Navigating life as a woman & mom in recovery, one day at a time.

Raising Daughters and Turning 33

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I’ll be 33 years old tomorrow.

When you’re an adult, the milestone birthdays are mostly decades. Your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and so on. The middle numbers aren’t quite as Big to most people.

Last month, I had an abnormal pap smear for the first time ever. Yesterday, I had outpatient surgery to remove the culprit(s). All is well, and hopefully it will stay that way. Yay, modern medicine. I’m super thankful I have access to good healthcare, and I made the appointment I’d been putting off for a while. (PSA: if you’re overdue for a smear, schedule it today!)

This afternoon, I was still needing to recover from that surgery, so I got in bed after work. I worked a few more hours in bed, and took it easy. My daughters climbed into bed with me after they finished with their various chores and videos and whatever else they were doing. Craving my attention. We snuggled up, took a bunch of silly selfies, watched the Stranger Things 3 trailer, and then went through old Facebook posts together.

They like to see all the silly things they used to say as kids, and it appears that Facebook has become the holding place for that data (side note: I need to save this stuff somewhere else, at some point). My middle child was usually the most quotable. The actual years on these quotes (“2-3 years ago”) is not accurate – they’re probably 6-7 years ago.

They howled and laughed as we read through all the funny things I shared with Facebook throughout their earlier years. Lots of bathroom humor, those always get the most laughs.

We came across an old selfie of the 3 of us, and it was right after we’d just taken very similar selfies tonight:

Feb 2013

My girls are on the opposite sides in this one. 6 years later and just as sweet.

There isn’t a story behind the photo in 2013 about me being hungover, or drunk, or waiting to drink.

I may have been one of those things, but I don’t remember if so. I do remember taking that picture and enjoying my daughters. I was a pretty good mom, overall. I read to my babies, I took them to the park, I savored my days with them. They wore me out and kept me up at night, and sometimes I couldn’t be the Best Mom Ever, but I won’t pretend that I was worse than I was in order to make the story sound good. 

My children never saw or knew a drunk mom, even though my oldest was 9 when I quit drinking. I kept it separate from them. The only thing my oldest daughter remembers is my breath smelling bad sometimes. They never knew to worry about me, though they are proud of my sobriety. By now though, they probably would have seen it, and they would be far more affected.

I’m not claiming that they are totally unaffected by those earlier years, either. I think it’s probably impossible to have two alcoholic parents, even high-functioning “responsible” alcoholic parents, and be unaffected. But this post isn’t about that – their future therapists can work on that with them.

I’ve wanted to be a good mom since I was maybe 4 years old.

I was just one of those girls who always wanted to be a mom. I’m finally feeling like maybe I’m a good mom, and I’m thankful to God for helping me to be there for my children. My two girls, both approaching their teens years now, especially need me on a much more emotional level these days. They need me here, able to work through things with them, able to teach and guide them to more independence. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be their mother. My son is 7, so I get to enjoy raising a young child for just a little bit longer. Things change so quickly.

On another note, I think my birthday present to myself was a healthier body. I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last 9 months, just taking it one day at a time with better eating and regular exercise. I scheduled a pap smear I kept putting off, and even though it came back with a scary result, my doctor took care of it. There are other health and fitness goals I hope to accomplish before I turn 34, but I’ll save those for another post.

I used to plan big drinking weekends for my birthday. We’d go camping, or bar hopping, or traveling somewhere depending on our budget at the time. I used any excuse to drink to excess. For the last 4 years, birthdays have been much calmer, and I like it that way. Happy birthday to me. 🙂 


Related reading:

“Mom, Do You Still Want to Drink Sometimes?”

A Sober Birthday: 32 Life Lessons

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Sitting on top of Pike's Peak in Colorado, a little over 2 years sober.

Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around.  Read my story...

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