Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Post. Happy Birthday!

Dear Alicia,

I know you like numbers, so on your birthday, I worked some out for you.

Today marks three and a half decades since you were born.
When you were born, there were four point two billion people on earth.
Now there are seven billion.
You've seen seven leap years.
You've experienced four hundred and twenty full moons.
You've been around for twelve thousand, seven hundred and eighty four sunrises and sunsets.
The minute hand has traveled around the clock three hundred six thousand, eight hundred and sixteen times since you were born
Thirty five times, you've circled the sun.
That's a travel distance of twenty billion, four hundred twenty million, forty nine thousand, six hundred and seventy miles.
A journey that has lasted eighteen million, four hundred eight thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes.

Just surviving all that is a cause worth celebrating, I mean, those are some pretty impressive statistics. But that's nowhere near the whole story. On this, your thirty fifth time around the sun, there are other numbers that begin to tell other stories about you. Such as...

One Hundred and Sixty - the distance in feet that you survived in a truck, tumbling over a cliff in the Rockies.
Eleven fingers and thumbs (well, now ten).
One mother.
No father.
One Sister, one brother.
Thirty (or more) relocations.
One husband.
One marriage.
Fourteen Years.
Seven pregnancies.
Four children.

The story begins to unfold here, but even still, there's so much more that the numbers can't tell. The countless meals, diaper changes, arguments, tears, laughs, sorrows, losses, gains dreams, nightmares, fears, friends, births, deaths and every experience in between can't be understood by quantifying them as statistics. Your journey is such a unique combination of everything that it can only be understood in the context of story.

Every good story has chapters where the main character experiences hardship. If there's no difficulty, hurt, pain or trials, the story gets dull and we end up not caring to find out what happens in the last chapters. But in a truly great story, when the main character overcomes against the odds (as they alsways do in the best stories) the stark contrast between the adversity and the triumph is what makes our hearts leap. We want to come back and read that story again and again because it becomes an anchor of hope to everyone else who identifies.

This is a year of milestones for you. A year of breakthrough. A year of conquering. A year of taking back territory, of tearing down walls, facing fears, storming past inhibitions, saying goodbye to chains, locks and lies and taking claim of what is rightfully yours - your life. Your freedom to live, to be healthy, to have joy, to celebrate, to wear bright colors, to dance, to sing, to walk a hundred miles, to absorb love, to share love, to speak boldly, to live the width.

Your story is worth reading. And this is the day that you became unafraid to tell it.

I'm proud of you.

I love you.

Happy Birthday.

P.S. There's one last number to take note of... it's the balance of our bank account and it's not a very big number right about now, so I hope you don't mind that I haven't bought you a present yet. I want to take/send you shoe shopping or bra shopping or well, just shopping in general, so gimme a couple days and a few pianos to tune, and we'll make it happen.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

April 1

I hear your words before you say them. "Come on in!" The way you greet us, with a grand smile. For years I wondered in awe.. How you knew, just how to welcome my heart.

Through the door I watch as children scurry around, throwing their coats at us, their selves at the familiar. And you can't wait until we all gather together, within your home.

You watch each of your grandchildren with an articulate heart. You are one who learns their quirks, their needs, the way they open up in new circumstances. Thank you for sharing your own thoughts from your heart.

Thank you for being my Mom.

We know each other on another level. One where I was afraid of rejection, and held you at arms length. One where 15 years has taught us that there is beauty in perseverance in the eyes of both beholders.

This is a monumental year. The year we celebrate all that you have travelled through to get here.

Happy Birthday, Celebrating 60 years!!

I love you, Mom.