Birthdays are a big event in our house. We celebrate as long as we possibly can. It is “Happy Birthday!!” every day from the first event or gift received until the last, which at times has been a two week celebration. Of course, Isabel tends to get the better end of that deal, but that’s just how I like it.
Unfortunately, her big milestone thirteenth birthday came shortly after having arrived in Tennessee. All the great plans that I had for her didn’t pan out the way I imagined them to be (when I am going to figure out that MY plans never quite pan out the way I imagine?!). Nor was it how she imagined. I felt like a pretty big Mommy failure. There was no party, no friends and no presents. The best I could offer her was “…as soon as we are settled in and I have some money we will celebrate just as if your birthday was that day…” I’m certain there was little consolation in that for her and perhaps even less confidence that I would be able to honor it. I am still holding out hope to give her the big celebration she deserves, but it is taking much longer than I would like.
Naturally, I couldn’t allow her day to go by completely unpreserved. I wanted to at least capture who she is and her stage of life. I took her and my camera to Cannonsburgh to freeze frame this moment of her life. She has grown into a lovely young lady with an incredible sense of who she is.
This week is my birthday. 38. I hear the big 4-0 tip-toeing up to the door. For most women, aging is a dreaded thing. But I love it. I wouldn’t trade the wrinkles and gray hair that come with wisdom for youth and ignorance. Notice, I said “youth” and not “youthfulness”. For youthfulness is a state of mind, and I feel more youthful with each year of wisdom.
I remember when I was pregnant, I made a commitment to myself that I would enjoy each day as it was, for what it was; because I was only going to get that particular day with her once. I view my life much the same way. There is no point in looking back and longing for what was or what might have been. And to spend too much time wishing and waiting for what might lay ahead leaves today without anyone to savor it.
To commemorate this birthday (since a tattoo and skydiving are not going to happen), I’ve decided to look at my life as it is in three words (….and parenthetical phrases) recognizing that the direction I move in and the appreciation for it is a gift to myself.
COMMITTED TO LOVE (my God, the verb, Isabel) • LIVING MY LIFE (unapologetically joyfully) • SENSITIVE NOT WEAK (just in case there was someone who was confused: there is a difference) • FINDING MY WAY (literally, the streets here are like the maze on a kid’s menu: up, down, right, left to get to the end) • LEARNING TO RELAX (Really, I am!) • TRYING TO DECELERATE (figuratively, of course!) • I AM UNWRITTEN
What are your three words?