Last week I was at the pool for the last day before school started. It rained, but the kids had fun. We moms sat under the awning and socialized. Like we always do.
I was talking about my upcoming birthday. And I said it outloud for the first time.
“I’m going to be 50 on Monday.”
And then I teared up.
Because for the first time in my life my age sounds old to me.
I don’t feel any different, and I don’t think I will on Monday. I still need to lose weight. I still am bad at cleaning my house. I’m still a pretty good mom. I still love my husband.
But the number. Geez louise. That number. 50.
Okay, another confession. I’ve been lying about my age for about 25 years. (Holy crap, that seems crazy right there. I’ve been lying about something for half my life!!! And that half my life is 25 years!!!)
It really didn’t start out as a lie. Really. I moved back to Colorado from New York and went to get a new driver’s license at a SMALL town license bureau. He wrote my birth year down wrong, and suddenly I was two years younger.
I didn’t notice it for a few weeks, until I was doing paperwork for a new job. She told me my birthday and my license had to match up. It seemed like a lot of work to go back and change it all at with the state (I was going to have to get my birth certificate and do it all official like), so I just went with that birthday.
It snowballed from there. That birth year is now the one the Social Security office has (because when I went to change my name after getting married, they had to have them match up, and the lady actually says that it would just be easier to go with my license). My passport.
Soon I kind of adopted it. It meant that I didn’t turn 30 for a couple of years (although I did), or 40 (I did–right before we moved to Ohio).
I meant that I wasn’t quite as much of an old mom.
But I still am.
I get confused as to which birth year I’m supposed to put down. So it seemed easier to go with younger, and to tell people I was younger, because there was no way I felt 30, or 40, or now, 50.
I’ve been telling people for years that age is just a number. It is. But somehow it’s easier to say that when it’s not you.
Really, I don’t feel 50 (except somedays, and really those days I feel 90, and those days are usually the day after a big wine night). I’m not kidding myself that I’m a hot 50 year old, but my mind isn’t 50. I mean, the way I thought my mind at 50 would feel when I was 20. But I’m not one of those women fighting age too hard. I fight it, but I need to do more. But I don’t cling to youth. Age is like a cat or a man in his 20’s — it doesn’t like clingy. It’ll go boneless and escape your grasp the moment you attempt to make it stay.
All in all, I feel better about myself than I did when I was 40. I have great friends, my kids can wipe their own butts (Katy was still in diapers when I was 40, and Libby had just turned 3, so I was pretty much still taking care of the tushes), and we live in a pretty nice little city. In general, my life is better than when I was 40.
So I guess I should get over the number, right? I should OWN it.
I’m F***in’ 50.
If I can deal with it, so can you.
—Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly
Mathilde and Claudio are meant for each other, that’s evident from the very start. Bohemian New Yorkers intent on leaving their mark on the world, they find each other and are immediately connected and in love.
But, just like for everyone else, life goes on. And, for most of us, it takes us away from ‘cool.’ As time goes on, Mathlkde and Claudio get married, have children, move to the suburbs, and live.
Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is the story of an eccentric family told in shifting perspectives, starting with Mathilde and Claudio, continuing with their daughters Natasha (overachieving and smart), Lucy (sweet and sensitive), and Carly (adopted from China and unsure of her place), with input from Jane’s brother, Sawyer, and Claudio’s sister, Jane.
More than anything, this is an American story of family. The story of secrets and truths, of life and love, of loss and heartbreak. All the things that go into making a life.
Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is beautifully written and a wonderful story of family. She writes lyrically, making the words flow so gently and beautifully that it was hard for me to put the book down.
At first I wasn’t sure if I liked either Mathilde or Claudio. She is an actress, and very EMOTIONAL. He is sooo cool, a hipster before it was a thing. But, instead of making them quintessentially stock New York characters, Reilly gives them backstories that make them more human.
And then they become parents, and the universal struggle of raising children and doing what’s best for them makes them even more human.
There is also the struggle of doing what’s right for their extended family. Cutting off parents who seem toxic while still caring for their siblings, who were also damaged by toxic parents (to be fair, Claudio’s parents don’t necessarily seem toxic, just STUCK and unwilling to change or to grow). And sometimes doing what’s right includes lying, and then coming clean about the lie.
Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a flowing story, but it’s very character driven. With each Simone and beyond, Reilly creates characters so real, telling similar family incidents and experiences from different perspectives. The book doesn’t pivot on one large conflict, but on a myriad battles on a variety of fronts, just like in life. Large and small, some are won and some are lost, but all go into the making of a family.
4.5 stars! Lovely!