Thanks, 45 - it's been real...

This is the last day of my 45th year of life.

I've sat down to this space wanting to document this year the best way I can.
Writing all the words that show what I've gained and lost in these last 365 days.
Thinking about who was here last April and who is somewhere else now.
So many changes and yet...
This time last year, my family and I were moving into our new home.  This home that made our lives so much easier.  Our kids across the street from their schools and not having to cross a main boulevard that eased this mama's heart every day at 2:30pm.

This time last year I celebrated with my family - with a single bundlet and a tiny candle.  My husband and three kids were here, but also a friend I had just reconnected with.  She was here with her husband and two girls.  Everything felt exactly the way it should be.  All I needed was around that table.  All the people I loved and treasured.

Months passed by, we had our first get-togethers in this house.  From a baby shower to birthday parties, this house felt the love.

There was also a life happening outside of this home.  We travelled this year - road trips and a plane ride.  Up and down the California coast, weekend trips to Las Vegas, and even an impromptu overnighter to a friend's house in Arizona.

I ended relationships this year.  That friend at my birthday separated from me because of a useless squabble.  But as the saying goes, "everything happens for a reason."  If she hadn't been around to hold me up those few months, I would probably still be taking crap from people.  She showed me that I had to stand up for myself - even if at the end it was to her.  I may have ended that relationship with her, but after a while, it didn't hurt so much.  I believe she was there when I needed it.  I wish her well.

Although I ended relationships with those that raised me or hurt me, I opened myself up to new relationships.  I began to really see who the important people were in my life.  I started talking to people who made me feel less judged and really told them how I felt about them and what I wanted in the relationship.  This has been the best form of self love I have ever given to myself.

I added so many thing to my List - the mental one I made when I was fighting cancer.  Turns out I know how to cook and I enjoy it!  I'm also reading again.  Simple joys, loveys.

I was in the hospital again this year.  Although it was a bit scary, if I hadn't been there I would have never met the beautiful soul that was Jennifer "J.Liu" Liu.  In November, we met and became instant friends, having so much in common.  We planned so many things to do, but they couldn't come true.  See, God had other plans.  She's been in Heaven, looking over all those she loved, since February 26, 2020.  My waffle, I always think of you.

This was the year of many losses.  My sweet Uncle Elias - his creative soul and beautiful heart - went to meet His Maker.  Jennifer Lewis, my AML sister, succumbed to the evil that is breast cancer.  She will always be a Warrior.  She left two beautiful souls down here, though.  They shine so bright - Claire and Mia are remarkable and truly living for their mama.  I'm blessed just knowing these people.

With every loss this year, I gained so much, though.

I've reconnected with my mother's sister.  It's a joy to reconnect with someone who knows me the longest.  I even took a minute and said hello to my grandmother.  If you've ever read this blog and know my history, you'll know that was a huge step for me.  I honored my inner child that day and I don't regret a single moment of it.

This 45th year is coming to a close.  Although it's ending during a quarantine, that's okay.  I've lived in isolation before (self-imposed in my younger years and because of cancer) and what I know:  Everything is temporary.  This is not forever.

What have I learned this year?
Oh my goodness, so much!  Things I already knew and others I had to remind myself of:  I am still a warrior.  I'm still a survivor.  I'm a good wife and an even better mama.  I'm a person to rely on and I speak for those who can't speak for themselves.  I haven't changed too much this year, but just enough to make a tiny difference.  I reinvented Nay.  I've made myself into the person I always wanted to be.

I've learned that although loss is inevitable, the gift of gain is all that matters at the end.

That's life.

Here's to 46!