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I celebrated my 27th birthday yesterday! It feels like yesterday that I turned 17 on a snowy Sunday. At the time, I celebrated by singing this tune with my mom and blasting this song during car rides with my friends. 17 was one of my most favorite ages of all because it held so much possibility.
I was months into having my first job as a cashier at a local car dealership. I loved that job. On my 17th birthday, I was five months into having my license. It felt like sweet freedom and possibility wrapped up in one little card. My first car was still new to me, a 2001 Honda Civic affectionally dubbed ‘Prince Charles Wallace III’, or ‘P.C. Dubs’. In case you’re wondering why my first car was named ‘the third’, I decided it sounded more regal and distinguished. Dillon still drives that car to this day and at 206K miles, it’s still going strong. College was an exciting adventure on the horizon, but far enough away to not require applications and decisions.
At the time, Thursday afternoons were for stopping at Panera for an asiago bagel or Quiznos, where I almost always was given a free cookie at checkout. Friday afternoons were for baking cookies and cakes with my best friends and taking drives to the beach together when the weather warmed up. Sometimes we’d go to the mall to try on dresses for upcoming dances, modeling for each other as if the dressing room was our own runway. Friday nights were for trips to the diner to split fries and dream about the future. Saturdays were for huddling together at the chilly ice rink to watch hockey games at night. Sundays were for Taylor Swift singalongs on the way to church and giggling bashfully over the boys at youth group. There was so much possibility ahead. I cherished every single second of it all, and have savored every season since.
I can thank my mom for that. We had countless heart-to-heart chats during car rides to and from cheer practice while I was growing up. On one particular car ride in early high school, she encouraged me to slow down and savor every bit of that season. We used to listen to this song and I’ve carried the message with me ever since: you’re going to miss each season when it’s passed. Savor today.
I still feel 17 at heart, like those days were just yesterday. But I wouldn’t trade where I am if I could. At 27, I’m married to my forever crush, the one guy who has my heart for the rest of my life. I’m still listening to Taylor Swift on the way to church. I bond with my dad over hockey games and bake cookies with friends. I still twirl around in beautiful dresses with them, for occasions much grander than the semi-formal dance. We still take the occasional late-night trip to the same diner. I still have those friendships and they are precious to me. I’ve gained seven siblings, and small group sisters, and youth group girls. I’ve found work that doesn’t feel like work through my desire to serve others as a photographer. I take adventures and am learning and growing every day. I set big goals and throw everything I have at them. There is so much possibility ahead.
To celebrate turning 27, I woke up to a living room filled to the brim with confetti balloons. Dillon stayed up late the night before to adorn our space with colorful streamers and balloons to make things extra festive. He picked up Starbucks for me when I woke up. Y’all, the shortbread latte tastes like cookie butter and it felt like I was drinking a dessert for breakfast!
Dillon carried out his family tradition of making a fruit face for me while I enjoyed a slow and restful morning. I taught him the basics of how to shoot photos in manual, working toward the goal of him shooting weddings with me in the future. We ate burgers for lunch (a newfound favorite food for me!) and went to watch planes at the airport. From the rocking chairs in the observation area of the airport, we dreamed of the future and the adventures we hope to have. His sweet mom took me shopping for the cutest new clothes (J. Crew scalloped skirt, enough said) which was such a blessing to this coupon-wielding, baby-step-following frugal girl.
As Dillon and I ended the day with a late-night warm skillet cookie at my favorite restaurant, I felt genuinely grateful. I’m grateful for this season of life. I’m grateful for all the ways the previous seasons of life have prepared me for this one. It makes me smile to see all the threads of my 17-year-old (and 21, and 25, and everything in between) self in who I am today. I’m so excited about turning 27 and seeing all that this year will hold. I’m expectant to see all that God will do in my life this year. In it all, I’m excited to make something beautiful with what I’m given in the days ahead. Cheers to 27!