This is The Year

Recently over the years, as my birthdays have come and gone and I have grown older, I've found myself counting down to this year. It won't be a society recognized milestone birthday or a birthday that people would naturally assume as a transition point in my life. For many, this year will come and go as every other year does. But, for me, this will definitely be a turning point, or maybe a better way of saying it is a "passing point" in my life. This year, I will turn 34 and at some point later in this year, I will become and then surpass, the age my mother was when she died.

As this date has become closer and closer as the years have gone by, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between our life paths. At this point in our lives, we have both been married for about the same amount of time. We both have 3 children that did not come to us easily. Our child bearing years were marred with miscarriages and near death experiences. We both chose to be Stay at Home Moms as we lived the American Dream with homes and good friends and family to support our daily lives. We were both very involved in our churches with a deep love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ and their brilliant and guiding Plan.

This year, with its upcoming date, has stirred many emotions in me as it has neared. Gratitude. Fear. Excitement. Trepidation. Accomplishment. Sadness. Eagerness. Loneliness. It has always been about me. The accomplishment of making it further than she did. The sadness of not being able to share my motherhood stories with my own mother. The fear that there is always the chance that I may not make it either. And the gratitude that, chances are, I will have more time that she did.

But, last night as I sat in my most sacred of places, wearing the dress that she had once worn, I pondered this milestone that only I will have this year. As I ran my fingers along the lace of my dress, Her dress, I wondered when the last time was that she had done that same thing, and suddenly this year became much less about me, and all about her. For her, this year, was a year of Lasts. At this point in the year, she would have just concluded her Last Christmas. Her last plate of milk and cookies, her last Christmas morning filled with fun, excitement and Santa's Loot. She would be heading into the year that would provide her Last Easter, her Last Birthday, her Last Family Gathering. She would experience her Last Carpool, her Last Closet Monster Check, her Last Parent Teacher Conference, and her Last Kiss Goodnight. I imagine that often times the last time would come and go and she never got the chance to realize she'd never get that chance again. I wondered how many things she would have done different if she'd known it would be the last time.

I thought about this year I was beginning, filled with birthday parties, family vacations, basketball games, piano lessons, family game nights and good night kisses and I ached for her. My year will be full of her lasts and then I will awaken and get to do it all again next year. So, this year, I am having a plaque made to hang above my door that reads, "This Year, I will Cherish Today." So, that every day when I roll out of bed and begin my day with my family, I will remember that this day, for her, held a last time. And when my special day comes and goes and my life has surpassed my mothers, I will keep my sign to remind me that that day, was a day she didn't have. And I will cherish every one.

If you knew her and have a story you'd like to share, I'd love to hear it.

Whaddya think?