I woke early this morning (5:55 as a matter of fact…hmmm) as I always do on my birthday. I have a birthday ritual – I wake before everyone, when the house is quiet, and read what I wrote in my journal on my last birthday. I reflect on what my hopes were for the year, assessing how far I came, what I learned, how it all turned out.
Reading what I wrote last year on December 4th…all I could think was wow. I wrote what a wonderful year 2009 had been, how happy I was, how much I had learned. 2009 was our 20th wedding anniversary, and Troy and I renewed our marriage vows in Jamaica. It was a blessed year. Work was good, life was good, love was good. I was happy, happy, happy.
And these were my wishes for the coming year, 2010:
“I look forward to this year, and all the wonder and uncertainty it holds. My arms and heart are open, ready to feel and experience it all. Love, health, creativity, growth, passion, new experience.”
Well, I can’t say I didn’t get what I asked for. Love, health, creativity…check. Grateful for that. Perhaps I should have been more specific in the “growth” and “new experience” categories…like maybe adding the word POSITIVE before them (will definitely remember to do that today).
Anyone who’s been following my blog this year has heard ad nauseum about all the drama: law suits, dog attacks, threats of violence, restraining orders and police and court dates, bubbling sewage, failing septic system, thousands and thousands of dollars to home disasters, one dog attacked by pitbulls, the other dying of cancer, bug infestations, car blowing up, and worst of all, losing a dear, dear friend to an untimely death.
2010: A painful, frightening, disastrous year.
But it also was a year of love, inspiration and miracles. It was hard to see it at the time, but in reflecting back, here’s what I found:
Miracle #1 – I spent my birthday in a writing group at Joyce Maynard’s house last year. In a private moment, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said “You are a great writer.” My knees buckled and I cried. I had never taken my writing seriously before- it was just something I had always done since the second grade. I wrote just because, well, because it was in me. And then I stuffed it away in a steamer trunk. After that day, I got to business – working my ass off every day, through all the drama of the year, until finally – I finished my book.
Miracle #2 – Out of pain and frustration I launched a blog, so I could cry and whine to someone else and give my poor husband and girlfriends a break. Before that I had never entertained the thought- didn’t even read blogs or really know what they were. You all endured a lot of whining from me this year. You truly did, and you were kind and patient and loving. Thank you.
Miracle #3 – Friendship. Early this year I found my birthday sister Amy Ferris. Immediately she led me to Kristine and Molly, Richard, Monica, Linda and so many beautiful souls, that before I knew it I was surrounded by angels. Amy Ferris is an angel-magnet. Yes she is. And my relationships with each of my closest friends was put to the test this year- big time. But in every circumstance (and there were some jaw-dropping crazyass circumstances this year that I did NOT blog about) , I was amazed how LOVE was bigger than the problem, and how our friendships not only survived, but deepened. So to you wonders, Erin and Beth, Dani, Cindy – thank you. Man, our friendship kicks ass.
Miracle #4 – When our neighbor threatened us with violence, and the pitbulls were snarling at the gate…I was terrified. I couldn’t sleep. And I put it out there to all of you, my friendship angels, and you offered support, love and prayers. I felt your prayers around me like a shield. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel afraid anymore. You gave me courage, advice, solutions. You lifted my fear, countless times. When my father was in the hospital, when Greg died, when my dog Brandy died, when my house and appliances and life were all exploding…You lifted me.
Miracle #5 – My son Taylor was married to Aya on Valentine’s day (and the real miracle was that I planned a wedding in 20 days!)
Miracle #6 – Taylor and Aya’s son, Ayumu Cameron Ikuta Dexter, was born on June 1st. Now there is more love and chaos under the Dexter roof. I couldn’t be happier.
Miracle #7 – My daughter Cristen not only survived a very painful break up, but thrived. Now she has a slammin’ new job at Live Nation, a slammin’ new apartment in West Hollywood, a new car, and a rich, full life. Who needs Mr. Wonderful to be happy? This girl oughta write a book for other young women. The title: “Create your own damn happiness!”
Miracle #8 – As many of you know, eight years ago I found my biological father, and my whole big, wacky, beloved family came with him. This year two of my brothers (Ted and Ted), my sister Heather, my nephews, my stepmom Susan, then Aya’s mom Kunie, all came to stay with us, filling our home with love and hope.
Miracle #9 – We were in Yosemite when we got the news that Greg had died. I think we were being looked out for, because the shock would surely have leveled us if we hadn’t been in the comfort and beauty of God’s country.
Miracle #10 – Evan. Just Evan.
And above all- my husband Troy. That we stood solid through all of this, didn’t let the stress affect our marriage, held hands and walked through the storms together, and that I love him ten times more now than I ever thought possible… I’d call that a miracle of almost biblical proportion. I would like to have t-shirts made. “We Survived 2010! and we still love each other! A lot!”
And I know many other seeds of miracles have been planted, that will take root in the future. I do know this.
So today, as I wrap this up, my birthday wish for the coming year is this:
Health, Financial Abundance, Safety, LOVE, Peace, Boundless Opportunity, Abundant Work, POSITIVE Growing Experiences (please!), Faith, Hope, Creativity and Inspiration
I wish these things not only for me, but for every one of you. And I hope (and trust) that the kindness you have shown me this year comes back to you ten-fold.
Thank you for being a part of my miracle year, and my life.
(Mine and Amy’s astrological forecast for today from our newest obsession boothstars.com – and by the way, thanks a lot Barb Radecki for getting us addicted)
If today is your birthday: Even if you only achieve just a fraction of your goals you have set out for yourself today, you will end the year feeling exceedingly pleased with your progress. A rare and most fortuitous celestial canopy is today blessing your prospects for the next twelve months.
Is it true? Who knows. But I’m running with it!!!
And I am running with you girlfriend. So happy to have met you this year and I love your writings, your spirit. and your ability to tackle tough issues. I would add of course learning boundaries and how to say no and not feel selfish. Love to you. See you soon.
Couldn't have said any of it better…you can do anything! Hope you are having a lovely birthday ; )
Hollye – Hollye – thank you for taking us to the light through the darkness. I love you.
You are a miracle in and of yourself. This is beyond beautiful, and has me feeling both weepy and inspired. Much love, and Happy Birthday!
Cried when I read this. Happy, happy birthday. Welcome new year of abundance.