Sunday, August 25, 2013

24 and the best birthday gift!

Two weeks ago tomorrow, I celebrated my 24th birthday! So, yes, this post is overdue and I've been slacking a little with blogging... that's only because so much has been going on... Anyways, I wanted to share some birthday thoughts...

I truly cannot believe I'm already in my mid-20s. Because my birthday has always fallen right around the start of a new school year, August feels like a new chapter in my life beginning, with being a new age and starting a new grade or whatever I've done each year (which every year of my life has been different than the year before). It also feels like a new chapter beginning at the start of each new calendar year, as well as around Lily's birthday.

Whenever one chapter ends and another begins (whether I get another year older, another year passes, or Lily should have gotten another year older), I feel a certain heaviness. It feels as if I'm getting farther away from Lily. I was only 19 and 20 when Lily was here, so it's strange for the years to keep marching by so quickly. It may sound strange, but it feels like I'm leaving Lily and Luke behind in my younger years. I imagine that turning 30 will be really difficult, like I'm leaving them in another decade of my life.

It makes me sad that both Lily and Luke never got to celebrate one single birthday and I've now celebrated 24.

My birthday also brings back memories... I am glad Lily got to be here with me on my 20th birthday (she was growing within me). But, then I think to my 21st birthday and how we had planned to go to the beach with my should-have-been-almost-five-month-old. We had wanted to go with a friend we met at the pregnancy center in the pregnancy/birth/parenting class. She ended up having her baby girl, healthy and happy, less than two months after Lily was born. We never went to the beach. We had even gotten the most darling pink dress that would have fit Lily at that age. I wanted her to wear it on her mommy's 21st birthday.

I wish Lily was here to celebrate each of my birthdays with me. She should be here for every birthday until I die. I never could have known that I'd have to give her back so soon... four years after the birthday she was here with me, I never imagined I'd be finalizing the plans on her memorial stone... and that's what I'd have to look forward to. Not watching her grow and change.

Does anyone else whose lost a baby struggle with birthdays?

My life is sprinkled with bittersweet moments. The Lord is always there to lift my spirits and to remind me that He has a plan for it all... and will continue to make beauty from ashes and work it all together for good.

This year, He made my birthday extra sweet, by showing me in a special way that Lily will never be forgotten. A very dear friend of mine named Stacy raised money for Lily's stone, in honor and memory of both our girls. Her precious daughter Rachel also went Home to be with Jesus in 2010. Stacy found out I was working on paying off Lily's stone and said she wanted to help. So, during the month of August, the month of her Rachel's diagnosis (read more of her story HERE), she raised $823 through her Non-Profit, Baby Rachel's Legacy!! To make an amazing gift extra sweet, the fundraiser wrapped up the day before my birthday... so she told me the final total on my birthday! I am blown away by the kindness and generosity of others! This is the best birthday gift ever. I had no idea she'd be able to raise so much, close to what I need to finish paying everything off! Stacy said one of the donations even came from Switzerland... it touches my heart to have people around the world thinking of and talking about Lily. It means more than words can say to have others honor Lily with me in this way. Thank you so much Stacy and Rachel - I love you both! And thank you everyone who contributed! The Lord is so good to me to put this on Stacy's heart, for my Lily girl.

*I am about ready to wrap up the fundraiser I'm doing for Lily's stone... if you are interested in contributing to help with the little bit more needed, click HERE.*


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