Today I am 41.
Last year, I celebrated my 40th birthday with an array of friends and family. This year it was my sister and I and our children.
Like every day, today was full of hustle and bustle. Children needed to be fed. Diapers needed to be changed. Dishes needed to be washed. There was laughter. There was arguing. There were tears. There was excitement. Eventually there was bedtime.
As I child, I spent a great deal of time daydreaming about the future. I expected my children to be nearly grown when I turned 40. Most of the women I knew had children at a young age. I thought I’d follow suite. I assumed I’d marry. It’s what was done. But I remember thinking to myself, “If I don’t, it’ll be ok. I’ll be alright.” I don’t know where the idea came from. It’s not one that was subscribed to in the Christian world I occupied. It’s not a message I got from any of the movies I watched or books I read. They all involved a predictable end of marriage with the tag line “And they lived happily ever after!”
It’s not that I didn’t want to marry. I’ve not avoided or despised that fate. It’s just that I’ve always believed, if necessary, I can build a life on my own.
That’s what I set out to do when I began fostering 10yrs ago. It’s been an adventure that’s resulted in me adopting four children.
Somehow, on my own, I’ve woven together a family. We aren’t picture perfect. In fact, getting a good picture of all of us seems downright impossible. But I’ve come to accept the imperfections of my life. In my daydreams, I expected motherhood to look more like a Victorian painting. But I’ve let go of that ideal to embrace the reality. It’s challenging. It’s messy. It brings me to tears on a regular basis. But it is, most certainly, a life well spent.
Yesterday, I headed to the bookstore to buy myself a present. Comically, this is the first book I laid eyes on and what I chose to give myself:
It made me laugh. I’ve always loved the word – spinster. I suppose because it makes me think of spinning wheels which leads to thoughts of wool. Knitting being one of my favourite pastimes, I am deeply fascinated by spinning wool. But I digress.
Even when I was free to, I never spent my time looking for a man. Now I really don’t have time to spare. So, I’m embracing the title of spinster now that I’m 41. It’s not something I’m locking myself into. But, at this point, spinster is a badge I’m willing to wear without shame.