27 delivered like you prayed it would. Many things are different than the year 26. Do you remember the dread that filled you at the prospect of growing older? Do you know now what a gift it is?
This year you have grown. You ripped away parts of yourself that once existed and replaced them with newer versions; better ones. You found your true self and your true God. This year you crawled out of the pit that consumed you for many months and allowed yourself to feel the fullness of joy that was awaiting. When you came back into the light of living you started to see things in their greatness. You noticed your children, your husband, your friends and you surrounded yourself with their love.
They saved you this year.
As you turn 28 today, I want you to remember a few key things.
This year you began to enjoy food a little more and exercise a little less. Your pants are a little tighter but the desserts you have shared over good conversation have been beyond worth it.
This year you fell in love with your husband again; in all new ways. Reading 50 shades of grey may or may not have helped. If you're reading this in 28 years and need to light the flame again, I suggest re-reading all 3 books.
This year you let go of needing to be the perfect mom. That idea of yourself that you carried for so long was replaced by the reality that these kids are making memories with the new you and that's ok. You began to rise up and find in yourself a mom who is capable, loving and devoted. Different, yes. Better? For sure.
This year you re-thought so many of your religious views and let go of them. You experienced a freedom with Jesus that was life changing and moment-altering. Hang tight to all you know now to be truth and when religion re-enters your thinking...spit on it and move on. The grace that you now know is a result of all the growing you've allowed yourself to pursue, despite the agony.
Speaking of agony, this was the year that changed your life and the lives of everyone who loves you. All of your hard work and determination payed off. On July 18 in the dead of summer heat and just two days after her 2nd birthday, Dr. S called and told you that Mabel has NCL. For days you didn't eat and couldn't sleep but you were resilient and in a moment, everything changed. The weight was lifted. The search was over. You started to look at your little girl differently. You had been validated and your life and all of it's complex moments led up to a beautiful release of control and a welcomed sense of peace.
This year the youth that once covered your face was replaced by dark circles and small wrinkles. Although it was difficult at first, you have now really embraced them. They tell a story of who you are and what you have endured. You have earned the new beauty, the aged kind. You have to wear a little more make up to cover all that reveals your pain but when you choose to let it be seen, it is beautiful and vulnerable. And it's ok.
This year you have had to see loss and you have had to think about it more than ever. I believe you finally sense the truth that life and death are all one. They were created in an exact likeness, shared to go hand in hand. Just rest in it and try to remember that eternity is worth it. It's always worth it.
This year you have seen your friends be changed. They have rallied around you and given of themselves in ways that are almost hard to understand. But not really. You have the greatest friends. You have the greatest support system and you should be not only grateful but totally proud of yourself for fostering those friendships when you had so little to give. You kept at it because you know it means so much. They are your lifeline, your family. You should be really honored to have them.
This year you have fallen, risen, grieved, danced, prayed, sang, baked, homeschooled, laughed, picnicked, walked, ran, biked, crawled, kicked, screamed, and loved through the hardest of days. You are a rockstar and you are amazing. You are capable of far more than you even knew and have made for yourself a life that is incredibly deep and meaningful. Don't ever forget the memories that are made in small glances or long belly laughs. Don't ever forget how much you are grateful for this time with your small children and your young husband. Don't ever forget the late night talks with your friends or the middle of the day visits with those who truly care for you.
These days have been incredible and I have a feeling that 28 will pull through in greater ways than 27 ever could. Hang tight. The ride is bound to be wild.
But throw your hands up and do it well.
Just do you, like you always do.