Leading up to my 30th birthday, there were butterflies in my belly. I don’t think I had ever been so excited for a birthday. To me, 30 represented confidence, boldness, and awesome sex . This was going to be my year to stop caring about what other people thought and live a life of freedom.
It didn’t hurt that Wes threw me a killer birthday party surrounded by my closest friends. One of the best gifts Wes can give me is to let me plan a party. I LOVE planning parties. For months we talked about it. What did I want the theme to be? What were words or ideas that represented me that could be fun? I thought about the 90s because I am a true 90s child. I debated a theme of magic or adventure. But it kept coming back to the one word that I live for most.
I wanted a night to love on my friends. I wanted to have an intimate dinner for my closest people with love notes and toasts and treat others to a fun evening out of music, dancing, and no kids!
I wanted to love on those who pour into me and are there for me through thick and thin. And the night was perfect. Less than 2 weeks after that is when I experienced my first heartbreak of the year. I didn’t know at that time it would be the first. I didn’t know what was going to follow. But it was the first of many, many heartbreaks. But gosh, this pain still stings.
The year I turned 30 didn’t hold confidence, boldness, or better sex. It held heartbreak, pain, fear, and rejection. Just when I would think things were getting better, they didn’t. Another piece of shit would hit the fan. Here is an overview of the year.
Keep in mind, during the majority of this I was also battling extreme nausea from pregnancy, general illnesses… Olive and Walt went to school one day the entire month of February due to sickness, a husband who cannot walk meaning I am unloading all of the groceries, taking out the trash, doing every piece of housework while 26-38 weeks pregnant and juggling two kids. And our marriage definitely didn’t fix overnight, two sometimes four hours a week in counselling.
I do not say this for you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to get a general picture of what the year looked like.
It was dark. There were days it was really dark. Days of not being able to get out of bed, crying uncontrollably, becoming angry with God, questioning every ounce of who I was. I dreaded going out in public for fear of someone casually asking me, “How are you?”.
But friends, when life is at it’s darkest, it doesn’t take much light to shine in for you to see it. I would catch rays here and there. Small things that normally I wouldn’t notice would suddenly pierce my heart with joy and carry me through to the next moment.
But those people? Those people who I wanted to spend my birthday loving on just a few months ago? They were right there with me.
The biggest lesson I learned the year I turned 30 is two fold.
First- Life can be really hard, especially when circumstances are out of your control. Life can be a snowball of events that make you question anything you have ever done and if you will ever come out if it.
Second- When you love well, you will be loved well.
When I look past the darkness of the year, all I see is love.
I see the texts from Megan Stein at just the perfect moments telling me she is thinking of me, encouraging me and helping me gain fresh perspective.
I hear conversations with Lauren about medical advice of what we needed to do next. She was my personal nurse this year and honestly probablt saved Wes’ life because we wouldn’t have caught those blood clots without her.
I see Katie, Jennifer, Will & Melodie, and Patrick… along with SO many other friends dropping off hot food to our house so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. I see the groceries that Shelly brought by. I can taste the hot chicken Brandon grilled to perfection. The fact that Crissy and Brandon brought us food on their date night from Cullman is something I won’t easily forget. And I can hear the knock at the door with Shoals Take-Out on the other side… even our friends Jordyn & Bradley who live in Huntsville made sure we were fed.
I can almost taste the Salt and Straw Ice Cream Missy and Dean sent us. (best surprise ever)
I can feel the hugs Mikki, our counsellor, gave me after I sat in her office weeping.
I know Tori was working hard chasing our kids while also cleaning our house just so we wouldn’t have to worry about anything else once we got off of work.
I see Megan on her hands and knees cleaning our floors the day we came home from the hospital, right before she went to the grocery store to completely stock my fridge and cabinets.
I cried when Josh from Rivertown showed up at my door with hot biscuits just because they know we love them. And the numerous meals, even from strangers, that were purchased from us at restaurants made me feel like there were angels everywhere.
I see our team, Justin and Lee, working extra hard to not just stay on top of our business but truly living life with us in a way no one else does. They coached us and comforted us on our hardest days when no one else saw us.
I can hold onto the encouragement from Lyndsie, Jordyn, Laura, and Bethany as they listened to me talk about life, over and over again.
I cannot repay Chelsea and Luc for taking the kids trick-or-treating when Wes and I had the stomach bug on Halloween. Not to mention the multiple meals they made and the ice cream bar baby shower she hosted.
I see my sister-in-law Shannon dancing in our living room with Walter and putting a gingerbread house together with Olive girl.
As silly as it is, I feel the solidarity from my friends on instagram who don’t hesitate to send me a message and say, “Me, too.” We are in this together ladies!
I hear the conversations with my sisters as they share their life experiences with me to shed light on what I am going through.
I hear my daughter laughing with me, telling me I am beautiful, and at times wiping my tears while telling me it will be ok. I see my son with his goofy little smile where he grits his teeth together and hear him say “I love you” for the first time. I can feel both of them in my arms snuggling me and pouring out their love on me.
I see my dad helping carry Wes into our upstairs apartment as they settle us back into our life. I see my mom sleeping on my couch so she could be there if one of the kids needs her. I hear them calling and saying, “we are coming to get the kids so y’all can rest.” I don’t know what we would have done without them.
I literally am looking at the love from my baby Abbott boy as he smiles up at me as I write this.
And I mostly feel the arms of my husband wrapped around me. I can see him looking at me… and really seeing me. I can hear his encouraging words when I was at my lowest. I witnessed him fighting for me, fighting for us, reminding me that we are worth it.
Love. Love surrounded us this year in a way that it never has.
I also gained focus this year. I have blogged for 9 years. I have shared our marriage, our travels, our life. But this year I gained more focus, I have clarity about what my purpose is in a way that I never have before. And that has helped me shift perspectives and given me excitement moving forward.
I have preached “love” often on this blog, in fact I am sure most of my posts revolve around the topic one way or another. But this year, I saw first hand the importance of loving those around us well. I learned what it felt like to receive it and how love alone can carry you through the darkest of times. So, I will continue to say “love each other” and, now, when I type it I will think of the people who may receive the love you are sharing. I will be grateful for this community, knowing it is making an impact.
Because when you love well, you will be loved well.
Friends, thank you will never be enough. And I was terrible at sending out my cards… I am not sure who I sent them to and who I forgot, but I want to say thank you to each person who texted, called, emailed, messaged, dropped by, and especially those who brought food. Food is good for the soul.
So, year 30,
You were hell. Absolutely hell. But thank you for the love. Thank you for showing me how to be a friend. Thank you for being a teacher. Thank you for giving my people an opportunity to step up and show out so I can see who is here in the long run. I cannot wait to give it back.
And 31, I am ready for you. I am excited for you. This is my year. I want to laugh more and spread joy. That is my wish. Cheers to you, 31!
Thank you all for being apart of this crazy journey. Thank you for sticking with me.
Be Happy and please, please, love each other, You never know how bad that person needs it,