mommy

  12. Happy Birthday!
    PS Still figuring things out as I go - and I'm 56. :)

  13. LOVE the photos.... and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ( little late)

  14. Oh sweet! Hope it was a lovely day Mama.

  15. Just came upon your blog with this touching post. Happy Birthday!

  16. oh my goddess, happy happy happy birthday to you! love the photos of you as a girl!

  17. Gosh Golly Gee this is a lovely post. I was really touched by the picture of you at 27 and then the one ten years later. My hubby and I also like to go to the city and pretend we're on our first date. But isn't it amazing how much richer life gets with more experience and age?


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