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2 years...and 40 candles.

I've come to refer to the month of November as "Bipolar Season".

I managed to get through the second anniversary of my mom's passing with a minimum amount of meltdowns and just the right amount of prescription meds. Immediately after, I began forcing myself to be excited about my upcoming birthday (which is actually today, if you're reading this on November 20). Apparently this birthday is supposed to be more special than all of the others because it's my 40th.

40. I'm 40 years old. And motherless. BUT...I'm 40, and I'm so proud of who I've become! I spent the majority of my childhood seeking validation and never feeling good enough. Growing up around my extended village, there always seemed to an abundance of judgmental observations but not enough affirmations. It wasn't until I found myself without my only parent that I begin to grow up, learn about myself, and become exactly who I was meant to be.

I choose peace and my mental health above all else and make no apologies for it. I finally allowed myself to be okay with the fact that I will have great days and horrible days. I am breaking generational curses just by showing my children that it's both normal and healthy to grieve. It's also possible to trust God but be angry with Him sometimes. There were some relationships that fizzled out after my mom's funeral: unfulfilled promises and a complete lack of communication would've caused the old me to question my worth. 40-year-old me is okay with it. Really.

2020 was supposed to be the year that we had a huge bash to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday in March, then we'd sit together and watch my oldest walk across the stage in May, followed by a party to celebrate my 40th birthday in November.

Instead, my kid graduated in a parking lot as we sat in the car, my "party" has become extremely scaled-down and socially distant, and my mom would never make it to see 70. I'm grateful that she taught me how to roll with the punches, because there have been a TON. I'm looking forward to this next decade; as much as my thirties will forever be known as the season in which I became motherless, I'm also thankful that the last ten years have stretched me, increased my faith, introduced me to my purpose, and connected me to some of the best friends that I will ever have.

Friends who come over and hang out with you on the anniversaries; the ones who can tell that you're sad but too proud to admit it. The ones who have become family. It makes me so glad to know that my children will grow up around an extended village who will build them up and encourage them...and when I leave them, they will be supported by them as well. That's how you break cycles.

This month brings so many mixed emotions, but for now, I'll choose gratitude. And joy. So, here's to my 30's: full of illnesses, death, and blessings in between. I think I'm gonna dig this new chapter. Happy birthday, kid. We made it.

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