i did not plan it this way

Thirty-four years ago I came screaming into this world two weeks late. (I am still apologizing to my mother for that.  And the long labor.  Seriously.  SORRY, MOM!)

And I haven’t been on time for anything since then either.


It was 1978.

Michigan was having some wild weather that year.  The infamous Blizzard of ’78 had happened just a month or so before, and my mom loves to tell how it was snowing when she went in to the hospital to have me and was like 80 when she left to take me home.

I was not an easy child.

I was basically Eddie, only a girl.

I was not an easy teen either, which makes me extremely nervous for Eddie’s teen years.

Anyway, twenty years ago I was an awkward, gumpy eighth grader with frizzy hair and a sad excuse for a “bang” (not bangs, mind you, due to a colic on my mini-widow’s peak) just turning 14.

I don’t really remember much from my 14th birthday.  I know it was on a Friday.  Other than that, this is what was happening back in March of good old 1992…

  • The first George Bush had just raised taxes…after all that “no new taxes” BS that he spouted during his campaign.
  • Bosnia was a brand new nation.
  • Garth Brooks and Color Me Bad were big deals in the music world.
  • Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson separated from Prince Andrew.
  • Mike Tyson was sentenced for rape.
  • Silence of the Lambs was the biggest movie of the year.

If you had asked me then where I thought I would be in twenty years, I would not have listed anything that is in my life right now.

Mostly because I thought of 34 as horribly old and decrepit.

I mean, my mom was in her 30’s.

Ten years ago I was an insecure, naive 24 year old.  This time my birthday was on a Wednesday, and I was dating a guy who I probably didn’t even see on my birthday.  In my insecure, naive way, I am sure I justified this as being totally ok.

I didn’t know by this same time the next year we would have broken up after almost five years together. I was naive, remember?

In March of 2002, this is what else was happening besides my searching for a teaching job and ignoring all the signs that I was with the wrong guy…

  • Afghanistan was invaded…by the US and others.
  • Spain joined the rest of Europe by adopting the euro
  • Switzerland joined the United Nation

And that is really about it.  Slow month, I guess.

At 24 I thought I had my whole life planned out.  I would have still told you 34 was old, but I would have told you I would be married to the guy I was dating (wrong), teaching in the school where I was subbing (wrong), and totally done having kids (maybe wrong?).

And now here it is.  2012.  My 34th birthday.

My day has been spent cleaning up spit up, poop, and crumbs.

I am on leave from a great teaching job so that I can care for my newborn.

I am married to a guy I never ever considered to be date material let alone husband material in all the growing up years we’ve known each other.

I have been pregnant four times.

I have two sons.

I have been to three family funerals since getting married.  All for my husband’s side of the family.

I have three nephews and one newbie due in November.

I have watched all my siblings and siblings-in-law get married…and been a part of each ceremony.

I am a godmother.

I’ve gotten a tattoo.

I’ve survived postpartum depression, antenatal depression, anxiety, and just plain old depression.

Not one thing in my life has happened the way I thought it would by the time I turned 34.

And I am so grateful.

thank you, Missy, for this image. It is exactly right.

Happy birthday, indeed.

I have already gotten three of the best gifts I could ever hope for.


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. That is seriously one of the most joyful pictures I have ever seen.

    And even though your three best wishes are right there with you, I’m sending you extra love.

    Because there’s never enough of that.

    And I’m glad you finally realize that 34 isn’t old 😉

  2. Happy Birthday!! Although I was born in 1977, a little over 6 months before you, I can totally relate to all of the ups & downs life has handed you. Love this post… as John Lennon stated: life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

  3. That picture is beyond precious. Happy birthday! I hope your day is wonderful and your year just gets better and better.

  4. By three, do you mean Cort’s awesome Tigers shirt or Cort himself?? 😉 (because the shirt is pretty awesome)

    In all seriousness, it’s funny to look back and think of what we thought we wanted, and what we have is so different yet so much more perfect than anything imagined back then.

    Happy birthday to you!

  5. I was born in ’79 & also thought, at one time, that 30s were old’ish. LoL

    My senior year of high school, in one of my classes, the teacher had us write a letter about where we thought/hoped we’d be by the time we were 24. We put them in envelopes, addressed them, and planned to see them again in 5 yrs or so.

    We never got them. Such a sad disappointment to all of us! Maybe it had something to do w/the teacher’s nervous breakdown (thanks in part to some of my fellow classmates), but that’s a whole other story.

    Point is, 2 things were in that letter that ended up coming true. I was married and had a baby. What I never, ever knew or expected was PPD/PPA. Woulda been nice for a heads up on that…

    Sorry for rambling!

    Happy Birthday from one of your biggest online fans!

  6. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day and a great year!

  7. Happy Birthday Katie, may you continue to be as blessed as you have been.

  8. Happy birthday! That is a great picture.

  9. Happy Birthday! What a beautiful picture of your family!!! I turn 24 in a couple weeks and this post has be thinking about where I thought my life was headed 5 and 10 years ago. It’s funny to think about how much life changes from the “path” we think we are on…

  10. Love this post…and you and your family too! Also, until that picture, I’d been trying to decide which of you Eddie looks like…and it’s you! You both have such joyous looks when you smile! Have a lovely, lovely day!

  11. Happy birthday, lady. As ol’ Garth said…thank God for unanswered prayers. 🙂

  12. I love this picture. Happy Birthday!

  13. Happy Birthday to my wonderful friend! So glad that I have moved beyond calling you my sister’s friend and now call you friend.
    Lots of Love to you on this special day.

  14. Happy Birthday!

    Hope your day has been above and beyond your expectations!

    Love that picture! You have a beautiful family!


  15. Aw! What a wonderful post! Happy Birthday!

  16. LOVE the family photo.

    And happy birthday. I think that you have found ‘it’ at 34 and things can only get better.

  17. Happiest of birthdays to you..the fun has just begun!
    That picture is all sorts of awesomeness.

  18. Lovely. Happy day!!!!

  19. That is the most awesome family picture I have ever seen!!!

  20. Happy Birthday. This was an incredible post and I love the family picture.

  21. Happy birthday Katie!

    That picture is just so awesome.

  22. Happy Birthday. I read this yesterday and couldn’t comment. You know what they say about life and making plans? Things happen for a reason. Looks like you got lots to smile about now. 🙂

  23. Happy Birthday. 34 is the new 25 😉

  24. Happy Birthday Katie! I’m with you… so very thrilled my life is nothing like what I would have thought it to be so many years ago.

  25. Happy birthday sweets.

  26. lovely post Katie 🙂 hope your birthday was spectacular!

    I also thought I would be done having kids before I was 30… and here I am 8mos pregnant with #2, due just 3mos before my 32nd birthday with probable plans to have a go at one more after this… but probably not for 3ish more years 🙂 I definitely saw the 30’s as OLD, and now I look at my grandparents in their 70’s and think “sheesh! they’re not even old yet!” 😀

    we’ve got a lot of life left in us 🙂

  27. Life is full of ups and downs and they all make a beautiful life! Wishing you more ups than down from here on… Happy belated. xoxo