On the last day of my thirties, a decade I was glad to leave behind, I got on a plane and flew to Melbourne with Sean. I spent the last night of my thirties eating tapas at Movida and watching my first Broadway musical ‘The Producers’ (yes I realise I wasn’t seeing it on Broadway, what can you do?). We completely loved it. The energy! The lights! The music! All of it surpassed what I expected of a show that to me sounded like something to try rather than something we’d definitely enjoy. How wrong I was. A funny, high energy, altogether impressive experience under the spire of the State Theatre.
It was a nice way to see out the decade. The long, difficult decade.
I spent most of my thirties in pursuit of motherhood and we can all see where that got me. Us. Childless.
Would I do it again if I had my time over? Probably. You can’t change the past and at the time you’re living through the hardship, you are doing it with a deep, powerful hope in your heart that it will work out. Everywhere around you couples are welcoming their first, second, third happy bundles and you’re standing there with empty arms and an unforgiving uterus.
A spare room that deep down you fear will never become a nursery.
And there were miscarriages. Losses I will carry with me forever, scars and memories.
There was no way to know at the time that it wouldn’t work out. There were no guarantees, no magic charms to give us what we longed for.
But there were lessons. There were gifts. They come in the form of the charming little people who are part of our lives now, just not born of us. We are grateful and we are willing and able to be loving adults in the lives of our nieces and nephew – we are adults who bring with us, amongst other things, a decade of longing and hope which only serves to inform our humanity and our capacity to live and to love.
It was with this knowledge that I greeted the milestone of my 40th birthday, in the city of my birth, our second city, Melbourne. And lest you think I spent most of it staring glumly into glasses of wine mulling over my empty uterus and childless life, fear not. I went to Melbourne to eat, drink and be merry and that’s exactly what I did. Ironically, this was easier without the ‘burden’ of children. Bittersweet irony, really.
I turned 40 in the style I hoped for: eating, drinking and knitting my way around some great restaurants, cafes and pubs.
We saw the excellent and highly informative Napolean exhibition the National Gallery of Victoria.
And we ate, on the night of my birthday at the stunning, top rated Attica Restaurant, our first experience of Molecular Gastronomy, which was nowhere near as intimidating or wanky as I feared it might be. It was in every way a night to remember, and to me, far more satisfying than a big, emotionally draining party. As an introvert I’m much better at a small, quiet dinner than a big event.
And what would a trip away be for me without at least a photo of knitting and a glass of wine? This one was taken at lunch on our last day, where we sat in a lane way Italian cafe and ate pasta and drank wine and farewelled, with a little sadness, our lovely little holiday where we’d done all the things we hoped and from which I was returning a 40 year old woman.
It was everything I wanted it to be.