My Birth Day

by Ashley Weeks Cart

Today is my 33rd birthday.

It is the first time in my life that I will mark this occasion without the woman who made this very day possible.

Three years ago I wrote, “So today, on my Thirtieth Birthday, I want to say thank you to my own mother for being strong and brave, especially on that day thirty years ago. Thank you for bringing me into this fragile, beautiful, incalculable world so that I could one day know the power of birthdays and a mother’s love, and wish you, mom, a Happy Birth Day.”

How those words resonate more than ever today.

And how grateful I feel that I spoke out loud, wrote down, and shared my love and appreciation for my beautiful mama with her and the world. It could be easy to be filled with regret, and unsaids, and unfinisheds when life is ripped away so unexpectedly, so suddenly. But in all of the ugliness and sorrow of the past two months, there is no doubt. While there is longing for more time, there is no regret of love unspoken.

She knew how desperately I loved her. And I knew how very much I was loved in return. While we could be tough with and on one another, we were equally as fierce with our love. And while I ache to have that love at my fingertips, to physically hold it in my arms, it sits confidently and securely inside me, forever anchoring my heart when I need strength and bravery and to believe in myself. She always believed in me, and never hesitated to speak that pride and belief out loud.

I will spend every day of my own life making sure my children know how deeply they are cherished, so that they know the warmth, and comfort, and confidence that comes from a love modeled by their Momar.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for showing me how important it is to name those three words. And thank you for making today my Birth Day.