Warning: Really long post!
Today marks the day that I'm a year older. Twenty-one. I thought to myself, "Other than being completely legal in almost every country, what else is special about this milestone?" I realized that there wasn't really anything special about being a certain age, but there was something special about reaching another year.
In other words, I'm blessed to able to see another birthday. I'm fortunate to have the basic necessities in life; a roof over my head, food to eat, water to drink, clothes to keep me warm. What I'm even more blessed with though, are all the people that make a huge impact in my life. And for all those individuals, I'm thankful.
Typically, on someone's birthday, they would be the centre of attention. But this time, I don't want it to be about me. I want it to be about the very people who care enough to make me feel special on this day. Today, I'd like to pay homage to you guys.
First and foremost, my parents. You both deserve to have your own praises. So, without picking favourites, I'll start out with my mom. The one who carried me inside of her for 9 long months. The one who went through numerous hours of labour to bring me into this world. The one who spent countless nights staying up, even though exhausted, when I wouldn't go to sleep when I should've. I am so lucky to have you, out of all people, as my mother. You are kind, loving, and generous in every way possible. From cooking, cleaning, and everything in between, you still found the time to care for me throughout all these years that I've lived. Even before I came into the world, you still cared for me, through pregnancy. You did everything a good mother should have done for her child and more. I pray to be just as good as a mother to Kayla as you were to me.
Now to my dad. Hi. I hope you're reading this! This is for you...
Some kids don't get the chance to have a father figure in their life. Some kids don't get the opportunity of seeing their parents happily married every morning when they wake up. But thank God, I have that luxury. Being my father, you've always been there to provide, discipline, and most of all, love me. As a baby, and even until now, you without fail gave me everything I wanted and needed in life. No matter what it took, or how much the cost, you gave. My years as a teenager were really tough, especially on you. I know I caused you a lot of stress and grief back then. Believe me when I say that I wish I could take it all back and have been a better person. But still, through all those times, you never left. Instead, you put up with me and disciplined me. I hope, now that I'm getting older, that you see the effect that your teachings have done onto me. I'm not the perfect child, though I aim to be, and I know I may still cause you trouble from time to time. Even so, you still show me that you love me unconditionally. And I do you. I don't say "I love you" often, but I hope you know that I do. You both have given me so much in life. Some things that money can buy and others that can't be bought. I plan to give back. My ambition in life is to some day give you both all the things you want and need that money can buy. As for the things that can't be bought, I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to repay you with the love, care, and respect, that you both deserve. So to my parents, thank you.
Next in line, of course, my little family of three. Darwin first. I don't know what to say that I haven't already told you. For starters, I really don't know where I would be if I hadn't met you. Before I met you, my life was pretty much spiralling out of control. When I met you, our lives were spiralling out of control together. Eventually, we learned to grab hold of the wheel and put it on cruise control. I'm truly grateful for you. You're the only one who I can share my entire thoughts, feelings, and secrets with. You stuck by me through the past four years of our relationship. Our relationship isn't perfect. We've had our fair share of problems. When no one wanted to see us together, you were still there to strengthen us and keep what we had going. When I got pregnant, you stayed with me and kept my spirit up. And now that we have a child, you're always there when we need you. I love you. A lot. You are one of the many blessings that I have in my life. We both know that we're still not where we want to be in life, but I know we'll get there. You are my biggest supporter, and I am yours. I know, eventually, all the dreams and goals that we mapped out together will come to life. No matter how long it takes, we'll get there together. Me and you.
Kayla. Nine months of pregnancy, throwing up at random, swallowing those huge prenatal pills, crazy contractions, delivering a child, healing after giving birth. All those things can scare a woman out of bearing a baby. But they don't think about the outcome of it all. I consider that one of the examples for the phrase "light at the end of the tunnel". Having a child is one of the biggest gifts in life. And that's what you are to me. You are my angel on Earth sent from Up Above. You make me happy in so many ways possible. Your smile, your hugs and kisses, they all keep me sane. When I'm having a bad day, just one split second with you and it's automatically better. You are the real reason your daddy and I are no longer spiralling out of control. I know better than to have crazy fun, if it means neglecting you. I promise to love you, cherish you, and care for you no matter what the circumstance is. You and your dad mean so much to me, it can't be explained through writing. So to Darwin & Kayla, thank you.
Aside from individuals, I have to thank all of my family that's been there for me. This one is to the Patague family, Merza family, Buado family, and everyone else who relates to the ones mentioned... Some teenage mothers unfortunately get looked down upon by their own family. I'm grateful that all of you accepted me when you found out I was having a baby. None of you treated me differently or made me feel less loved. You show the same love to Kayla that you show to me, and for that I'm thankful. As for all the years before the baby, thank you for all the memories and experiences. I have a special place for each one of you in my heart. To the people who aren't in this picture but are still family, I didn't forget about you. Just know that if you are still in my life, you mean something to me and I appreciate you. So to all my family, thank you.
Last but certainly not least, my best friends. It makes me sad when I realize how old we are now. We're all turning 21 this year. The sad part about it is that we're so grown up and busy that we don't get to see each other as much as we did. Angela and Iesha, I use to see you both every day since grade 7. And Jennifer, we used to see each other everyday since grade 9. But I guess that's just what comes with growing older. We have new priorities, new things to deal with. What's not new though, is the love I have for you girls. All of you got me through high school. You all dealt with my craziness way back when and sometimes even now. You all cared for me when I was pregnant. I remember when we would stay at the library at Joes and one time the librarian said something along the lines of, when you have your baby, your friends aren't going to be around anymore. We definitely proved her wrong. Until now, we still talk and we still see each other occasionally. You were all special enough for me to make you the godmothers of my first born. I'm so glad that we met and I know that with you guys, I found friendships that will last a lifetime. So to my bestest friends, thank you.
With all that said, happy birthday to me! But most of all, thank you to everyone who got me where I am today. I wouldn't be the same person that I am now if any of you hadn't come into my life. I love you all!