My husband and I went to a surprise birthday party last weekend for a co-worker of mine. She was turning 23. It was a very different experience from the other surprise birthday party we had last month, for a childhood friend of mine. She turned 40 today. It’s funny how much of a difference 17 years can make. For example, at the party for the 23 year old, we all yelled “Surprise!” as she walked in with her boyfriend and her dog, and she responded with excitement, “Wow! What the $#@&? This is so awesome!” At the party for the 40 year old, we all yelled “Surprise!” as she walked in with her hubby and their teenaged son, quickly buttoning her pants back up because she had planned to run into the bathroom after entering. I totally get it, because when you’re a little older and you need to go…well, you need to go NOW. So, the beginning of each party was slightly different. As time went on, at the party for the 23 year old most of the guests were downstairs playing beer pong. At the party for the 40 year old we were playing a game that involved answering true or false to a quiz about events that may or may not have happened in 1974 (the year my friend was born). (I won, by the way, because I am full of useless trivia, which can come in handy!) And because we had a babysitter for our kids for both parties, we didn’t stay more than a few hours. But it was strange what my husband said after leaving the party for the 23 year old. He said, “Oh man. How lucky are those people? They have no responsibilities. They can sleep in. I’m so tired.” And I do get it. My husband is fantastic at being the one to get up during the night with our kids, who always need something to drink, several times a night in fact. Or they wake up and say they can’t fall back to sleep. Or they have nightmares. He’s exhausted. And the guests at the party are not married, nor do they have kids. The responsibilities that go along with those things are also, of course, absent, which takes a lot of stress away from one’s life. And so I know why he said that. However, that wasn’t what I was thinking while at the party for my 23 year old friend. This is what I was thinking while at the party: “I’m so glad to have Zander and Zoey in my life. I want to go home and kiss them goodnight, and have a little snuggle too. Ahhh. I’m so glad to be at the stage I am in life.” Being young was great, partying until the wee hours of the morning was fun, and I loved being able to sleep all day long when I wanted to, but having 2 little ones around to laugh with, hug, and hear “I love you” from is better than any of that.