Sunday, July 23, 2017

Birthday Candle Magic

This birthday feels different.

Maybe it's because it's the last year of my thirties. Age 39 tends to be synonymous with midlife crisis, but if that's what I'm experiencing, I don't think it's a crisis at all.

It's more like an awakening. A rebirth. A holy epiphany.

I had 5 babies in one decade. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Just like that. Well, actually, no. Not just like that. Not just like that at all.

The last 4 were c-sections, so it was more like being strapped down, belly up, on a cold, metal dissecting table and being splayed open from hip to hip like a specimen in biology lab.

Strange alien lifeforms were extracted from my abdomen under a harsh florescent light. Now I live with these creatures every day and teach them words and show them how we humans do things.

It is a wonder to behold.

I remember the woman who blew out her candles last year. Overweight. Unhappy. A stranger in her own skin. Hiding behind the safety of the words wife and mother. Unable to recall who she really was because she had given too many bits and pieces of herself away.

She closed her eyes that day and made a secret wish for things to be different, for her life to radically change. Then, in the flickering light of her birthday candles, she took a deep breath and blew forth the winds of change. She must have ignited a tiny spark, too, that lit her up and made her glow on the inside.

It was some kind of birthday candle magic.

Today, after a swim meet in San Antonio, I caught the reflection of a woman in the glass doors of our hotel. She looked vaguely familiar, like someone I remembered from my past. I took a step forward, and so did she. I lifted my arm to open the door, and she did, too.

I looked again, only this time more closely.

I was struck by the fierceness and courage in her eyes. She looked strong. She looked happy. She looked whole.

I could barely recognize her, but it was me. We were at this very hotel a year ago, but I wasn't the same me back then. I remember sitting poolside in a deck chair, fully-clothed, while my kids swam in the hotel pool.

I was THAT mom.

The one who made excuses for why she couldn't swim with her kids. The one who was missing out on making memories.

But not this year.

This year, I bought a bathing suit. This year, I wore it. In public. No more excuses. No more missing out.

My New Year's Resolution this year was one word:


I had already spun myself into a cocoon when I chose it. I knew I was in the midst of a metamorphosis.  So I waited patiently in the quiet darkness for God to do His thing.

And, lo and behold, wings.

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