Every year my daughters have been alive, I have written them a letter on their birthday. I keep it tucked in a box for when they are older and can appreciate their sappy mom’s heartfelt words. This year I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to write a birthday letter to myself, or rather about myself. Today is my 35th birthday. Looking back it seems like those years have flown by and dragged on all at the same time. Those years have carried me through so many pivotal times in my life thus far. Many milestones, accomplishments, failures, losses as well as triumphs along the way.
My twenties were filled with figuring out who I was – my career, what I wanted out of life, what was important, who I wanted as a partner. I finished college, went through several jobs, moved cities, left relationships, eventually landed back in my hometown, and met the love of my life. This was a time of transition and finding independence, navigating being on my own and sorting through who I wanted to be and what I wanted for my life down the road. Let me go back to ‘love of my life’. Now, when I say this, please know I mean it from the depths of my soul. Brook is the man that was made for me, in each and every way. When lovers become best friends and life companions, it is truly a beautiful thing. Over the past seven years, almost married for five, we have seen many ups and down, but still wake up every day putting us first. We have grown together through conflict, parenthood, and everyday stress. He is my homebase, my rest from the storm at the end of a long day. We can talk about everything and nothing all at once. I have learned such patience and understanding from our relationship, and when I step back and take a look from the outside, I would want a relationship just like ours. Full of that raw, honest love that manifests as true respect, support and understanding for one another. We are partners till the wheels fall off, and believe me, I would figuratively bury a body for that man.
Before I married Brook, I spent my 30th birthday crying over my birthday cake, thinking I was now officially ‘old’. There might have been alcohol involved, but looking back on when I was ‘that girl’, I could not have been more wrong. My thirties have so far proved to be the fullest years of my life. Full of love, laughter, and most importantly growth, albeit uncomfortable at times. With this growth has come confidence. I no longer look at the girl in the mirror and see a girl, confused and directionless. I see a woman, a wife, a mother. I see a force to be reckoned with, a power inside me that fuels me forward, even on down days. I see a woman who can hold her own, and knows who she is. Everyone says that their 40’s are where it’s at, so I will continue to welcome each coming year, if with each year, I learn more about myself and more about who I am. It’s been a beautiful thing to get to know me, and there is so much more to uncover.
At 31, I became a mother. At 32, I became a mother for a second time. And now at 35, I am about to become a mother for a third time. All girls, who I want to conquer the world. To live bravely without fear of shame, judgement, or hate. It seems surreal, and oftentimes scary, that I have been tasked as their mother. But, if I am anything, it is determined. If I want something, I will work tirelessly to get it. If I want to achieve something, I won’t let anything stop me. If someone says I can’t do something or be something, I say ‘watch me’. And motherhood is no different for me. With having children, especially girls, I feel this unrelenting urge to be a better woman for them, if not myself. I want them to see a woman they want to be one day. I want them to see an example of strength and grace under pressure, who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Who is assertive and sure of herself, and can be decisive yet kind.
As I want to be their leader and their teacher, they also teach me things each and every day. They start everyday on a full tank, ready to conquer anything – full of joy and possibility. I aim to see the world through their eyes, to not be jaded by my adulthood and responsibilities and stress. They have also taught me not to let my anger get the best of me. As patient as I think I am on my best days, they are there to remind me, rather test my patience. I have learned I am not perfect, and nor, do I have to be. They look at me with all the love in their eyes, no matter what. No matter if I’ve showered or have makeup on. No matter what, I am their mama and that is enough for them. I am enough just as I am. I’ve learned to accept love, which was always something I felt I had to earn rather than deserve. I have learned to accept help and support when I need it, and even when I think I don’t. I will always have struggles and shortcomings, but I want those that have been on this journey with me to know they are loved and appreciated beyond words. I want everyone I care about to know where they stand with me.
And finally, the biggest lesson I will take away from the past time I’ve had in this life, is life is but a glimmer, a speck in the cosmos. If not now, when? Run, rather sprint after what you want and who you want to be for yourself, for your spouse, for your family. You are perfect just as you are, and anyone who knows you is lucky to be in your presence if only for a moment on this earth. Leap without fear, and love without regret.