I turn 31 tomorrow. I’m not the kind of person that will ever say I’m 29 over and over and over again, even to be cheeky. I’ve earned these years, this last one especially. I found myself in a myriad of places I never thought I would be this year…
I found myself, a straight, married, Mormon mother of four walking in a gay pride parade.
I found myself pounding down the doors of my congressmen in Washington DC begging them to enact legislation that would keep our children safe.
I found myself under the warm Bahamian water, alive and free as I swam with the fish.
I found myself packing up our truck not for our soggy Washington home, but to go to Rhode Island for a new adventure.
I found myself hunkered down with my family, laughing, singing and playing games by the light of candles as a hurricane raged around us.
I found myself on the outside of a church I had once loved. Scared and sad that it no longer made sense to me.
I found myself buried under piles of paperwork for services for my children. Wars waged on paper.
I found myself surrounded by people who love me for who I am, for what I do, for what I write. People who have been there for me when I was broken, scared, happy or sad. People who might violently disagree with me, but who love me still the same.
I found myself cold, broken, alone. Fighting a depression that wanted to win. An anxiety that worked to suck any joy from my existence.
I found myself more in love with my husband than I ever thought I could be.
I found myself scared as hell that I might have to tell my autistic son that I had cancer, and grateful beyond measure when I didn’t have to.
I found myself saying goodbye to Abby as they put her in yet another ambulance. I found myself, soul completely rung out, after four hours spent in the ER trauma room as nurses and doctors worked to get her breathing to slow. I found myself exhausted, sad but grateful as I held her in her in her intensive care unit bed as I watched the events at Sandy Hook Elementary unfold.
I found myself without words as autism was linked to such evil, then I found myself combating that notion through Autism Shines.
I’ve found myself at too many specialist appointments with Abby.
I found myself crying into the shoulder of an unknown nurse after I left Abby in an operating room, then crying into my husband’s shoulder when we learned her hearing loss was permanent and that the anatomical abnormalities in her airways would only lend themselves to further respiratory problems and hospital stays.
I found myself in the capital building surrounded by hate. Where fingers were pointed and people taunted based only on their orientation. I left that place and then spent the rest of the night with the judged, the outcast, the amazing. People who only want to love and be loved in return. I found myself in awe at their patience, the loving attitude, their kindness.
I found myself marveling at my son as he fully embraced his autism.
I found myself the mother of four growing children that I could not be more proud of. Who teach me more everyday about myself than I could have ever learned without them.
I found myself at thirty. And to be honest and only a lot narcissistic, I like what I found. This year has been even harder than the one before it, but I am grateful. I found my spine this year. My passion. My voice. My bliss.
Here’s to another year just like it (meh, let’s be honest, I could do with less hardships and more time spent in the Bahamas…).