Every year around the beginning of September, right before my birthday, I like to take some time to reflect on the past year and look at what I’ve gone through and how I’ve grown. Last year when I wrote this type of reflection post, I said that 26 had been the hardest year of my life. Well, little did I know that 27 was going to bring me to my breaking point and force me to go through a lot in order to grow a lot.
As I sit here taking in the past year of my life, I am reminded of my birthday celebration last year and what a beautiful day it ended up being. I always wanted to share about my 27th birthday on my blog last year, but it just never happened. So, I thought I would share a little bit about that today and some photos from my birthday last year.
Last year for my birthday all I wanted to do was get dressed up and go out to lunch like things were normal. My mom, grandma, and Brendan had planned on coming out to lunch with me at one of my favorite local restaurants downtown and then afterwards I was going to have some family over for dessert and coffee that afternoon.
I picked a cute outfit, curled my hair and took a little extra time to do my makeup. Brendan was going to come home on his lunch break, pick Ellis and I up, and then we were going to meet my mom and grandma at the restaurant downtown. Well, as we were about to head out the door, my mom let me know that the restaurant was closed that day. I was so upset. I don’t do well with plans changing last minute, and while I know this was kind of out of our control, I started to lose it and I ended up having an anxiety attack.
My mom suggested that we pick a different place to eat, or that we pick up something and bring it back to the house, but I was too upset and didn’t care at that point. Brendan ended up driving us around for awhile while we decided what to do next. And I quickly started to spiral. On top of being disappointed that things weren’t working out the way I wanted them to, I then started feeling so bad that Brendan took time to leave work to spend his lunch break with me, and here I was crying and not knowing where to go to eat.
I ended up telling him to just pick a place for Ellis and him to get some food and not to worry about me. At that point I was feeling like I was so upset that I didn’t want any family to come over to my house after lunch time. I didn’t want to have to try and act happy and hide how stressed out and disappointed I was. My mom insisted that it would be okay and that everyone would still come over and it would all be fine.
I fought it for awhile, but I also didn’t want to disappoint anyone else by changing plans last minute. So, we ended up picking up some lunch for me and bringing it back home and I ate a bit while I finished tidying up the house before everyone showed up. Brendan went back to work and Ellis and I waited for everyone to come over.
While I was eating my lunch my sister texted me telling me Happy Birthday and asking if I’d like a coffee. I told her that would be so nice and then proceeded to tell her about how the day was just going as planned so far and how I was stressed. Since I knew she had class that afternoon, I figured she would be bringing me a coffee later in the day when her classes were over.
My mom and grandma were the first ones to arrive. I was still bustling around and feeling pretty frazzled and didn’t even realize that my sister was also there. She surprised me by skipping her class that afternoon so she could come over for my birthday. I don’t usually get emotional in front of other people, but I couldn’t help tearing up when I hugged her. In that moment I started feeling the love that I needed most in that moment, even though I had tried pushing everyone away and canceling the whole afternoon. I’ll never forget that moment.
My mom walked in with two big Mum plants to go in the beautiful stone planters that my dad had gotten me for my birthday, and again I felt loved. Not long after that everyone else arrived and we all just kind of gathered around in the living room to chat. I was surrounded by all of the women closest to me in my life — my mom, sister, grandma, aunt, cousin, second mama and what I consider my adopted sisters.
Ellis ended up playing upstairs with the girls almost all afternoon, so I felt like I got a much needed break from being “mom”. And the rest of us sat around and talked about motherhood, being a stay-at-home-mom, and me just kind of opening up about how I felt so defeated and how I felt like motherhood felt so overwhelming to me.
I don’t know if anyone picked up on it that afternoon, but looking back now I realize that I was caught right in the thick of postpartum depression. I just couldn’t shake the fact that motherhood felt too hard, and I thought I was just a bad mom or not meant to be a mom. Even if nobody knew how bad I was suffering in that moment, I was still grateful to have people that loved and supported me all around me that day.
We ended up opening presents and then eating a homemade vegan lemon bar dessert that I had made. We put candles on the dessert and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me, and I felt so much happier.
When Brendan got home from work all I wanted to do was to get some dinner and watch one of my all-time favorite movies, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Ellis ended up falling asleep before we could get him dinner, so the two of us ate Rivermont Pizza while watching the movie. And then I got to open up my presents from Brendan. He had also bought me some beautiful Mums.
I don’t know if many people will care to read this blog post, as it’s almost just like a journal entry for myself. But I loved these pictures from last year and wanted to share them. I’m hoping and praying that my 28th year of life will be full of growth, change, grace, and beauty. The world feels like a scary place to be in anymore, but I know there is so much life and beauty here too.