in the fall of 2015 we moved back to live in the town where i grew up. my parents still live here, the teachers at the high school are mostly the same, the old man who walks the track without his shirt on is definitely still around. i would meet new people at the same park i remember playing at when i was a kid but this time as a parent. we'd chat for a while and somehow i'd mention that we just moved back and yes i'm from here and haha yes we miss the california weather. and then, more often than not, they would ask 'what year did you graduate?' because they're also from here or their husband is or neighbor or someone because everyone comes back at some point.
the first time i told one of these park moms my high school graduation year it was like i instantly turned in to a pumpkin. a baby pumpkin. not worthy of friendship because of my age. not worthy of talking to anymore because i couldn't relate. i remember that look in her eyes of 'oh, gosh, i'm so old and she's so young and we have nothing in common and wow how does she have 3 kids!?'
more people asked, and i started to get shy about announcing my age. i've always been the youngest mama. having a baby at 22 years old does that to a girl. and i'm okay with it. what i wasn't okay with and what i didn't experience until i moved back here was shame. somehow, no one in southern california cared how old i was. but here, everyone seems to. or maybe, i care too much. i moved back to this neighborhood, down the street from the high school where i pretty recently graduated from and now i have this chip on my shoulder about my age.
but you know what? i'm actually really proud of my age. i shouldn't be ashamed that i'm just 27 years old. i should be dancing around in circles celebrating the fact that i have three children and i'm 27 years old and haha when i'm your age i'll have kids in college and my house will be toy-free and i'll be the cool young mom!. i should. and i'm getting there. i'm working on it. and this past year, the 26th year has been one of significant growth for me. i don't let it bother me (as much) when someone asks my age and gives me that look. i own it. i'm comfortable in my skin, even though it's just 27 years young. i'm no longer anxious or nervous or embarrassed so share my age. i don't go shouting it from the rooftops but i'm willing to talk about it without shame.
so today i'm 27 years old. and i have three kids and life's pretty hard but i know who i am and i know what i want and i know that when i'm 40 my kids will be in college and i won't have to worry about babysitters or preschool or tantrums. and for now, i'm young enough to keep up with my toddlers and i'm pretty damn proud of my age.
but if you leave a comment and call me a 'baby' i'll still be pretty upset and i'll probably call you an old lady, okay? ;)