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This past Thursday, July 3, I turned 40. I’ve tried to look at the passing of another decade in a positive light, despite the fact that part of me wishes I could stop time and stay young forever. But I can’t so the next best thing is to celebrate the life I’ve lived and hope to live at least another forty years.

My thirties were important years. I had every one of my three children between the ages of 31 and 37 years. My thirties were also incredibly hard as I often struggled with trying not to lose my own identity and yet not having a second to spare to be anything but “Mommy.” It’s been amazing and back-breaking at the same time–like the saying about parenthood, “The hardest job you’ll ever love.”

My husband asked if I wanted a party to celebrate my birthday and my response was “Heck, NO!” In many ways, this is symbolic of how I have changed and become more sure of myself and attentive to my own needs as I’ve gotten older. I need some “Me,” time and my husband and I need some more “Us” time.  I took matters into my own hands and booked us an overnight at the Patterson Hotel in Denver and arranged for a good friend to stay overnight with the kids. As much as I love the kids, the breathing room that comes with youngest now being three is nice. I don’t miss my babies, I love my kids.

We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and went to an IMAX film about Pandas. We took our time at the exhibits, feeling like we had left someone behind, relishing being able to walk around without chasing, scolding, answering questions or taking someone to the bathroom. That evening we went to a nice dinner in downtown Denver and sat and talked and ate for two hours. I texted the babysitter a few times things like “I forgot to tell you, Cooper is REALLY scared of thunderstorms,” or “How are they doing? Is Kate behaving?” She texted back that everyone was fine and to stop worrying and enjoy myself–but the truth is, I was enjoying myself immensely.

The next day, we slept until almost eight. I was sure I would want to sleep until ten since the kids get us up so early everyday, weekend, summer break or holiday. But the ol’ internal clock has been forever changed since becoming parents and we couldn’t sleep any longer. When we arrived home on the fourth, the kids were glad to see us and we were glad to see them. We had all survived the night away and I think it was good for all us, not just my husband and me. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Since it was the fourth, we immediately started getting ready for the parties we were planning to attend and began packing up the cooler and the swimsuits.

So how does forty feel? To tell you the truth, it doesn’t feel much different than thirty-nine. I think this decade is going to be epic for me and I’m ready to rock it. I’ll leave you with my  Facebook Status Update from Thursday, July 3, 2014:

There once was a woman from Boulder,
And quite snarky (or so everyone told her).
Despite turning forty
She said “I thank the Good Lordy!
And I hope to get even older!”

How do you want to celebrate your birthday this year? With the kids or without?