Today I turn 35. A few weeks ago I decided that I had two choices. I could crawl under my blankets and wish it all away, or I could celebrate that I’ve been given 35 years of love, laughter, happy tears, sad tears, struggles and success. So often as we (I’m talking to you ladies) age, we end up feeling like we’re losing who we are, who we used to be. As Brené Brown says, “People may call what happens at midlife ‘a crisis’. But it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live. Not the one you’re ‘supposed’ to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are.”
My good friend Lynette of Hovering Heart Photography had recently done a smash cake session with another friend of hers, and when I saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do… Inspired by Brene’s quote, and Lynette’s images, I decided to celebrate my birthday as only I could, with a smash cake and a glass of red wine! Those who know me, know my love of wine. It’s almost a part of who I am. I don’t know, maybe it was growing up in one of Germany’s key wine regions, or maybe it’s because it tastes so dang good. Who knows… and cake, I mean, who doesn’t love cake?!? (If you don’t, that’s totally acceptable too, and feel free to give me yours, I’ll happily eat it for you!
I decided to kick off this party a week ago and it’s been so freeing! So ta-da! This is me at 35. Twenty pounds heavier than I’d like (refer to cake statements above), smiling brightly, laughing way too loudly, wearing my favorite hat, trying to remember to hold my stomach in, and having the time of my life with a good friend as she photographs me in 100 degree weather, as my daughter is, as any child would be, appalled that I’m wasting a perfectly good cake by smashing it up.Thank you so much Lynette for capturing this crazy celebration for me! If for some reason one day my time comes and I’m no longer here on Earth, that is how I want Chloe to remember me. Having fun, laughing, enjoying life and loving. This birthday is just a small part of my legacy for her. For when she isn’t my biggest fan, or for when she stops wanting to dress exactly like me, and grows up to be an amazing woman. I want her to know that it’s okay to be you. Imperfect, quirky, beautifully, genuinely you.
Eight years ago, this day almost didn’t happen. I was fighting for the life of myself and my unborn baby. And shortly after Chloe’s birth, I almost didn’t make it. The nurses didn’t think I would survive, in many cases, moms with the severity of what I had don’t. Yet somehow God decided that it wasn’t my time to go yet. Looking back, those days and months in actuality were such a short time period in my life, yet so much of it has defined and shaped me into who I am today. If I’m completely honest though, this next sentence should be, that I never forget the blessing I was given. However, truthfully, I forget about the gift I was given every day. During the moments when I complain and get frustrated with those extra pounds that I can’t seem to shed no matter how hard I try (okay maybe not always as hard as I should). During those moments when I get frustrated with traffic, chores, homework, editing, my endless to do list and those moments when being a businesswoman, mom and a wife are hard. I forget what a privilege and blessing it is to be there to gain those pounds thanks to delicious food, to sit in traffic, to be a parent and a spouse.
I constantly need to remind myself that, as Jen Hatmaker so wisely put it, “We cannot do it all, have it all, or master it all. That is simply not a thing.” And yet, on days like today, I truly feel like I have it all! I have the amazing and supportive husband, the beautiful and talented daughter, a huge loving family, and a business that has given me the opportunity to capture so much love, my cup runneth over! Some things have been given to me as gifts that at times I don’t know if I even deserve them, and others I have worked, challenged, pushed myself and sacrificed to get. Believe me when I say that being a photographer is one of the greatest prides of my life! I love the fact that I get to meet new people, serve others on the happiest day of their lives, and in turn have had the privilege to become friends with so many wonderful couples, at times I feel my heart may burst!
This is me at 30 friggin 5. That board above depicts me pretty perfectly…well except the one thing Steve pointed out that I left off, which is my inability to summarize (hence this long blog post)!
And since it’s my birthday, I get to end this with a little Ryan-ism, words to live by
Do more than just exist. Touch lives, smile, laugh, take risks, do things you never imagined you could do, but most importantly live!
Live beautifully, dream passionately, love completely.
Follow along for more of our shenanigans, work, style, and, of course, our amazing couples!