Forty-three. Shocks me to even say it. I don’t feel it. Not even close to it.

But, I am every minute of it. So, I’ve been busy, and sick – so I haven’t written for a couple weeks. I figured, what a better day to write than my birthday!?!

So where am I at 43? How do I feel? Well, I am stepping into this year feeling loved, cherished, supported, grounded, and grateful. From Covid, to acquaintances, to friendships, to motherhood – this year was tough. It brought me out stronger than ever before.

I learned, that when you trust someone, your truths aren’t scary. I also learned, how forgiving I can be – when given the truth. I have learned that parenting is harder than anyone could think. Also that parenting is the best thing ever.

I learned I love evening walks, holding hands. I learned I love holding hands, actually.

I learned that jokes from my oldest son, are actually the funniest out there. His comedic timing is perfect. And I can’t even stand it.

I also learned, that when your child’s heartbreaks, so does the momma’s.

I learned that my daughter has a huge heart, and feels more than she ever lets on. She is so loving and kind. One day, she will be an amazing momma and wife if she chooses.

I learned that my little boy feels a lot, and hears even more. He expresses sadness through anger. That’s tough to parent, but so much easier when you recognize it.

I learned that parenting takes a village. All good villages have soldiers. I am the Colonel of the village. Try to attack my village, I will cut you. (#kiddingbutIamnot).

This is 43!

I learned I not to take on other people’s issues. I lost a friend this year, I’ve written about it before, and I still don’t know why. I have just decided – it was God protecting me from toxicity. And for that, I choose to be grateful.

I have decided, I will forever be, unapologetic about being me. I will not allow others to critique my hair, my body, my clothes, or frankly – anything else about me. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask and listen. Otherwise, stay in your lane. Unless… You are a some type of fashion icon – then maybe I’ll listen… But probably not. I like what I like.

I have learned how to let someone take care of me. I have learned how to lean on another. I have learned, not everyone will let you down. I have learned, that grown folks talk out differences. I have learned, that no one is perfect, myself included. I have learned, that mistakes can be forgiven, laughter is contagious, and peace is priceless.

So going into my 43rd year. I am happy. I am loved. I am grateful.

And for everyone who made my day so special, I love you all.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I love my kids. 

All three.  Equal. 

Every single day, they amaze me.  Their heart, soul, laugh, faces, well – you name it.  Everyday.  Pure amazement.

But last night – took the cake. 

Let me give you a little backstory.  I hate video games.  Abhor.  They make me mad.  I hate to see kids just completely consumed by them.  But there was a time, about 10 years ago – that I too, had an obsession with a video game.  That game was SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE!

I loved that game. Tariq and I would sit for hours, side by side, playing this game.  Until a very tragic day.  They day, that at seven years old, he deleted my game.  The memory card.  I was about to beat the game.  Months of playing, straight down the tubes.  It was so sad.  I never turned it on again.  That was the last video game I ever played.

Through the past 10 years, I have been asked why I don’t like games.  If Tariq is around, I tell them that it’s because, “Your memory card could be deleted, and then it’s heartbreaking.” As I would look at him.  He would always say, “I’M SORRY!”, and we’d both laugh.

But last night, I cried.  Again.  Over a video game.  And here’s why. 

Tariq led me into his room telling me he had a surprise for my birthday.  He had created an emulation of Super Mario Sunshine on his computer – and had the game back at the spot I was at – when the game was deleted.  I was floored.  Overwhelmed.

The amount of work, the amount of time, the amount of dedication that it took on his part to make sure he knew how special I was to him – overwhelmed me.  That he remembered.  He worked.  And he surprised me.  I just can’t even believe it. 

I really am the luckiest mom alive.  The luckiest woman alive.  I have never felt more cherished and loved in my life.  God has blessed me in ways I don’t deserve – and I am forever grateful.

Tonight, I am feeling kinda somber.  Yesterday – was my grandmother’s 103rd Birthday.  And I know – It is amazing that she has lived to this age.  But to be honest, she isn’t doing good at all.  I spoke to my mom yesterday, she has double pneumonia.  She is bed ridden.  She doesn’t know where she is at – or who is with her.  She sometimes thinks that my mom, is her mom.  She is calling out for her own parents.  She is mostly blind.  It’s just completely sad.

And what makes me feel so sad – is that she has lived.  And it’s okay for her to go.  I am totally at peace with it.  I don’t know if it is that I am hardened, and I worry that I am.  But I honestly feel like she has lived a long life – and she is now only existing.  She isn’t living.  My grandmother, as I know her, has been gone for a little over a year.  This woman, now, isn’t the woman I knew growing up.  My grandmother, would eat chocolate fudge cake and mix it with a peanut butter sandwich.  My grandmother, would go through pictures with me on her couch – and tell me about the things I did when I was little.  My grandmother put up her Christmas tree  way too early – just because she thought it was pretty.  This woman, in the nursing home, is just what is left of who she used to be.

You know, although I thought for awhile I would die myself when Shaun died, I didn’t.  When he died – he was full of life.  He lived every, single, solitary moment – up until he died.  I can’t imagine what my mom is going through – seeing someone she loves – just not there anymore.  I am so thankful I never saw that.  So my heart hurts for her, too.

It will probably be any day – and I pray it’s sooner rather than later.  That makes me feel awful to say – but it’s honest.  She just isn’t who she was.  She has lived – and has a legacy behind her.  I just hope she knows how much we love her – and it’s okay for her to go.  She doesn’t have to live forever, we will be okay.

I wrote this on my birthday … but wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it or not.  I decided to go with it…. so here ya go.

“So, today was my birthday. Today I turned 37 years old. Or as I like to to say, the eighth anniversary of my 29th birthday. For those of you who knew me when I was married to Shaun, you knew that birthdays were really huge deal to him as they were to me. Birthdays to him, were like your own personal holiday. It was a day for you to be pampered and taken care of more so than any other day of the year. And for those of you who knew us then, you knew that financially we were strapped. But money never mattered to him – he did whatever to show me that I was a princess that day. And he did it like a champ. So once Shaun passed away, birthdays became like a horrible reminder of a horrible day.

My first birthday after Shaun passed away was absolutely horrible and beautiful at the same time. The reason being,  because I had friends who rallied around me and cared about my heart. But, that being said, it was still a horribly sad day for me. I remember my friend Jacqueline, bringing me her famous special black chocolate cake and it was absolutely delicious. I stood in the kitchen, while my friends sung “Happy Birthday” to me and put a huge smile upon my face, while I held my baby on my hip and my other two children surrounded me. I was so excited that I had people that love me enough, to put forth the effort to try to make the day less painful, but still felt sad down in my soul. Although, I knew I was blessed to see another year because I know what it’s like not to see one, I was still sad. To be honest, I felt like I would never be able to celebrate a birthday and be happy, no less – one of my  own. 

But this year, was a game changer. It was a whole new feeling to be in a situation where I moved to a new state to a new town and knew only 3 people,  14 months ago. But from the second that I woke up this morning, I was treated like a straight princess. I know that Shaun was looking down from heaven smiling at me, and saying “Baby, this is they was your birthday is supposed to be.” 

I realize, that I have made friends here that will be true lifelong friends. There are people here who love me. Love my heart, my soul, and my spirit – just because I am me.  It isn’t because I am Shaun Greenberg’s widow – or because I am Scott’s wife.  It’s because I’m Kristie. Just me.  I know that there are people who knew me before Shaun, during Shaun, and after he passed – who love me for me. But when you are relatively new area, and you arrive to your workplace – and your work family has went above and beyond – it’s mind blowing. I actually sat in my office today, and cried.  Not a sad cry, but they type of cry where – 
1.  You feel like you belong.
2.  You feel so blessed.
3.  You feel loved.  
And by people who haven’t known you that long.
They all went above and beyond to make sure that my day was special – and it was. When there are people who post on your Facebook wall-which I know sounds completely ridiculous, that’s a big deal for me. They still took time out of their day to say happy birthday. My brother and sister-in-law took the time to find the address of where I work or send me a gift which meant a lot. My mother and father-in-law came by to see me on my actual birthday I took time out of their day to say hey we love you happy birthday. My family, that lives in my house, makes me feel special every day. And for that I’m thankful. But, to have people outside of your own four walls, make you feel special – is amazing.

To find people that will support you, even when they know you are on a diet and going to the gym, will give you the dark temptation of chocolate cake, it’s awesome. The people have listened, and not just listened – retained the things that you’ve said – just to make you feel special- it’s amazing. Whether it be a bottle of Fiji water or a chocolate cake or a label maker or skull and cross bones – to know your valued as a human, a friend, and a woman – is a great feeling. Tonight, I will go to bed with a heart full of gratitude for the blessings that I’ve been given. Thankful for every single person who has touched me today. My best friend, the girl who is Siamese at heart, Jacqueline, has said to me, “To Honor your Moments” . Today I will honor this day, not only for the pain that my mother went there to get me here, the importance that Shaun had it to make birthdays feel special, or just another year gone by. Today I will honor my moments, by taking time to reflect all those who honored me. .  I will go to bed with a smile upon my face, and happiness in my heart knowing that I am loved.  Thank you for being my friends, my family, and my heart. I love everyone of you all and I hope that on your birthday you feel special as special as I do.  God has blessed me in ways I never thought possible.  So, I was wrong.  My birthday mattered a lot.  Little did I know, it mattered the most to me.”