This year's birthday was one for the books. I am overwhelmed by the complete and unconditional love from my friends out here in Alaska, back home, and the ones all over the world. There are so many people that I don't even think I could start thanking you all individually. All I can say is you know who you are and I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me, for how well you loved on me, all the gifts, notes, and encouragement, thank you for being apart of the body and loving me.
Let me just backup and recap a little bit from this past week. For about 5 days straight I was having some of the roughest days. I was feeling emotionally, physically, mentally, and spirtually drained. I felt unlovable, unknown, unheard, and partly uncared for. No one did anything to make me feel this way but I sure started to believe these thoughts. The biggest struggle I was facing was the fact that Kyle wouldn't be here for this big day...my birthday.
I hadn't thought about it much before but after talking with one if my friends, they helped me realize that this was the first year in over 3 yeas that Kyle wouldn't be around for my birthday. I have celebrated every birthday with having him in my life and it all started 3 years ago when he came to a surprise pizza birthday party for me. I remember how special I felt that Kyle would come to some social event, especially for me, but there he was. I am pretty sure he heard the word pizza and signed right up. Haha in all seriousness, it means the world to me know that he was there to celebrate at least one birthday in my life with me. I'm pretty sure that is the same year we went boating together. ;) either way that birthday month had Kyle in it. Now looking back he was apart of every birthday month each year since I met him. He made it a point to text, call, or see me. I just would love to have known what plan he would have concocted for me this year.
Alright, so this year's birthday month, week, day, what have you...yes I love celebrating my birthday. This birthday was better than I could have ever expected. I give so much credit to my friends out here in Port Alsworth for being sneaky and hiding everything so well. Asha, my roommate of 4 years took it into her own hands to make this birthday a special one. She knows me extremely well and she felt that she wanted to do something to make this birthday like no other birthday I have had before and especially focus on loving me well. She has seem the ups and downs over the past 5 months and she sees the gaping hole that Kyle has left in my life. Well, goal accomplished Asha. Your kind heart and fun ideas had me lavished in love all day long. I just want you to know that everything you did and do for me does not go unnoticed. You care for me so well and I am thankful to call you my friend.
Now she could not have pulled this off by her lonesome, she had so many people involved that I can't even name them all. So I say thank oh so much to all of you. Thank you for your time, prayers, contributions, thoughtfulness, kindness, lovingness, and all around love for me on this tough yet special day. All the people who knew that one thing that would make my day that much better, you are incredible friends. The ones who woke up early, who were sneaking around my house at wee hours in the morning, the ones who bought, sent, or arranged flowers for me. Thank you to the ones who just spent time with me and loved on me. Your friendship is worth more than gold, as one of my friends puts it.
Today I woke up and the realization hit me that Kyle wasn't here. I wouldn't see a text from him or see his smiling face when I woke up. There would be no special planning on his part, no gift, no good morning kiss, no coffee talk, or breakfast in bed, there'd be nothing but me coming up with something fun to do. As I lay in bed the tears streams down my face as I was mad at myself for being sad on my birthday. However, that didn't stop me from being emotional, I still missed him and I still wanted him to be here to celebrate with me. After all it would have been our first celebration together as an engaged couple. I laid there for a bit but heard Asha moving around, getting ready, but I also heard another voice and a familiar ring tone to another friend's phone. That still was enough to get me out of bed though. I knew Asha wanted to have breakfast so I just waited a little bit until I was more awake and ready to engage in conversation. Finally, I started moving around and as soon as Asha heard me she ground coffee which meant breakfast was so happening this morning.
Upon opening my door, I found streamers hanging outside my door, Rachel you are a quiet decorator! I continued forward to see hanging balloons leading into our living room. I kept walking further to find 5 of my girlfriends hiding in the kitchen. I saw a flash of a child, one of my students and my friend's child, come bolting into our house, hug me, and then duck out. Well good morning to you too. First person to hug me on my birthday this morning....a student. Yes, This is my life right now and I love it. Shortly after that, I looked around my house to see flowers everywhere. Flowers in mason jars, vases, potters, and flowers on every surface you could find. You would have thought you walked into a flower shop displaying flowers for sale. I hugged all my friends and tried to start wrapping my brain around this wonderful breakfast/brunch surprise. My girlfriends had come up with this plan to be there for the morning of my birthday. Thank the Lord they were because I am afraid I might have moped around the house today and would have been bitter. The Lord totally knows what I need way before I even know what I need and I am so thankful for that.
I felt so cared and loved for because they took time out of their Saturday morning schedules to celebrate and love on me. #myfriendsareamazing They were afraid of waking me up during the set up process and of course, I didn't hear anything. So there we all were hugging, crying, sharing, eating, and celebrating life. Life that was given to me today. Life that I love because I am grateful to be alive. This seems to be a repeating pattern throughout this season in my life. I am just grateful for friends, family, and to have another day to be alive.
I think everyone now knows how much I loved potted flowers especially mums. Asha knew I was going to use mums for our wedding this July and so she wanted me to have them and remember such a sweet moment in my life that I'll never get to have. She also knows how much I love doughnuts, Mac and cheese, among other gifts she gave me. She totally outdid herself and I know Kyle would be so proud. My girlfriends brought me something that was meaningful between the two of us. My one friend Katie painted me a picture of Kyle flying his plane with a sweet note on the back. Another friend Anna, gave me a sweet gift of handmade soaps, scrubs, and a sweet note. Yet another friend Katrina, brought me my favorite coffee, a sweet note, and of course a funny drawing. Rachel brought me some cosmetics in a cute bag with a sweet note as well. It is so not about the gifts, yet I greatly appreciate them all! Thank you ladies. It was all about the quality time today.
We had a massive breakfast of bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls, banana pancakes, smoothies, and coffee. It was all laid out ready to get started as soon as I woke up. See these wonderful ladies were preparing this since 6am and quietly making our house look like a garden inside. We watched a chick flick and painted nails throughout the rest of the morning. Everyone eventually left and it was just Asha and me at that point. It was quiet and we watched another movie and just chatted about how all this party came about. She was so loving towards me and just felt this erge to make my day feel special.
I know that all my birthdays won't be like this but I knew this one was going to hurt just a bit more, and it did, but not as bad as I thought. Asha and I even did a spa like afternoon and just hung around, all the while it rained outside. It was a nice excuse to just stay in and do nothing. Throughout the rest of the day, friends dropped by, admired the flowers, gave me hugs, text me, called me, and loved on me. This is such a good point in my life to look back in years to come and see how the Lord uses the body to come along side each other and lay agendas aside and simply love. How marvelous is the love of Christ.
Asha told me that she wanted to make this birthday Kyle style and she totally did. Between trying to surprise me, flowers sent from a variety of people, and finishing it off with "camping." I just have to say why the flowers were so important. 1. Kyle and I both worked in a greenhouse for 8. 2. Mums are one of my favorite flowers. 3. Those were going to be our wedding flowers this July. 4. Kyle bought me flowers almost every time he went to town.
We finished the evening off by having a large crab dinner with friends and then headed over to a cabin down by the mouth of the river. Anna and I spent the evening just chatting and getting to know each other more. We enjoyed the view of the lake, the sun kind of setting, and a "rousing" game of bananagrams. Asha ended up coming later and brought me my favorite type of cake. We finished the evening off all saying goodnight and our love yous. So I bit you a good day or goodnight, depending on when you read this, and I say yet again, thank you for all of your who came together to love me so well this birthday. I love you all dearly and am blessed by you more than you may ever know.