eight thousand and thirty days' worth of blessed.

"My vision is going," I sigh into the phone. "And my hearing. And all my joints are starting to hurt. And I get tired more easily. And when Maria is the same age as I am right now, I will be 32 and maybe even hanging out with MY KIDS. And now mom is giving me dirty looks."

My father laughs at me on the other end of the line.

"That's because you don't even know the half of it. Wait another 30 years til you're 52 or 53 like us. Then come talk to me about it. Where you are right now is the best part of your life."

As of 9:35 this morning, I have been living on this earth for 22 years. Eight thousand and thirty days. I've blown out 253 candles and grown 67 inches. I've completed 16 years of school. I've come a long way from the 7 lb. 6 oz. 20-something inch pink bundle that I was 22 years ago.

Sometimes we all go through periods of time that just really....well, really suck. I won't get into details, but I would not be lying to you if I said that 48 hours ago, I was sitting on my kitchen floor, unable to stand up, completely broken, feeling unloved, wondering if I would be okay. I would not be lying if I told you I felt like my world was crashing down on me, like life had stabbed me in the back, like I was paralyzed and could not move at all. I would not be lying if I told you that 48 hours ago, the only thing I wanted was to fall asleep on July 7, 2010 and wake up in the nursery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on July 8, 1988, back at the beginning, safe with the knowledge that I was like an infant version of George Bailey and the 22 years I thought I had been living this whole time were only my guardian angel's way of showing me what awful things could happen to me and my family if I didn't live my 22 years exactly the right way. But I think that's a story that only works in old Christmas movies.
What God gave me instead was this morning, July 8, 2010, the morning I woke up and realized that no matter what, I can and will be okay. The morning I woke up and realized that no matter what, I am loved. He gave me a day full of sunshine and laughter and hope for whatever lies ahead of me. He gave me families and friendships made out of the greatest people on this earth, hands down. He gave me the realization that the past 22 years have been the best years I could have asked for, and that I am truly lucky to have lived each and every single one of them.

My father is right. This is the best time of my life. I'm not old, just growing up. This is only the beginning. I have a long way left to go, I know that. But if the rest of my years could possibly go as well as the past 22 have, then I guess I will be the luckiest girl I know, because in the 22 years already under my belt I have been so blessed. Eight thousand and thirty days' worth of blessed.

That is the single best birthday present I could have ever asked for.

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