Honestly though, I can’t really believe how much my life has changed in the past year. When I turned 26 last year, I was entering my second trimester of pregnancy. I had just started getting maternity clothes (in fact, my parents got my some for my birthday). I was looking forward to the best year of my life yet. Year #26 brought about dramatic transformations of my body, my mind, and – most of all – my heart. As I sit here on this birthday morning, sipping some coffee and watching Russ take a good nap in his bassinet (yes, he still fits in it at almost six months old…small miracle, right?)…there isn’t a thing I could ask for, truthfully. If you had stopped me on my 20th birthday (SEVEN years ago…kinda crazy) and asked me what life I wanted in the future – this is IT. Completely. This is the life I dreamed of and I just can’t believe that I am so incredibly blessed.
God has a funny way of leaving signage on the roads we travel in life. For a few weeks now, we’ve felt like it was our job to just sit back and let him drive, but we knew something big was coming up. Monday, we found out what that was. Jonathan has been working really hard towards bettering his career, and he got a big promotion at work. I am so proud to say that my husband – still 26 years old, at least until June – is now a SENIOR auditor in his department. To give you some perspective on that, the other SA is in his mid-to-late 30s. I am so stinkin’ proud of my husband. He just is an incredibly hard worker, someone who will give you the shirt of his back and who doesn’t mind breaking a sweat and getting some blisters in order to achieve his goals. I’m constantly impressed with him, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. He completely deserves this, but we both had to marvel at the way God brought this all about for us. So that was a nice early birthday “gift,” honestly. It has calmed a lot of questions we had about how we were going to keep our savings up and work towards future goals as a couple and as a family.
As for my “official” birthday stuff, we keep it pretty simple. It’s funny how our birthdays calm down as the years go by. Six years ago when I turned 21, everything has to be “just so.” It was all about me (as it should be at that age, honestly), there was partying to do, and all my pals (and even a few family members) were there to help me with that. We had a great time, but I honestly don’t know how I ever put away quite that much booze. It’s a little scary. But even years before that, there was always a ritual birthday thing that my mom and I did together. From about age 10 or 11 on, mom would let me cut school on my birthday (as long as I was doing okay with my grades) and we’d made an appointment for me to get my hair cut. I LOVED getting my hair done. I’d shop through hair magazines for a cut that I liked and we’d go and have it done and I just felt so grown up. After the hair, we’d go to the mall and go shopping. I usually ended up getting a ton of clothes because my mom and I can really kill a good sale. And as per tradition, after the hair and the shopping, we’d go to Red Lobster and have lunch. Why Red Lobster? Well, I’m not sure. Maybe it was the fact that we didn’t really go out to eat all that much when I was a kid or the fact that the waiters always brought me extra cherries in my Shirley Temple. Whatever the case, birthdays were always so much fun. Mom and I would have a blast. Occasionally my sister would take off work and come along with us, and those were even better birthdays.
I have always looked at my life and marveled at how charmed it seemed. I mean really…it’s a charmed life. Sure, I’ve gone through “stuff,” the trial and tribulation of certain challenges. But overall, it’s a damn good life. I don’t deserve it all. The best birthday gift I could ever imagine was laying next to me this morning, cuddled up against me after his early morning feeding. I looked at him and thought to myself “Wow…yeah, it won’t get much better than this.” And I love that. In Year #27, I feel like I’m on top of the world. Look at what I’ve accomplished in the last six or seven years:
I graduated from college.
I met and married the greatest guy I’ve ever known.
I moved to a new place and learned that home is not stationary.
I adopted a rescue dog who is the sweetest animal in the world.
I bought my first house and did renovations to it…three times.
I climbed out of the pit known as disordered eating.
I repaired a rock-bottom body image.
I beat exercise addiction.
I realized that I was damaging my marriage in some ways and took action to fix it.
I saw NIN perform three times, including one show where I was front and center, on the rail, and go a wave from Robin Finck. I mean, HELLO?!!
I conceived a healthy baby and had a healthy pregnancy, despite docs’ claims that I wouldn’t be able to. (That was all God, by the way)
I gave birth. Oh my GOD, I gave birth to somebody. That is CRAZY!!
I took a chance on becoming a stay-at-home mom, despite the scary economy.
I learned to have faith.
I learned to accept and even like the person that God made me.
I learned to live.
I found my joy.
Not to toot my own horn here, but I look at that and I’m really excited. If I can accomplish that in just six or seven years, I wonder what I can do in a lifetime. Whatever it is, I hope I can make those who love me proud, and I hope my children will know that it was all for them. I guess that just about says it all.