Tag Archives: birthday post

33….

Well, folks, my 33rd year on this pale blue dot has begun. Today, I turned 33. And I have to say, it was one of my best birthdays on record. I was able to do something today that I never thought in a million years I’d do. And in this doing, I became myself again.

As some of you know, I have been growing out my hair for two years and one week to donate to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths organization. They are run by Pantene and make wigs available to cancer patients, free of charge. My sister and I decided we’d do it, and today, I did it. I cut 9.5 inches of hair off of my head to give to someone else. And I have never felt more free in my entire life.

I walked into the barbershop today with my husband and kids; my mom, and my brother came as well. And as I sat in the chair talking to my barber, I was nervous. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it was the enormity of the task I had undertaken or if it was purely nerves because it had all come to the end. As she separated my hair into sections to chop off, I started to feel elated. I was excited, anxious. I wanted her to get to it and get it over with. I wasn’t afraid of changing my mind, Lord knows I have been ready for this for at least a year, haha. I was just so excited that I had done something that some people, myself included, didn’t think I could do. I am the short hair girl; the last time I had hair of any length was for my wedding, and I couldn’t stand it so much that I chopped it off two days into our honeymoon. That’s me. I have short hair.

For two years, I have not cut, colored, abused, or even mismanaged my hair in any way. Lord knows I do love my hair color, and I am a short hair girl, so this would be an enormous task for me. I was determined. And for two years, I took vitamins, deep conditioned, used masks I didn’t know existed, and I dealt with what I had detached from. I had no connection to the hair. I did not allow myself to grow too fond of it, though some days it was hard, as I knew it wasn’t for me. It was not mine to love. Mine would be there to love once I removed what was for someone else. Mine was waiting for this to be taken out of the way.

Today, mine became mine again. And I am so glad my family was there. “This is a really special day for you, Mommy,” Ellery reminded me as we got out of the car at the shop. “You get to give your hair to someone who doesn’t have any.” And I want them to remember that. As my barber was cutting it, the girls kept coming back to check on me, making sure I was still really there, unchanged in anything but appearance. I want them to remember how important it is to give to others, even those we cannot see. And I gave myself up, my true identity as a short-haired sassypants and all that is encompassed within that identity, to give someone else a chance at a normal life when their world is anything but. I buried who I really identify as, for two years, and I carved out a new short-term identity. In my grandma’s memory, I allowed myself to not go back on a promise I had made. And though it wasn’t always easy, I felt Gram Alice’s support sometimes reminding me that I am a woman of my word, a promise is a promise, and that I can do anything for a short time.

The barber next to us today told me, about mid-cut, that he could feel my energy lifting, my demeanor had changed, and he could feel I was so happy, that I felt so good. And he was so right. It was almost instant, palpable, the energy around me lifting. Two years of nothing but growing and praying for it to be long enough, hiding behind this curtain of hair, being comfortable in a ponytail was gone. And I emerged, vibrant, happy, glowing; my true identity burst through unapologetically.

And I will never, ever be able to go back.

hair

This was on my head, and now I am prepping an envelope to send it to someone who needs it, and deserves it, far more than I do. This is truly surreal.

Hey! Guess what, guys!?

Ellery’s ONE! LOL. I know, right? When did THAT happen? Oh, January 13th.

Ellery’s First Birthday Post

Sweet Ellery Jean JellyBean:
I still can’t believe my baby, my sweet baby girl is one. The last baby I will be having, and now you’re a toddler. Wow. It actually feels like you weren’t a baby for long.

I fought for you. Six months prior to knowing I was embracing you, I gave an angel baby wings and sent her to be with Jesus. I fought for you. You fought for me. You and I, we fought the good fight. My heart wasn’t cooperating with the whole pregnancy thing. With you, something was different. I got really full of fluid, and it put way too much pressure on my heart. The doctors didn’t know what was going to happen, to you OR to me. Many appointments were made to cardiologists, specialists… it was crazy. It felt surreal, like it wasn’t my life. They threatened to take you early, too early. So I fought for you. Told them they couldn’t have you yet. Doctor mentioned the possibility of me having a stroke. Maybe even emergency heart surgery… it was incredibly difficult to hear, and put my own well-being and possibly life, on the line. However, that’s what moms do. So, we struggled. I am not going to lie, it was not fun. It was scary. A lot. I lived one minute to the next most days. Thanking God for waking me up, and keeping you safe….

39 weeks into that nightmare (is it terrible to say pregnancy was a nightmare? It was a blessing, do not get me wrong, but it was not all fun), they said they could take you. And after the weirdest labor ever, you were here. And boy, oh boy, I have never been happier to see anyone’s face…

This past year has flown by. And I feel so ridiculous when I say that, because time physically cannot fly, but let me tell you… this year has been incredible. You are the answer to so many prayers. You are healthy where your big sister was sick. You are chubby where your big sister was so thin, so frail. And you eat and love food where your big sister couldn’t be bothered with all of that. I am so amazed, everyday, at how DIFFERENT you two are. I could not have imagined I’d ever be blessed with two totally amazing, yet two totally opposite daughters. It’s incredible how God knows what we needed, and made sure we were ready for an easy baby, in the face of how difficult life was for your big sister…

In the blink of an eye, you have learned so much. You talk (when you want to). You walk (when you want to). You dance (when you want to). You eat (when you want to). Noticing a pattern? You are definitely a little lady who knows what she wants, when she wants it. You have figured out that your sister is, and will forever be, a best friend in your life. She would fight for you, and I know you would fight for her (especially if she had Oreos. Just saying: you have inherited your mother’s sweet tooth). You have become quite the Momma’s girl, though Daddy remains your favorite. And I am ok with that: your daddy is pretty fabulous. 🙂 We prayed for you. I know that now: YOU were the answer to my prayers…

You have taught me so much (here is where I am crying, so forgive me if this sounds nonsensical for a minute). I know now how good God is, and what He can do. I know now what it feels like to FIGHT so hard for something, and to do whatever is needed to keep a baby safe. With your sister, I fought for her because she wasn’t physically able to fight her own fight. We had to do so much to keep her healthy, and alive. But it didn’t have anything to do with my physical being. With you, it was me. Laying it all down. For you. It still humbles me to this day that we did that, you and I (and God). You taught me how important life is, like really REALLY is. I took so much for granted before all of this, but watching you play with your sister and laugh at every silly thing she does… my purpose is clear. I am supposed to be your mommy. This is not a mistake, it’s by design.

You have driven me to do great things, to pave the way for you to do great things. I am finishing my Master’s (less than three weeks!!). I am teaching and showing you that a good mommy can be more than just a mommy: she can have a career and a life outside of the house. I am fighting for causes and for people that I hope will not even be social issues when you are my age. I want you to see that we can have voices and use them for good. We can stand up and fight for what we believe in, all while also being women of faith: they are not separate if you don’t let them be. I want you, and your sister, to do great things, no matter who you love, where you go or who you become…

This year has given me so much more than I ever could have asked for… And it’s all because I had a prayer. And God gave me you.

Day One (don’t mind the date being off, I never was able to figure that part of my camera out)

Two weeks before your birthday! Look at you Go!!

Happy Birthday, Ellery. I love you so much, more than you will ever know.
I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.