I’ve spent the last several hours sitting on my living room couch, pouring over photos of my children, my husband, my family and friends.
My youngest son, Ian, turns 10 today, and nostalgia has filled up my heart and mind, as I struggle to accept how quickly time has passed, knowing it will continue to move at a pace I’m not necessarily comfortable with.
Ten years since this amazing child, this priceless gift, was bestowed upon my husband and I. We treasure him, are proud of him beyond measure, and if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we really can’t take much credit.
So, before I go any further, I’d like to wish Ian a very Happy Birthday. Sto Lat as we say in Polish. We love you buddy.
Now let’s go back to me on the couch being a ginormous, weepy, goober:
I was sitting there, looking through photos that so clearly captured specific moments in our lives as a family, moments forever suspended in time. And as I flipped through each one, I made sure to take a few seconds to truly recall the memory each particular photo conjured up for me, letting my mind drift off into the days of my pregnancies with both of our children, or the thrilling chaos that was our wedding reception. I was taken back to trips to parks, the beach, local restaurants; our family vacation to Europe in 2007. So much joy, so much promise, so much potential in these photos.
A young couple in love.
Two beautiful children.
A series of twists and turns and challenges and close-calls.
But I wouldn’t change any of it.
Not one single thing.
Because it all led us to the fiercely loyal, devoted, determined family we are today.
When I look at those pictures, I can’t for the life of me recall who may have hated me at the time, or the social dramas that tried to infiltrate my life. I can’t remember the names of the people who caused me stress or anxiety or the co-workers who gossiped their way through the day, poisoning one another with the details of someone else’s life they envied.
But I do remember the sound of my boys’ laughter, or the way I felt when I slipped on my wedding dress and prepared to walk down the aisle.
There’s even a photo I don’t remember being taken: in it my face is severely bloated, my eyes deceiving me even as I sport a smeared grin across my face. I was drinking heavily when that picture was taken; not in the exact moment the shutter when off, but it was a dark time in my life. Yet, even looking at that picture brought happiness into my heart today because what I did remember when I looked at it, was that not long after someone snapped that shot, I finally surrendered and got sober, and claimed a second-chance to live a life I’m lucky enough to reminisce about today.
There’s no real point to this post, I guess, except to say that I’m feeling blessed.
For the mistakes.
For the near-misses.
For the millions of smiles in between those captured on camera.
I’m just grateful.
And what better day to acknowledge a life brimming with love and hope and forgiveness and surrender than my son’s 10th birthday.