[Image shows three spoons laying on a laptop keyboard. Overlaid is a clipart of torn notebook paper with a red paperclip. On the paper is a red party hat over the words “Chronically Fabulous Birthday Fun”. At the bottom of the banner is the URL for Thee Crohnie Grace Blog.]
A week ago my brother and boyfriend talked about what we should do for my birthday. They were going to surprise me with a trip, but knowing I like to plan for things and have a heads up about things, they chose to ask me instead. They wanted to take me to a state park in Ohio known as Stroud’s Run, where we could canoe and swim and hang out.
I agreed it sounded like fun so come June 6th, we all got up bright and early. It was a bit of a drive for us, so we wanted to get a head start so we had plenty of time. We got some coffee because I had gotten little sleep the night before, and then picked up friends and headed out. I left my cane at home and was determined to have a day without my illnesses interfering.
We got a bit lost thanks to GPS mistakes but soon ended up right on the correct path. Once we got there, my boyfriend and brother headed straight for the canoes. My shoulder was a bit too sore from the last of my stitches/strip coming off so I opted to just wade in the lake, just up to my knees. I swore I wasn’t going to swim even though I had put on a bathing suit just in case.
[image shows me standing in lake water up to my knees. I’m wearing pale blue lace shorts, a blue with daisies ostomy cover, and a bikini tank top that is blue and black with patterns. My palms are positioned outward showing my crystal tattoo and purple and green awareness tattoos. I’m smiling and have my glasses on, bright red hair, and NJ tube.]
Hollee and I took lots of photos. Just of the scenery and the people, and dogs. We took photos of Chris (my boyfriend) and Ross (my brother) canoeing. They didn’t canoe more than half an hour before coming back because my brother got tired of rowing, so they switched off for a bit.
We let the guys take photos of us hanging out as well.
[image shows me standing next to my best friend. I’ve got my hand holding my bangs out of my hair, I’m laughing and m y eyes are closed. Hollee is doing the same. I’m wearing a a tropical design shirt and she is wearing a grey crop top. Her brown hair is pulled back into a pony tail. ]
It was windy but nice, we were laughing so hard as the photo was taken trying to keep our bangs out of our face. Soon Chris and our other friend returned and they all grabbed their towels and shoes and went down onto the beach (lake-beach). First they just waded in but then they both took off full speed out as far as they could!
[image shows three boys taking off into the water, a line of trees in front of them.]
I wasn’t going to swim because I was nervous about my ostomy, as I technically had still never fully submerged it. But soon it looked like they were having so much fun so I took off my cloth shorts and took off my fit bit, which I accidentally dropped in the lake but caught before it was lost. Hollee took my stuff for me and put it with my clothes and shoes on the beach.
[Me standing up to my knees in water, my arms spread outward, in my full bathing suit (black shorts and blue/black patterned top. Still got my glasses on and daisy ostomy cover.]
I took off my ostomy cover and tucked it into my swim suit bottoms. I then slowly started wading out deeper, until I was submerged from the waist down and then out further until I was almost fully submerged. Soon Hollee and the rest of them followed.
[image shows Hollee standing in the water with jean shorts that are pale blue and a bit torn, and a grey tied crop top. She is making peace signs with both her hands and smiling.]
We all swam around and joked and laughed. Afterwards we went home, showered and hung out and just relaxed for the rest of the night.
I celebrated my birthday with my dad earlier that week, and then celebrated my birthday with my mom today before Trivia Night at the local Coffee Bar.
Overall this birthday has been phenomenal. 19 doesn’t feel much different.
Except for the stress tied to growing older. I have a super huge fear of losing the ones I love, and I know it is inevitable. But with each year that people celebrate my life, I feel more like it’s a count down as people grow older. It sends this fear through my body that time is limited and to treasure each day, for me to make an effort to spend more time with those I love. I am so afraid of losing my mom and dad and grandparents that it hits me hard on my birthday that I am getting older, and so are they. And I’m never gonna get those moments back when I was little, and if I don’t make an effort now, I may not get the chance later in life. I know a lot of it is anxiety. But I see people talk all the time when they lose their parents or grandparents about how they wish they could talk to them again or spend time with them one last time, and I don’t want any regrets when I lose those I love. I want to be able to say, I spent time with them, I cherished them.
It seems like a silly thing to think about on your birthday, but ever since I was 13 I remember staying up all night crying the day before my birthday, stressing about how time flies and we don’t ever get that time back. It’s like congratulations you lived to 19, here’s a coffee machine and the impending fear of people you love growing closer and closer to their inevitable death.
Besides the anxiety, and the pain and exhaustion by the time I got home, it was a great day. I could not have asked for a more perfect birthday, and for so many people to wish me a happy birthday. And here is to many more like it!