Happy Birthday, Beautiful: A Letter to My Body on Our 35th Birthday
Happy Birthday, Beautiful!
35 years ago today, you and I tumbled into this world, eternally intertwined. Roughly 9 lbs. of possibility. With the first breath we took, you swore your allegiance as my most faithful servant and friend.
For 35 years you protected me, fought for me, and kept me going. You did your job without question, without fail. Your heart never once skipped a beat. Your lungs never once missed a breath. You continued to grow, get strong and heal. You never stopped working for me. You did your job even when I didn't make it easy for you, which was often.
For most of our life, I hated you. I was mean to you. I spoke poorly about you to anyone who would listen. I blamed you for things that weren't your fault. I tried everything I could to change you. There were days I could barely look at you. Some days all I ever wanted was for you to be different.
No matter what I did, you never stopped taking care of me. You never stopped protecting me. No matter how I treated you, you never bailed. You never gave up. You kept working. There were times when I didn't let you sleep, I didn't feed you enough, I fed you too much, I ignored you, I hurt you, I punished you. That's when you worked harder. When I thought I'd had enough of this world, you were the one who held on.
You have soft, jiggly spots. You have stretch marks and cellulite. Your legs are bowed. Your feet are a collection of deformed and broken bones. Your joints creak when you move. Your skin burns quickly in the sun and breaks out often. You can't run fast or jump high. You've never done a split, a double pirouette or back bend. You get hurt easily.
I don't care.
You wake up every single morning to fulfill your solitary mission of carrying me through this world. You allow me to feel the sand between my toes and the ocean on my skin. You let me hear birds singing, music, laughter. Because of you, I know the joy of holding a baby and hugging a friend. You make it possible to see my beautiful nieces and to watch them grow. Without you, I would have no idea how lilacs smell or how chocolate tastes.
Every single day, for the past 35 years, you have given me the most precious gift of all. You have given me the ability to live my full, unpredictable, glorious, messy, funny, one-of-a-kind, wouldn't-have-it-any-other-way life.
There are 35 years’ worth of worries, fears and heartaches etched in the lines across your forehead. There are 35 years’ worth of laughter written in the wrinkles around your eyes. You've been hurt. So have I. You have scars. So do I. You continue to heal and get stronger every day. I am trying my best to do the same.
My gift to you today, is to swear the same allegiance you did the moment we were born. I promise to love you more, to care for you better, to speak to you with kindness, to celebrate you often. I promise to be your most faithful friend for the next 35 years and beyond. Together, you and I. Eternally entwined. Roughly 145 lbs. of possibility.
In Never-Ending Love and Gratitude,