Today was one of those days. One of those days where you feel like you’re about to experience a little disappointment, and it makes you feel sad. And while the day was filled with other really great things – studio supply shopping, decorating my space, dinner with a new friend – it was equally as filled with a little bit of heartache.

I have a BIG birthday coming up. Like, a change in life birthday. The big 4-0 if you will. I’m not one for big bashes in my honor, being put on the stage (unless I’ve had a cocktail or several), etc, but this time around, I do want to make it a big deal.

My hubby asked me last fall what I wanted to do. I suggested a trip somewhere would be cool. Just our closest friends, to somewhere with either wine, water, or mountains. Specifically, Napa, Cali, or a mountain retreat. Since it can be expensive for a couple to travel, he suggested a girls’ trip, to which I said, “Yay!”

He wanted to make it somewhat of a surprise, so up until a couple weeks ago, I had no idea that he had wrangled together my closest pals for a celebration in Napa. What?!? How amazing is that? With a little help from my friends, they were planning a little getaway for us all. And I felt really really, freaking special.

And then it started to happen. Life started to happen. What once sounded like such a great idea, and what sounded like something my friends wanted to be a part of, was affected by this thing we call life. This little birthday pseudo-surprise just might not happen.

I know all too well about life getting in the way of big moments. I was still mourning and in shock about my mom’s death during my wedding week, for goodness sake. Actually, I was still in shock on my birthday that year. Numb from the fact that I lost my mom the day before.

And that’s why this year’s birthday meant so much to me. It wasn’t about being on center stage, or getting all the attention, or making a big fuss. It was about being with some of my closet gal pals whom I love. You see, the last two years have been tough birthdays. Unfortunately, Jesse has a yearly work retreat that coincides with the 13th and 14th of June. Which means, the last two years, I’ve been away from him on mom’s anniversary and my birthday. He’s planned great dinners, thoughtful evenings out, and even a solo trip, but it was still so hard to not have him there on those special days. From now on, my birthday will always be intertwined with my mom’s passing. Always. It will always be overshadowed by something much larger. It will always be overshadowed with life, and the loss of life.

And that’s why this year’s birthday meant so much to me. I wanted to celebrate with no shadow. I wanted to celebrate with close friends, and for just one birthday, forget about the loss of life associated with it. I wanted to feel special. For just that one day. To feel that, would mean the world to me. And to have that start to slip away annoyed me. Come on universe, just let me have this time with my friends.

I hesitated on whether to post this. I didn’t want to be a crybaby, or be selfish. I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad, because after all, we can’t always control life. But then I realized that I needed to write down my thoughts. Because those events that happened almost three years ago affect how I react to things today. It makes them mean that much more. It makes me feel that much more. Maybe it’s the emotions, maybe it’s my change in hormones, or maybe it’s all the recent reminiscing, but it does affect me. And I’m sure it affects others that have gone or are going through this, too. And this, even an event like this, is part of the story I’m wanting to tell.

Days like today happen, and will continue to happen. Those events shaped my thinking, and my feelings. But I can choose how they affect me. I can continue to mourn and continue to feel sorry for myself, or I can channel those feelings into something positive.

Writing these posts have been therapeutic for me, and it’s also reminded me of things I learned along the way. Tell your friends you love them. Tell your family you love them. Never take for granted one thing. And definitely don’t let life get in the way. Experience all you can. And take time to make someone feel special, as you never know what they may be going through.

No day is guaranteed, no birthday is guaranteed, so celebrate life while you can! I’ve got my fingers crossed, behind my back, that the little birthday celebration trip still happens. Being with my closest pals would be the greatest gift I could receive.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that life just chills out long enough for all of us to celebrate LIFE together. That would truly make me feel special.