Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Today, I am 30.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Wells. She loved country music, most of all Garth Brooks, and had beautiful grown-up handwriting.

Mr. Henry, proprietor of the local hole-in-the-wall hamburger joint. He had a dimple in his chin and called me darlin'.

Our small town family doctor's wife. She called me Molly-by-Golly and smelled like expensive perfume.

My granddaddy. When he would get really tickled, his laugh would go silent and he'd tilt his head way back and cover his mouth with his hand. He was a Marine, missing in action during part of World War II. He wrote letters from the war front about Iwo Jima and Okinawa and Hiroshima to his sister in Alabama. By God's grace, he returned home from the war and shortly after his arrival, met my grandmother at a local dance. She thought he was so handsome, but refused him when he asked to spin her around the dance floor. Her daddy had told her to be wary of men in uniforms because they could be fast.

My cousin Kelly. She tight rolled her jeans, shopped at the GAP, and wore their signature fragrances: om, grass, and earth. It was the mid '90s and she was the coolest.

Dave Matthews Band. I remember the exact way my room looked and the exact feelings I felt the first time I listened to his voice croon through the speakers.

My lovely parents. It is a precious gift that they are also my friends.

Panama City Beach. Only an hour and a half drive away from my hometown. My parents each took vacations there when they were kids and continued the tradition with me. Bright sun high in sky and white, sugary sand and brilliant aquamarine waters clear as crystal. We'd stay on the beach all day- getting 'brown as a berry' my mom would say- and then wash the sand off and go to dinner. My dad would always book a room overlooking the ocean and I'd drift into the sweetest sleep to the sound of waves crashing against the shore.

J. My champion. He sees me in the dark and in the light and he loves me wholly.

You might call it trite, but I'll call it true: I am the woman I am today because of these people and places and countless others. My life is by no means perfect or without pain, yet it is with joy and hope unending that I celebrate these thirty years of my story and the people who have made it so.


We are young
So let's set the world on fire
We can burn brighter
Than the sun

My glittered photo shoot in Central Park made possible by my beautiful and talented friend Rachel