I am finally 30 years-old. I feel great.
My husband, Josh, and I were having a night time picnic under the stars on my birthday, when I got a call from my Dad. I couldn’t remember the last time my biological father ever wished me a Happy Birthday. I looked over to Josh and he said, “Go for it honey, pick it up.”
He missed just about every single birthday, Christmas, school play, parent-teacher conference, and major milestone in my life. So, it came as a complete surprise when he called me.
“Hey Dad,” I said.
It didn’t take long to realize that he wasn’t calling to wish me a Happy Birthday. Josh was looking at me eagerly, and I shook my head at him. I smiled at Josh reassuringly.
My Dad was calling to see if I had some time to help him with a job application, and it made me smile knowing that he was still looking around on his own. Yes, of course I’d love to. I listened to the excitement in his voice, brimming full of hope at any opportunity to better himself. My heart was warm for him.
After I got off the phone, I grinned at Josh and said, “He was so close, right?!” I wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t know it was my 30th birthday. I wasn’t hurt like I use to be when I was little. Instead I felt this wonderful sense of gratitude that my universe gifted me with the opportunity to hear from him that night. He is healthy, he is hopeful, and he is living his life to the best of his abilities.
As I leaned into Josh and laid there looking at the stars, I realized how far I’ve come in my own personal journey. I held onto so much of the pain and disappointment of my childhood and felt crippled by my past. It prevented me from being able to love and trust those who were close to me. I’m so glad that I’ve had such supportive friends, family, and mentors who have helped guide me to where I am today. And now wanting to reach out to others who need the same.
I met with my Dad this morning to help him with his online job application. At one point I playfully leaned over to him and asked, “Dad, do you know what’s in the month of July?” I couldn’t help but poke fun while he started thinking. Then it clicked — he laughed and said, “Your birthday is on the 22nd!”
I laughed at him and said, “Noooo… it was a couple of days ago… but you did call me that night.”
I asked what he thought about my turning 30, and his response was, “Wow… When do you graduate?!” It felt so good to sit there and create new memories together, and see him continuing to stay healthy both mentally and physically.
I shared with him that I had visited Grandma’s grave on my birthday. I was at her memorial service, but never managed to visit her grave until a couple of days ago. There were still things that went unsaid between us before she passed — her agony in not knowing my father’s (her son’s) fate, and the relationship we had together. It was a very difficult time for everyone. I wanted to feel closer to her in the place that she knew she would rest while she was still alive. As I combed through the graves of others laid to rest, I found myself talking out loud to her.
“I love you. I am sorry for the pain that you experienced while you were still here. I know you understand my heart now, and what I was trying to do. He will be okay. We will be okay.”
I have learned a lot about life, love, acceptance, letting go, and appreciating what we have today. Every day is a challenge, every day is a new day. As I shared all of this with my Dad, I asked him what he thought about the afterlife. He grinned at me and said, “We’ll find out someday, won’t we?”
Yes. Yes, we will. Our bodies will die, but our minds and spirits won’t. This life is a gift and I am so grateful for all of it — the good and the bad. Bring on the 30’s!!! I’m looking forward to continuing the journey and following my heart.
Until next time…