Moments, Memories, and Milestones…

I turn 28 on Wednesday.

I’m all kinds of mixed emotions about that.

I’m sitting here, my last 26.5 hours left of being 27… and I’m thinking of my 18th birthday.

10 years ago….

School was fun that day. I wore khaki pants and a white peasant top, with my hair in a bun of curls. I went to dinner with a group of friends from my Spanish II class, and then rushed home to get ready for my pentathlon birthday party. Of course I’d stayed a bit longer than I’d planned at the dinner… I was always late getting places.

My friends came in the door… we played games. One involving a VERY tall ladder in the middle of our vaulted ceiling living room. There was a boy there I liked, (maybe even two) and we had a Carvel ice cream cake. And it was a GREAT party!

But my mind was thinking about a phone call I’d received before I left for dinner…

a friend wouldn’t be coming to my party… because another friend was dead.

In the most surprising, selfish way that a person can die… and for medical, chemical or other reasons otherwise unknown… one of the most sincere, passionate, happy, friendly, joy-filled people I’ve ever met…. took his life on April 6, 2001 at only 18 years of age.

It was my first real death…no one else I’d ever known had died.

I’d never before, or since, seen a dead body… the lifeless shell that used to be my friend.

And I personally believe that my friend is in Heaven. He knew Jesus.

I prayed the entire next week, that God would tell him everything I hadn’t said. Only after I started repeating myself, I realized, God knew… and He didn’t need me to say it twice. I will see my friend again someday.

And after 10 years, I wonder what his life would have looked like.

Mine certainly surprised me!

I graduated from college with a degree in MUSIC.

I went on a mission trip to JAPAN the summer before my senior year of college, which led to my year long abroad the year after I graduated, which led to my subsequent love of SUMO.

I was a CAMP COUNSELOR for two summers.

I changed from a very social butterfly, with lots of “friends”, to a homebody, with few CLOSE friends.

I still love CSI: Las Vegas… which has also been present in the past 10 years.

I was married at age 23 and was an Aunt by age 24 (again at 26… and soon be two more times this summer!)

I have more pets than I thought possible, and my need/desire for children wanes (although, to be honest, 10 years ago… I felt the same way)

I worked as a PARA in kindergarten for three years followed by 2 years in SPED.

I have watched every STAR TREK episode and movie ever made.

I learned to crochet, make oboe reeds, fly around the world, speak Japanese (well, sorta), and drive across the country solo.

My hunger for life, thirst for joy, and desire to love and be loved has multiplied.

I love to plan vacations… and I barely make it home before I am planning the next one.

In 10 years…. I have lived.

I’ve seen sadness, joy, jealousy, frustration, love, indifference, happiness, anger, peace, selfishness, selflessness, patience, gentleness, pain, gluttony, sloth, kindness and death.

10 years have passed… I will see people this summer that I haven’t seen since the day I sat in my green cap and gown… KNOWING that life was about to change. It made me sad then, just as it does now, that nothing repeats itself perfectly… identically, a second time.

This might seem macabre for a birthday. 28 , after all, has my favorite #8 in it. And it will be the last year that I don’t have to worry about the dreaded and foul curse word that begins with th—-.

As for my last day of 27, I will spend it thinking, and thanking God for my blessings and life.