My thirty second birthday felt a bit like New Year’s Eve. Lots of memories of the last year, memories of my life in fact, and looking towards to what will come in the next year. Still feeling like a girl, but knowing that I’m not. I’m a wife and a mother and I’m not a girl anymore…not really.
In the evening of my birthday, I started playing the piano. I’m not the pianist in our house…Francis is. In fact he is not allowed to play any of my music because he plays it so much better than me. While I went as far as Grade 7 on the piano at school, my technical ability is lower. I learnt the pieces for the exam. I only play a few pieces now; a waste that I don’t feel particularly proud of. My favourite pieces are from Les Miserables, and when I played them for Ruth that evening, the memories of my youth came flooding. Seeing Les Miserables and falling in love with it; dreaming of singing it on stage one day; the dreams of what I might do when I was older; being at secondary school…so young, but also being the oldest and wisest I had ever been. I have played those pieces for years. They transport me to so many times in my life; the way that music can. I wondered what my younger self would have thought of me now. I’m doing and have so many of things things I dreamed about. While I never sang in Les Mis on stage, I have a husband who I love…truly and completely (even though he is slightly in the dog house for his lack of birthday planning, but then again he is topping up the gin and tonics to make up for it and he is mine and just thinks differently to me); two beautiful little girls who I love fiercely, completely, exhaustingly, frustratingly and unconditionally; we have the thatched cottage my seven year old self dreamed of, although it isn’t painted pink (but my thirty two year old self is kinda relieved re-painting the whole house will never be on the to do list) and I am a stay at home mummy…what I always hoped I would be able to do when I had children.
In so many ways I am more myself now than I ever was at school. I put that down to finding my soulmate and being loved in a way that makes me feel safe and comfortable. But I do see parts of me that have been lost a little on way. I did used to play the piano, but more than that, I used to sing. I loved to sing and I was good at it. However, I was a dreadful sight reader, and when I was thrown into the sea of good singers at University, I backed off, and let that part of me become unpractised and fade away.
So in the spirit of it being a new year, I am going to prioritise one thing…being myself. The girl I was and the woman I am. Because let’s face it…they have rather a lot in common. I hope it means that I open up a few more pieces of music this year, but if I don’t, I have to remember that things do change. While I might not have the time to dedicate to hobbies like I did while I was at school, I am watching my girls enjoy their childhoods and relishing this precious stage of my life.