So, without too much fanfare, I turned a year older last week. I hadn’t planned anything, until my good friend Pat – godmother to the ‘Lil Nugget – guilted me about never seeing me alone anymore. “You’re going out for your birthday. Get a list of your friends together and figure out where we’re going.” As much as I love being forced to celebrate my birthday and organize it simultaneously, I decided a casual round of drinks was advisable. The local Tiki bar it was!

Well it turned out I didn’t need a “best friend” collage, birthday candles or a round of glow-in-the-dark umbrella drinks to let me know the earth had revolved around the sun yet one more time. Instead, as I knelt down to pick up my 15 month old off the living room floor, Old Man Time snuck up behind me and gave me a swift cosmic kick in the butt. SNAP! What felt like an elastic band breaking in my kneecap sent me recoiling with an “Oh shit.”

That was about 4 days before my birthday. Did I go to the ER? No, because I’m an idiot who thinks I’m still 20 and in total control. Well, after a weekend of denial and intermittent yelps of pain, fast forward to me ending up in the ER at Providence St. Joseph’s anyway, the day before my birthday. Apparently, the nurse admitting me thought it was sweet to say, “Oh, it’s your birthday tomorrow! Isn’t that nice?” No, dammit, no! It’s not nice. I’m in an ER with a gimpy leg.

I got a knee brace, crutches and pain meds, and got told to stay home and rest before the orthopedic surgeon would see me days later. Crutches? Hilarious. The ‘Lil Nugget just looked up at me with those big hazel eyes and laughed fiendishly as though she actually enjoyed this moment. Suffice it to say, the birthday drinks at the local Tiki bar were canceled. And in case you were wondering, if anything will make you fully appreciate aging, it is, in fact, getting maimed on your birthday and staying home with your leg in a brace.

I never had an HMO before and now I know why – they should be banned. STILL waiting for an MRI approval after a week! This makes me fantasize about moving to France and having government workers come over to make me tea and do my laundry for free. I even had a job offer from Dubai last week and considered it.  “You want me to wear a veil but you’ll give me free day care, an apartment and a car? Okay, whatever.” The only thing that stopped me was remembering that I can’t stand the summer heat in Los Angeles anymore, and then realizing how much worse that might be in a giant middle eastern desert with a black sheet over my head.

So I’m a year older. So what? So are you, and you and you and we all keep on going. And we do it because there isn’t anything more epic than a mother’s strength and willpower. Nothing seems to stop us from simply getting up and dusting ourselves off – especially us single moms who don’t have a safety net. We just trudge on and find the humor in all of it, and keep picking up the baby, making dinner, climbing up the stairs, and doing the laundry.

They say men are physically stronger than women, but I say, don’t believe it for one second. Physical strength can never reach it’s potential without mental strength and determination and we women have it in spades, especially us moms. We’ll do anything for our kids – lift cars, move mountains, run a marathon… keep truckin’ moms. So what do I say to limping into another year?

Bring it on.