I'm 28 years old today.
If you had asked me when I was 6 what I would be doing when I was 28 I would have told you that I was married to Prince Charming and living in a palace. Caleb has considerably less hair than Charming but I think bald guys are hot so...point Caleb.
If you had asked me when I was 16 what I would be doing when I was 28 I would have told you that I was a writer in Hollywood, living in the hills with a pool out back.
If you had asked me at 24, on the day that I got married, I would have told you that Caleb and I were traveling the world. No big. He owns the internet now and I take gorgeous photos. We just had our first kid and are headed to Florence for Christmas.
I would not have told you that in 4 years I would be on the tail end of my second surgery in under a year and soon headed into my third. I would not have told you that I've been poked and prodded and anesthetized so many times that it now feels like a regimen, akin to working out. I would not have told you that the business I've built over the last 4 years, the thing that I live and breathe, is on hold, if not dying a slow and painful death, because of my health. I would not have told you that we've stopped making plans to travel because we don't know what the next six months looks like. I would not have told you that kids are now in the far distant future.
The day we got married we were toasted with health and happiness. I spent a lot of time thinking about the happiness part. Where would we go, what would we do, who would we be? What would make us happy? I don't think the health part even crossed my mind. But then, why would a healthy person think about their health? And I'm not talking about going to the gym and eating well. We all think about those and probably will, more than usual, as the holidays pass. I'm talking about "get out of bed in the morning, nothing creaks or squeaks too much, your body takes care of itself" health.
These last few months have been hard. Really. Hard. And there are days that I curse and rant and cry and scream because this shouldn't be happening. It shouldn't. But it is.
The problem with the list above is that it focuses on what I don't have. On what I don't have in my life at 28.
Well I'll tell you what I have managed to acquire.
I have a husband that is by my side, who makes me laugh constantly, who lets me press my cold feet on his warm legs, who snuggles me whenever I need him to, who holds me while I cry, who takes out the trash, who let's me blast my bad music, and whom I love viscerally and completely.
And my family. Let me tell you, I know there are some great ones out there, but mine is the best. My dad's bear hugs could crush smaller women than me, my cousin sends me leaves from Minnesota because she knows the fall colors cheer me up, and my uncle emails me the loveliest notes with quotes about pumpkins that I read over and over again like a good book. One look from my brother gives me strength, one smile from Jess warms me like a cup of cocoa, and my mom rubs my back to calm my nerves while we sit in endless waiting rooms.
My friends could kick your friends asses. They mail me the new Taylor Swift CD to cheer me up, fly me to Seattle, meet me for coffee dates, and bring me fresh pressed juice. They send me notes and tokens and trinkets and texts that make me smile and let me know that no, I am not alone, and yes, I am loved.
I do not have a palace, or a home in the Hollywood hills, or kids on the way, or a trip to Italy planned in the near future. But despite the cancer, the surgeries, and the medical bills, I have a lot going for me. Like a lot. More than most.
A lot of people ask how I'm doing, they ask if I'm ok. I smile and say I'm good. And then I get this sweet smile and these sad eyes that say "but are you really?" Yes. I am. Really. Good. I'm going through something. But who isn't?
27 was not the most awesome year. It was rough. And there's really no guarantee that 28 will be any better. But I'm ok with that. I have what I need to make me happy. I have the happiness they all toasted us with. And I'm slowly working on the health.