Happy Birthday to Me!!


I’m up early this morning to get my birthday presents from the hubby (and also because this baby boy kicks me in the bladder consistently starting around 5 a.m.). It’s a big day planned today (I’m off work)…with the delivery of some new furniture and a dishwasher. I’ve also got meetings with Cook’s Pest Control and Travis (painter extraordinaire).

Wouldn’t you know last night we were sitting upstairs watching Big Brother when I turned to Hubs and said, “Do you smell something burning?” He said, “Yes, did you forget to turn the stove off?” Not having used the stove, I said no, but we went downstairs anyway. The burning smell was coming from the dishwasher! I had run one last load, but it turns out, all of that will make it’s way to the sink this morning to be washed again. Not sure if it was food or plastic or what, but the heating coils were a-smoking! Thankfully, that horrible dishwasher will make it’s way to appliance heaven today as we welcome a new team member to the kitchen!

It should be a very (exciting day).

Looking back through old social media (TimeHop App), I have to laugh to look at what was posted. I was ecstatic to get a pair of Tory Burch and Coach shoes (still in the closet rotation today), and now I’m thrilled about a new dishwasher and the fact that I ordered some decor for the baby’s nursery. 🙂 Times have certainly changed, as it’s hard to get too excited about clothing when everything has an elastic waistband! Just kidding, I still love clothes and want to be an adorable pregnant person, but finding the cute stuff is like looking for a needle in a haystack when all the local haystacks are 45 minutes apart or online!

What hasn’t changed this year is how aware I am of my blessings. We are in a new home that is soon to be filled with the squeals of a baby boy who will carry the heavy names of two of the most important men in mine and Hubby’s lives. We are surrounded and lifted up by love and support from friends and family (more important now than ever as we have no idea what we are doing).

I read an old birthday blog this morning and this was posted in it:

Like I said, I am so blessed and couldn’t be more aware of it as I turn 25. I know Pop would be proud of the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with. This would be his 82nd birthday (if I’ve done my math correctly…and don’t assume that I have).

On our last birthday of the 20th century, Pop wrote me a letter. (Yes. A pen and ink letter on wide-ruled paper.) I’ve carried this letter with me since the day he gave it to me and I’ve used it, like a Bible, when I have needed words of wisdom or advice.

At 13 he said to me, in this letter, “The next eight years will be tough ones for you as you will make decisions during this time that will affect you for the rest of your life.” Boy was he right, but the other words he provided helped me in dealing with that. Here are some of the things he said:

– Hold fast to your faith in God, no matter what. That faith will get you through some very rough waters and God will always be there to help if you ask.
– Your mom is a great lady…It takes real love to be able to guide children in the right path.
– Although popularity and acceptance are desirable, you must maintain your own style and adhere to your own standards.
– Keep a positive attitude toward learning. Maintain a high level of curiosity and purpose. Question things that strike you wrong and use the vast resources you have (internet) to verify what you think.
– Stand up for what you believe is right, but if you find you are wrong, don’t be afraid to change.
– Family is important.

Possibly, the most important lesson he gave me in this letter, though I go back to a lot of them often, is this: “Remember where you come from. It will help you immeasurably in deciding where you want to go.”

What a bright and knowledgeable man my Pop was. It was as if he knew, at the end of the 20th century, that I would need these words long after he was gone and that, at 13, I might not be patient enough to hear them. He gave them to me long hand so that I can carry them with me always. As I said, he wrote this letter to me on September 18th, 1999. He died February 21, 2001…just one year, four months and a few days after he wrote this.

I feel so incredibly blessed (and I know I say that a lot) to share my birthday with him and hope that he is always proud of the things I am doing. He may have an urge to nag once in a while, but, in the end, hopefully sees that I’m getting where I should be based on the heartfelt advice he gave me over 12 year ago.

Happy Birthday, Pop.

All these words still ring happily in my heart, but more so now as I close the first year without my Nana on this earth. Since I wasn’t blogging at the time, you may not know she passed away very close to my birthday last year, but I was extremely lucky to spend an unusual afternoon with her in her last few weeks where she was incredibly (comparatively) lucid and present. It was such a blessing, one I’ll always cherish. At one point during our visit she said to a nurse, “Thanks for being patient with me.” Though the quote is out of context here and wasn’t spoken to me, the words ring in my ears often as patience isn’t a strong virtue of mine. And when I feel myself growing frustrated, I sometimes say replay them.

Going back to Pop’s letter, two pieces of advice stick out now more than ever.

First, he said “Hold fast to your faith in God, no matter what. That faith will get you through some very rough waters and God will always be there to help if you ask.” Y’all, I prayed so much for the safety of this baby I’m carrying in the month leading up to us discovering we were bringing a baby into the world. I still pray now, but at that time I was praying for guidance on buying a house and for knowing where we should settle. When I found out I was pregnant, I prayed to know how to nurture the baby and that it would grow and be safe. We were terrified in the beginning something would happen–because we were so shocked it happened so quickly. When the contract on the sale of our house fell through after we’d bought the new one, I prayed that it would sell quickly and to someone who would enjoy it as much as we had. I prayed every morning in my car that it would all work out. I asked for a lot of help and while the results weren’t always what I wanted or caused a little stress, it has all worked out. All that’s a little heavy, I know, but it’s a strange feeling to be responsible for growing another life. It’s not at all like the movies!

Pop also wrote in his letter, after telling me what a great lady my own mother is, “It takes real love to be able to guide children in the right path.” I believe at the time this advice was meant more as a suggestion to a teenage me to go easy on my mother and to understand how difficult it can be to, first, raise children, and second, raise them on your own. But, who knows, he might have been providing insight to me about how to be a good mother myself…like don’t try too hard or be too tough. He put a lot of thought into the letter he wrote and it is one of my most prized possessions. I am always in awe of how timeless the advice is and how each and every word resonates in a new way each time I read it.

I have no idea what kind of mother I will be and, according to Pop, I won’t learn everything I need to know until I have grandchildren of my own, but know that I already love this baby and that it doesn’t stand a chance against all the love everyone else already feels for it too.

This has already been such an amazing week and it’s going to be a great birthday. Hubby says the theme is “comfort” and he couldn’t be more right. Not only did he get me some very relaxing gifts (a bath pillow, a hammock pillow, new North Face pants, and a massage Giftcard), we are nesting and I have two days off from work (a four day weekend). Plus, we are having a big family dinner at my Mom’s on Sunday.

Y’all I really couldn’t be more thankful.

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