If you’ve been around here for a little bit, you know that I write letters to my kids on their birthdays and share them here. A few years ago, a priest friend of the family encouraged me to do the same, for myself.
So, at the suggestion of Fr. Tom, here’s this year’s birthday letter!
Happy birthday to me!! I am such a birthday super fan, so enjoying every last minute of today won’t be hard for me. Pretty sure I’ll drink a Dr Pepper, hug some friends (yay, we get to do that this year!), won’t clean the kitchen and maybe throw that last load of laundry in the dryer. The day-after-my-birthday-Kathryn will appreciate it.
Last year was a beat down. But I’m trying hard not to let it dictate this year. That loss that I feel? I’m trusting that it won’t always be this painful. The call I wish would come in from my dad? It stings, but I think I’ll visit his grave, instead. He’s here. And, I promise to look around at the people who ARE here and let them know how much I love and adore them. God is asking me to be alert to the blessings around me. They are, literally, everywhere.
I’ve made a conscious (and sometimes very hard) decision to pause from my usual level of “doing” and instead do a little more “breathing.” I know my true joy comes not in the comparision of my life to other people’s and their accomplishments, but rather in celebrating how God is using them to build the Kingdom.
Being on national radio last year? Crazy fun. But the full-time job was not meant for me. Speaking? I absolutely love it, but being on the road all the time? Not for me. With each experience, God is revealing my strengths, allowing me to celebrate the talents of others, stripping away my pride and showing me – bit by bit – what it is he needs from me. I feel like we’re close. I just have to be patient, and give him time.
Parenting adult children, the thing I feared the most, has been a tremendous surrender of self. This wasn’t in the parenting brochure, y’all! But, I can say with full confidence that God has prepared me well. Notice I didn’t say “perfectly prepared” me. So, we are learning, growing, apologizing (so much apologizing) and getting better. Every day. This season of life? It is so, so sanctifying. And, so, so good.
Watching every single Marvel movie during the pandemic, finishing up a ton of honey-do projects (hello painting baseboards and doors and ripping out all the landscaping!), creating so many inside jokes and going on an epic road trip? I will remember them for the rest of my life. I’ve grown in awareness, in empathy, in forgiveness and in love. Truly, this has been the best, hardest year of my life. The gratidude for the highs and lows, and everything in between, is profound.
The joy of being Mrs. Whitaker has not faded, but rather been magnified this year. We celebrate 25 years and we worked hard for every single one. Scott continues to be my sturdy shelter and I adore him.
I pray 47 is a year of more forgiveness, more love, less grudges, less worry and more celebration for what’s right in front me. It is a gift to have a birthday. And that is never lost on me.