Today is my 34th birthday. I don't want to force too much symbolism less than 12 hours into my 34th year, but I can't help wondering whether there's some meaning in the fact that I woke up in the Jackal's big boy bed this morning. Maybe this is the year I step up and act like a man. Or maybe this year I stop labeling events attended by people 5 years and older than me as "grownup" parties and accept the fact that I am supposed to be a "grownup." Maybe...
Regardless, I think I woke up on the wrong side of the big boy bed this morning. Since the Jackal moved into said bed over a week ago, the nights have been touch and go. It's not completely unusual for me to stumble into his room to comfort him when he cries out only to wake up later confused and slightly out of sorts. It's a bittersweet dynamic really. On one hand, the transition to big boy bed has taken us back in time to the first 3 months of his life when bed time was way more hands-on. On the other, it's wonderful and heart warming to lay there and watch him go through the stages of drifting into peaceful slumber. And when he looks at me in the darkness and says, "I love you," I absolutely melt.
All that being said, I went to bed last night with this romantic idea of sleeping in on my birthday. By sleeping in, I was thinking 7:30 or 8ish. Around 5am I woke up to find him whimpering in our doorway, so I took him to his room and crashed in his bed. Anyone who drinks Scotch now and then knows that no matter how much you brush and gargle, the taste can show up later in the night. Laying there next to him while he tossed and turned and kicked me in the groin, I sensed the taste and flashed forward to the Jackal being on some couch telling some shrink how his old man used to pass out in his big boy bed reeking of Scotch.
By 6:30 or so, I gave up on sleeping and succumbed to the reality that a dull headache will be part of my day. My mood has lightened by now though. The office crew just filed into my office and serenaded me with "Happy Birthday" and cookies. I'm also getting some fun birthday wishes via email. One of my favorites came from my friend Joe, suggesting that I tell everyone "it's going to be the hottest day of the year for the hottest guy." I heard the heat index is going to hit 107 in DC today, so that tag line works for me.
At the end of the day, I'm actually impressed and thrilled to have made it this far. There's one way into this world and infinite ways out. Every day I make it home to my wife and the Jackal, it's an accomplishment. And every night, as I read Goodnight Moon for the millionth time to him in the big boy bed, I truly feel alive and well. Here's to another day, maybe another year, and whatever's around the corner.