Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Quarter of a Century

Yesterday, August 12th, I celebrated my 25th birthday. I am a QUARTER OF A CENTURY, people! Where have the years gone?? I had quite a lovely day.

Did you know that the frontal lobe of the brain doesn't finish developing until age 25? Well, we have this joke in my family that anytime somebody makes a not-so-wise decision before 25, we say their brain isn't finished developing, so that's the reason/excuse. My grandmother gave me a funny birthday note that says, "Welcome to the world of the fully developed frontal lobe! Happy decisions in the future!" Here's to the next quarter century of making wise decisions! ;)

Anyways, I absolutely LOVE birthdays (especially mine and Lily's) and get really excited about them. Birthdays feel so magical and special. I think I'll always feel that way, no matter what age I'm turning. Despite how much I enjoy my birthday, I can't help but think of the little person who should be here celebrating with me on my birthday. I have already had FIVE birthdays without her.

That first year, when I turned 21, it was so hard because I thought she'd be there then. We planned on going to the beach, something we've often done on my birthday through the years, and even had a darling pink dress picked out for her. I sometimes forget just how young I was when I had Lily.

Here is a side-by-side picture comparison of me at Lily's special spot on my 21st birthday (left) and me at Lily's special spot just days before my 25th birthday (right)... (I'm ironically wearing the same shirt haha!). Since then, I am so thankful that Lily has gotten a beautiful permanent headstone, rather than just having a wind-chime. Looking at my face in both pictures, I can really see a lot of aging and maturity. I only recently realized how I've changed through the years.

The only year Lily was with me on my birthday was when I turned 20. I was in Virginia that year and was just shy of 10 weeks pregnant. I went hiking and swimming at Sugar Hollow and ate at my favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel (where we eat each year on Lily's birthday). I can honestly not believe that was FIVE YEARS ago... it feels like just yesterday, yet so long ago all at the same time.

I was sharing my scrapbook with my mom and grandmother recently and they both mentioned how young I looked in two separate photos from when I was pregnant with Lily. I really do look different. Here is a side-by-side comparison of me on my 20th birthday (left) and me on my 25th birthday (right). I love that picture of me on my 20th birthday because I know that Lily was just a wee one, growing away. In the photo of me on my 25th birthday, I am wearing a necklace with Lily's handprint engraved on it.

My face has changed. My grandmother brought up the saying, "the eyes are the window to the soul," and said how could I not look different, after everything I've been through? Do my eyes tell the story of a mother's love and loss?

I feel an ache in my heart on my birthday for a few reasons.... I wish my daughter was here to celebrate with me. I cannot believe how much time has passed since she was here and that half of my twenties have just flown by. Lily was here part of my teens and in my 20s. And in only five more years, I will be in my 30s. It will feel like I'm leaving her behind even more. Now that I'm 25, I also feel like I should be married by now. I am just not where I thought I'd be at this point in my life at all. As a child and teenager, I always thought 25 sounded so grown-up and mature. Now that I am 25, I'm like... umm I don't have anything that I thought I'd have by this age. My own house, a husband, a few kids, etc. God's plan for our lives is always different than our own plans and I am learning to trust that He has me right where He wants me. I am thankful for what He's done in my heart and life, even if I don't yet have the things other people my age have. I am thankful to be ALIVE.

I promise to live my life for the both of us, Lily Kat. I promise to live my life to the fullest and to honor you with each breath I take. With each birthday that passes, both mine and yours, my love for you only grows.


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