This is 29

This is 29

Another year already? 

I sat in the mirror (a few days before my birthday) examining the fine strands of grey growing near the front of my face. It was a sign that I had become another year older.

Twenty nine years ago yesterday, my mother endured what can only be described as extreme pain to bring me into this world. Frankly, let's face it, birthdays should not be about us. They should be about what our mothers endured to get us here. 

As we tend to do on days like this, I found myself reflecting over birthdays past. I thought hard about what I did on those celebratory occasions. I could only remember a small handful.

Twelve years ago, on my 17th birthday, my parents surprised me with a new car. 

Ten years ago, on my 19th birthday, Brant took me to Point Pleasant beach for the day and we enjoyed dinner at a little seafood restaurant on the bay. It was the first birthday I spent with him. 

Eight years ago, on my 21st birthday, Dana (a dear college friend) drove to New Jersey from Maryland to celebrate with a bottle of Patron (not much memory from that day)! Note: I have not had tequila since. 

Four years ago, on my 25th birthday, I was three short weeks from marrying the love of my life. 

And last year, on my 28th birthday, we spent the weekend in New York City and had a lovely lunch at PJ Clarkes and dinner at Babbo in the Village.

There are a few others that I remember from childhood, but many of those memories seem so far away. How terrible that I can only remember a select few? I've had 29 of them now! Truthfully, though, I am thankful for another year. Sure, I am noticing smile lines on my face, grey hair atop my head, my body changing... and I am okay with that. Because while I may not remember many birthdays, I do remember...

The day I met my husband. 

The day I became Mrs. Forrest. 

The day we bought our first home. 

I remember the days I've spent in the hospital with loved ones. I remember the ones that have been lost. I remember college graduation ceremonies, weddings of friends, countless adventures we've taken abroad, late night BBQs, and deep conversations with the best friends a girl could ask for. 

I remember years upon years of the most incredible, colorful, difficult, joyful, gut-wrenching memories. They've given me these creases on the corners of my eyes and the smile in my heart. I thank God for blessing me with 29 years of life. It is a joy denied to many and for it, I am thankful!

Anyway, I went back to the mirror last night and took another look. This time I concluded that I was more than a year older. I am one more year experienced, definitely wiser. I felt so thankful for everything life has given me, and that I can continue to grow and be a better person each and every day.

And, in case you were wondering... I had a terrific birthday, complete with a trip to New York City, macarons from Laduree, two birthday cakes, a slew of greeting cards, dinner at Del Posto, and a wonderfully prepared meal by my one and only. 

And to those of you who took the time to call, e-mail, text, Facebook message, send flowers, sing "happy birthday," or write out a card, I want you to know, your warm messages, well wishes, and loyalty are very much appreciated! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

xo

Stephanie, The Little Lady