A friend wrote that sentence in a birthday card for my twenty-second birthday. It made me cry. Shortly after my twenty-second birthday I was not particularly glad I had been born, nor, because of hard chronic anxiety, did I think a particularly enjoyable life was ahead.
But time heals and truth heals, and I'm in a much better spot now. That's a long story for another day. Today I want to take a moment to remember the renewed hope and joy that was twenty-three.
Dear 23, we ushered you in with pizza and family and cheesecake. One of the best pizzas. We never would have known about it if friends hadn't taken us to a little eatery just four miles from our house. It's people who help you make the best memories.
Every year brings new things, but you brought two new family members--one welcomed with hugs and white satin, one welcomed with hugs in a tiny bundle of joy. Auntie has grand plans to expand her library, and her phone wallpaper has been captured by chubby cuteness ever since Baby came.
You were the best of years. I held my first book just two months into you--that beautiful cover that's founds a home in the hearts of friends who helped make it possible. I never knew you would be the year that would happen. Another dream gift from a kind Giver.
You were a grand year for friends. We rang in the New Year with charades and gales of laughter and tasty food. We road-tripped down to Realm Maker's and ate sushi and cinnamon rolls and tacos and cake. We got together at coffee shops and talked when we were supposed to write. We stayed up late on a summer Monday night and hugged and cried. We hung out at Wendy's and chatted about stories and music and a friend's brand new book baby. We sat by fires in Canada, not even having to say a word.
Speaking of, you were a grand year for books. We held a friend's first book too. Our favorite fantasy author finished the trilogy we've been following for three years. We encountered the glorious word-magic that is N.D. Wilson and tackled fun Shakespeare plays over the summer. We met Paddington and re-read C.S. Lewis's heart-throbbing wonder of Narnia.
You were a grand year for starting new habits. Cassey's calendars turned into a twenty mile march of working out 3x a week. I love wiggles and hate bird-dogs and it's all worth it. We've tried (failed) to change bed times, tried to drink more water, and last month tried to mindlessly scroll through social media less. Sometimes we made progress. Sometimes we didn't. But trying in itself felt like progress, and that was nourishing to the soul.
You were a grand year to hang out with the fam. Sis in her beautiful pink grad gown. Lazy days of movies and treats and workouts and cats and house-sitting that I will never forget. Women's events and summer evening concerts with mother and father dearest, respectively
This isn't to sound like you were all easy. Like any year, you had hard moments. Crying at the kitchen table in sweaty exercise clothes. Sitting on a striped blanket, voicing pain and questions.
But you were a milk and honey year in a promised land of God's people and good memories.
Dear 23, you were a beloved gem of a year. I'm leaving you behind for new horizons. But I am deeply glad to take the same Love with me for the bend in the road.