As I sit in my bed, on the morning of my 36th birthday, I find myself reflecting on my life; the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly and everything in between. I find myself remembering those who are no longer here and being grateful for those who are. I find myself asking myself the question, “If I died today, would I be happy with the life I have led?”
I have always been a very ambitious and hard working person. You can definitely say I have a Type A personality. I never had to take the “Which Friends Character Are You Quiz” because I already know, I’m Monica! Being Type A has it’s good and bad qualities. I’m organized, almost always on-time (I was ALWAYS on-time and early before kids!), motivated and a self-starter. BUT, as my family and friends will tell you, I can also be easily frustrated, need everything to be perfect and have to be doing something at every moment of the day!
As I reflect on my life, I remember what an amazing childhood I had. I had two loving parents, the best sister in the world, a grandmother that was everything to me and friendships that made me who I am today. We went on fun vacations, not exotic, but definitely fun! I was supported as I chose my path as a gymnast, and my family stood by me through all the ups and downs related to this sport. I was loved and cared for, and I never went without anything I needed.
I wouldn’t say I was spoiled, but I was daddy’s little girl. I loved my dad, and we understood each other. He was a Type A personality too! Was he perfect, of course not, but who is. I accepted him for who he was. So when he had a major heart attack at age 44, when I was in 8th grade, my world changed.
From age 14 through 33 years old, the age I was when he passed away, I savored every single moment we had together as I never knew when it would be the last. Growing up with a sick parent is difficult. It was emotional, and I am sure, created some of the fears and anxiety I have today. It also, however, made me realize that every moment must be appreciated. I savored every birthday he celebrated with me and cried like a baby when we danced at my wedding. I know he loved me, and he died knowing I loved him!
As I sit here, I also reflect on the strength, determination and tenacity my mother instilled in me. I cherished the times she was class mom and attended my school parties, and I loved having her at EVERY gymnastics competition. I admired her as she returned to work to help support our family, and I admired her even more when my parents separated as she handled it with amazing grace during a very difficult time. Personally, I would have kicked the crap out the woman that was sleeping with my husband! (Told you my dad wasn’t perfect!) She was and still is a true role model!
Now for my sister! My sister has always been my best friend. We did everything together from gymnastics to hanging out with friends to working at the YMCA. We were rarely separated. I am trying to think of words to describe her and our relationship, but I don’t think those words have been created yet. There has never been two sisters or ever will be two sisters that are as close as us. So when she recently moved to Louisiana, my heart broke. This will be the first birthday in 36 years that I will be without her. She is my rock and I hold every moment with her close to my heart. We may be separated by miles, but we will always be close at heart!
I would be remiss if I did not mention my husband of almost 9 years. We have been together since I was the young age of 22. We have been through a lot and continue to conquer the world together. He continues to surprise me with fun family trips to weekend getaways to just a hot cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. Is our marriage perfect? Of course not, nor would I want it to be. The joy of life is growing and changing along side someone else. It’s important to have someone in your corner for better and for worse. Although I may not show it each day, I appreciate the man that is my husband.
Although I am only turning 36, sometimes I feel as if I am an old soul. I have endured a lot in my life from the death of my dad to the death of my grandmother and everything before, after and in between. I began working at age 14 and never stopped. In fact, I usually had 2-3 jobs at one time. I never relied on anyone else, and I continue to be a very independent woman. If I need something, then I work for it! My mother and grandmother taught me that!
I live life for every moment. I love to travel and have had the privilege to see many places all over the United States. I was a Las Vegas enthusiast (visited 10 times) but now, as a mom, I am a Disney enthusiast (planning our 5th trip as a family). I take my boys to as many events as I can as I want them to experience life and all it has to offer. I want them to learn about different cultures, lifestyles, science, art, and so much more. I want them to play as they learn!
So can I answer the question I asked myself above? “If I died today, would I be happy with the life I have led?” Are there things I still want to experience and places I want to visit? Of course. Are there people I still want to meet and those I want to thank for their huge impact on my life? Definitely! But the answer to the question above would have to be “YES!”