Today, I am 39 years old. (Gasp.)
I am a shell of who I used to be.
I am stronger than I ever wanted to be.
I am a former extrovert...now an introvert with super acting skills.
I am a former social butterfly who could befriend just about anyone but now, a self-proclaimed hermit.
I used to enjoy and be energized by new people and new circumstances where I could roar.
Now, no one really wants to hear what I feel like roaring. I don't blame them. I wish it didn't pulse through my veins with every beat of my heart.
NO ONE TAKES HIS PLACE.
I CAN'T BREATHE.
I am a mother. Unbelievably, and against many odds, I am a mother.
And though I want to just scream with agony at the top of my lungs sometimes....
I sing every.single. day.
Every day. Imagine Snow White with birds fluttering around and silly squirrels happily twittering.
Because I am so often overwhelmed with gratitude and love and joy for the precious little brother who also leaves me not breathing...gasping for air because he makes me laugh so much I nearly cry.
Happy tears. Joyful tears. Bittersweet tears. But sweet nonetheless.
I am a tornado. Emotions raging through me so strongly I can't contain them sometimes.
Injustice?????? LET ME AT IT.
Threaten harm to my family? Consider yourself in a war you will not win.
Tenacious? So I've been told.
Tamed by the knowledge that everyone has a story. Some, we just don't know.
Tamed by the arrogant way I so easily threw around, "Everything happens for a reason," as I would console someone...and how those words now sear my skin. Then, I thought, "Oh...if only this person had the faith that *I* have...their hearts would be comforted." The arrogance has me humbled and tamed.
I am defeated.
I am a winner.
I am able to accept it all.
I am not able to happily accept it all.
I have smiled more in the last 14 months than I have in my entire life.
I have cried more in the last two years than I have in my entire life.
I am barely a newlywed in my head.
I am old enough to be the grandmother of some of the little ones in some of Luke's playgroups. (And I'm not talking 12 year-old motherhood either. Like seriously, I was in college when some moms were born!)
I feel I was targeted. I feel I was tested. I feel I was punished.
I feel I am blessed beyond measure. I am so, so grateful that I don't have to worry about food or clothes or a roof over our head. We have amazing things and an amazing life.
I am well-traveled.
I just don't really feel like going many places anymore.
I am well-educated.
But I can't find my keys or wallet half the time, much less do anything more taxing with my brain.
I feel like I am capable of doing so much more in my life.
But don't even know what more I'd want to do. I never want to be away from Luke.
I am infertile.
But... infertile women don't have children.
Yes,we do. And I am. Still.
I am a person completely different than I was November 28, 2009.
But the same. Same face, more wrinkles. Same hair, now with gray. Same eyes, only without the same sparkle. Same laugh, just more guarded about its use. Same body, but with scarring reminders of what it's been through and what it's given up.
So very much the same and so very much different.
Any time I hear the Kenny Chesney song, "Who you'd be today," I always wonder just who I am? Today?
And all I ever can answer is that I am in the Great I Am's hands.
Every day, who I am changes, but being held never does. It feels different at different times, and that doesn't always settle as well with me as I'd like it to.
But I believe Him for who He says He is.
One who does not plan to harm me. One who has great plans for my future. One who has given me the strength to wake up every single day for 39 years. One who has given me the most amazing miracles I could ever fathom.
One who knows who I am.