Today is my birthday. Thirty-seven short years to reflect upon.

I think it's true what they say--that youth is wasted on the young. But the time you realize what a gift youth is, you're not so young anymore.
I've always been a big birthday person. Growing up, birthdays were tremendous in our home. As big as Christmas, with piles of gifts. I think the first birthday I can actually remember was somewhere around the age of 5. I can vividly see a Wonder Woman birthday cake my mother made. Today's birthday cakes are so different with their fondant and gum paste. That Wonder Woman cake required only a Wilton cake pan and a star tip. And it was perfect.

I remember birthdays at my grandparents house in the country and sitting outside with my grandpa while he smoked my favorite meal--barbecue chipped beef. He always put mayonnaise on his barbecue sandwiches--a tradition I still continue today. I don't know anyone else who does that. But every time I top a barbecue sandwich with mayonnaise, I think of birthdays and grandpa. And the hen that pecked me on the knee that one time as I sat on their back porch, sending me bloody and crying into the house.

I remember my 16th birthday, of course. My prized gift wasn't the driver's license I brought home. It was the typewriter this future writer unwrapped later that day. I still have that typewriter.

Life ebbs and flows. Birthdays come and go. It's the same for everyone.

For me, though, this year was more chaotic than most.

But this isn't a sad birthday blog. It's a very happy birthday blog. This year, while somehow both wild and monotonous at the same time, was a year of triumph. I made it to the other side of some really big things. And somewhere along the way, somewhere deep inside one of the busiest years of my life, I managed to find some time to take better care of myself... to make me a priority.  For me, that has meant chiropractic and acupuncture, regular manicures, really organizing my closet, taking the plunge and finally investing in a Sleep Number bed (It's amazing! My number is 35, by the way) and letting my kids stay up a little bit later so I can enjoy them a little bit longer.

Every year, I promise in true Lion fashion, will be "the year of the April." I'll say I'm going to focus more on me, and spend less time worrying and more time living. And then I don't.

But this year, the year when I probably had the most reasons not to, is the year I finally started doing it. I was about 8-months into the year before I realized in all the busyness and all the craziness, I'd forgotten about me. But these last four months have been magnificent. I've no idea why it took me so long to realize that a better-cared-for me is able to better care for everyone else.

And that's why today, on my 37th birthday, I'm celebrating me and looking forward year 38, which I'm sure, will truly be "the year of the April."

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