last year, on the evening of my twenty-sixth birthday, i sat in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant feeling wretchedly sorry for myself. with my two grumpy boys in the backseat and my very pregnant and swollen self in the front seat, we munched away at fries and chicken strips. that was my lackluster birthday dinner. i felt lonely, i felt fat, i felt homesick for arizona and family and friends and i just mostly felt like i was experiencing a terrible day.
today i came across the blog of a family who lost their beautiful seven-month-old daughter on that twenty-sixth birthday of mine. it felt kind of like a huge slap across the face as i watched the video of her short life story. i vividly remembered my attitude and feelings on that day in my life and i felt incredibly ungrateful. as this young couple watched their child slip away from them, there i sat with my two perfectly healthy sons wishing that i could have a moment's peace from the whines and cries and fighting. there i sat feeling uncomfortable and fat as my body housed yet another healthy and beautiful child. a daughter who i had been dreaming of for years.
i am grateful for that slap to the face. i feel like i could use a few more of them from time to time. here in my own little bubble it is so easy to lose sight of the rest of the world. it's sometimes hard to fathom that the person you pass by in the grocery store actually has a life that is just as real and full and messy as your own. i feel ashamed that i spend so much of my time immersed in my troubles, that i sometimes fail to recognize my great abundance of blessings.
if i could go back to august 12th, 2011 i would march those grumpy boys right into that restaurant for dinner. i would call those people who i missed so much and let them know how special they always made my birthdays feel rather than whining about them being so far away. i would put my hands on that baby belly and appreciate it with all the extra ashley it entailed. i would say a prayer of gratitude for an amazing body that was working so hard to bring my precious little girl into this world. i would call my husband and tell him how i was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with him when he was finally home from work and school. i would thank him for all that he was doing for our family.
the thing about this life that we live though, is that we don't have the luxury of takesies-backsies. instead we have the opportunity of learning and improving ourselves with every misstep. it's hard sometimes to square with myself and accept that i don't always do the right thing. but thank goodness that from time to time i stumble upon the good sense to do just that and then move forward as a slightly better version of myself.
i promise to face this month with a new perspective. one where i see my blessings more clearly. one where i see the hardships of others more clearly. one where i don't wish that kelsie would just let me put her down so i could get something done. one where i don't think it is my children's goal to give me gray hair before my next birthday. one where i speak gently. one where i don't give up on patience. one where i give more love. one where i find more love for myself. one where i accept love graciously.
looks like i have a lot of straightening up to do. say a little prayer for me.