Thirteen years ago today I had a birthday like no other. I didn't have an incredible party or take a special trip. I was in an accident. I was crossing the street and a car struck me and then sent me flying 10 feet. All I really remember is that in the ambulance I overheard the paramedics whispering about how surprised they were that I was conscious and relatively uninjured. Besides a mild concussion, a broken tooth and road rash on my face I wasn't hurt at all. One of them said with a smile I was lucky to be alive. I was doing so well I was back to school the next school day.
Ever since that day, which seems like a lifetime ago, I've struggled with the feeling I should make good of my second chance at life. For a long time I was planning on becoming a nun. When the time came to join a religious order I dove in head first. It was on my birthday six years ago that that plan went out the window. There I was, a nun in my habit sitting next to one of the monks in our order more than a little distracted. It was a few weeks later that he and I decided religious life wasn't for us. The next year we were married the same month of my twenty-fourth birthday.
Here I am a mere five years later and it's my birthday. I just (finally!!!) put my 9 week old baby to bed after a long day of family fun. I did nothing except for spend time with my husband and our four hilarious, wild, adorable children. Just like every other day since we welcomed each of them into our family my day was full of laughter, tears, diapers, dancing, singing and fun.
As I reflect on the past thirteen years I can't help but think that I truly have made good of my second chance at life. I've surrendered myself completely to the life given to me. I may not always be the perfect woman, wife or mother, but I'm trying every day to be what I need to be in that moment with my whole heart and soul.
I had a million little reminders again today how lucky I am to be alive. How lucky I am to have this life. And how lucky I am to be reminded every year to be grateful for every second.