I’ve been a big ball of sappy lately because this month has been full of celebrations and the closing of another year for me! We started the month with Mother’s Day, our 6th wedding anniversary, my birthday and the 1st birthday of my second son. It’s been an overwhelming amount of fun and planning but most of all, I got to experience an enormous amount of joy and it has me reflecting on this past year and how much things have changed.
To be 100% honest this has been one of the toughest years I’ve had recently. Having a new baby that didn’t sleep for three months during the night, like was legit awake every.single.night from 2am to 4am and then up at 6am and he cried out every hour until midnight. Yeah, that shit was rough and it’s hard not to let the lack of sleep mess with your head and drive. But I have the biggest support I’ll ever need, my hubs, talk about number one dad/husband! Over the last 12 months I’ve struggled to keep up with all the events, blogging and being able to take care of myself. I’m finally getting to a place where I feel a little more calm, a little more rested and a tiny bit closer to that groove we once had.
But the thing that struck me the most this past year was how many friends and beautiful relationships I’ve gained from doing Arizona Foodie. Who knew that I would connect, love and admire so many of the people that I’ve met through this gig. Getting to eat the most amazing food on a daily basis is a great perk but meeting all of you, you’re my favorite part. I got to celebrate my birthday for a whole week, which I’ve never done in my life and it’s because my friends and family wanted to spend time with me. I know that might not seem like a big deal to a lot of you but growing up the way we did, that’s not something we experienced, ever.
You see, growing up we didn’t do birthdays and we were pretty isolated, so I didn’t have many friends. Celebrating wasn’t something our family did, in fact, I remember my sister and I baking a cake one year and we were told to throw it in the trash. That’s just how our family rolled. Our family tradition at holidays was dad yelling, food in trash, children in fear and plenty of tears. As a little girl you could find me in the basement flipping through my Martha Stewart Living Magazine, idolizing her and wishing for the days when I would get to have a Martha Stewart holiday. When would I be able to recreate her pictures of festive times where people were smiling and laughing, enjoying delicious food together and celebrating. Someday this would be me, it had to be, I would make sure of it. I would peer out our window and see into our neighbors’ windows, they would be sitting with their families, enjoying their birthday, their Thanksgiving, their New Year. This was what I envied as a child, that family in the window or that picture in the magazine, either would be acceptable. And so the Martha Stewart holiday complex was born!
I was desperate for hope and change but even with moving out on my own, the cycle continued. I spent holidays roaming the lonely Seattle streets with my sister or sitting with Jim in our tiny apartment with a few bottles of 151. And I dreaded my birthday because I had yet to build enough confidence in myself to be able to form friendships. About 10 years ago my life started to shift in a different direction with the move down here to Arizona. Little did I know I was running from my problems but really I was forced to face them even more so.
Slowly as Jim and I built a family of our own, we found friends that became our family, the friends that I had wished to have for years. I’m so happy I don’t have to search for you anymore (you know who you all are). Holidays slowly started to become less painful and I stopped trying to force them into something they weren’t because let’s face it, only Martha Stewart can have Martha Stewart holidays. And that brings me to our present day and these past few weeks, and why I feel so ridiculously grateful. It might not look exactly like a page out of Martha Stewart Living but as a little girl peering out that window, I finally see myself on the other side, celebrating and laughing, smiling and enjoying life with people that I love. I received an enormous amount of calls, texts, emails, personal messages on FB and even posts on my FB wall. Each and every one of them meant something to me because you took the time to do it. I know I’m being long winded about it but I’m blessed, so blessed to have what I have today, the family and the friends. And it didn’t feel like I was celebrating my birthday, I really felt like I was celebrating my friendships. It gave me an excuse to spend more time with you and to remember how special each of you are to me. xoxoxo