Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 1, 2008 - Happy Birthday to Me.

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My Birthday Last Year... 2007... Snow Canyon
I know I have used this photo before, BUT... it is one of the better photos of our family in the last year.

Last year, I turned 30 years old, so Aaron surprised me with a trip down to St. George, Utah. We stayed in an amazing place and we went mountain biking in Snow Canyon. We took Aaron Jr. with us and he loved riding in the bike trailer and watching the scenery. It was so much fun and it was a birthday I will never forget.

Well, this year's birthday was my first birthday since Aaron passed away. An interesting tidbit of information: Three months since Aaron passed away would have fallen on my birthday if it hadn't been leap year this year. But because it was leap year, there was a February 29th, so 'three months' fell on that. My birthday was the next day on March 1st. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if 'three months' had fallen on my birthday, but when I realized that was going to happen, I was glad.

Back to my birthday... earlier in the month of February, my friends and I had decided to get together for another 'girls overnighter' at my friend's cabin in Heber. It just so happened that the best weekend for it was going to fall on the weekend of February 29th / March 1st... so I was happy that it was going to happen over my birthday. I knew it was going to be a hard day anyway and this was going to be a great way to try to be distracted. Well, the day of the overnighter came and my friend, Marilee, whose cabin we were using called and said she was sick, so the plans were going to have to be cancelled. I felt really bad that she was sick, but after I got off the phone, I was just a little sick myself thinking about the whole weekend being cancelled. I just knew this was something that I needed to have happen. So, after calling a few friends regarding the situation, we all started searching for another place to go.

We came up empty handed... I was actually freaking out a little bit inside just worrying about the feelings of loneliness that were approaching. Well, an idea popped into my mind... there was a bed and breakfast in Salt Lake that Aaron and I had stayed in before and I thought about the room we stayed in and knew it would be perfect for us friends. So, I called the bed and breakfast to see if the third floor room was available and how much it would cost. I talked to the owner and told her the situation and that we had stayed there a little over five years ago. I told her why we needed a place and why it was so important to me this particular year. I asked her about the third floor (it has a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room area) to see if it was available that night. There were now 5 of us going and that would be perfect to split the cost. So, I called all of my friends who were supposed to go and they all said that was fine and it was back on. I was so relieved.

So, Me, Kerianne, Amy, Kaylynn, and Carrie all went to dinner at The Olive Garden and then we went to the bed and breakfast to spend the rest of the evening.

Kaylynn had made a cake for my birthday, so they sang to me and I made a wish and I blew out the candles. After that, we ate snacks, played a game, and we talked into the night. It was so much fun and I am SO grateful that we could still get together for the overnighter. Marilee was missed, but we will all have to try to do it again sometime soon.

The next day, we went down for breakfast and the two ladies running the place were so gracious. They seemed to love having us there. They had prepared a nice breakfast of fruit and waffles and orange juice for us. One of the ladies is a painter and her paintings are up all over the house. She has some packs of greeting cards for sale there and when Aaron and I stayed there, he bought me a pack of cards that had a lighthouse painted on it. That morning, I noticed the same Lighthouse scene was still for sale there, so I asked her if I could buy one. She GAVE it to me for my birthday. It is a sweet reminder of the time Aaron and I went there together.

Kaylynn, Amy, Leslie, Kerianne, Carrie

After breakfast, we went back upstairs, talked a little more, and got ready to go. From there, Kaylynn, Amy, and Carrie had to go home, but Kerianne and I had time to go shopping in Park City at the outlets. So, Kerianne took me to lunch and then we went shopping. We found a few good deals and were excited.

On our way home from Park City, it was snowing and Kerianne happened to miss a turnoff, so it took us through Salt Lake and we happened to be driving past the street where we could turn and be at the Salt Lake Cemetery in a matter of one minute... so I asked Kerianne if she had time for us to stop there. It seemed like a tender mercy from Heavenly Father that we happened to take a turn that led us past it. I had wanted to visit the day before, but it was so busy. So, it couldn't have been a better day for me to go... on my birthday. I got out of the car and as I approached Aaron's site, the snow had melted and for the first time, I could see the square where there was just dirt still. Since it is winter, they hadn't planted grass yet. It was very strange. I broke down and started sobbing because seeing the square area of dirt made me realize how recent Aaron's passing was. It made it still seem so very close and recent. It was very difficult to see that, but I liked being there. I miss Aaron so much.

Anyhow, after we got back to Bountiful, I got my car and headed up to Aaron's parent's house to pick up Aaron Jr. They had taken him for the night. When I got there, Aaron's Dad opened the door and I saw some decorations hanging up throughout the house. It still didn't click though and I continued to walk in and try to find Aaron Jr. Well, all of a sudden, Aaron's family (everyone who could be there) jumped out and screamed 'Surprise' or 'Happy Birthday' or both... I can't remember because I just was completely shocked. I couldn't believe what was happening.

Kerianne had been in on it and was under instruction not to bring me back until a certain time. She played it off perfectly. I have never had a surprise party before. I threw Aaron one every year for his birthday and now I know how it feels to be surprised. It was a little strange at first being the one who they were focusing on, but I can't tell you the wave of gratitude that camed over me realizing how sweet they were to try to make my birthday extra special since Aaron isn't here. I felt loved. They lit candles on the cake and I made a wish again and blew them out.

John Wayne and Leslie

We ate dinner and I opened very sweet gifts from everyone. April and Dave and Suzy, who live out of town, even got their gift to me in the mail on time. After Aaron Jr and I came back to my parents house, my parents gave me my nice gift and they sang to me.

I am so extremely grateful to everyone who made such an effort to make this birthday a special one since Aaron couldn't be there.

Once everything was over and things quieted down, I started feeling the loneliness creeping in and I was missing Aaron so very much. I will tell you all 'my wish'... my wish when I blew out both sets of candles was that I would be able to feel Aaron around me that day. It is something that I pray for all the time... I was reading on Aaron's sister Sadie's blog the other day and she had a Hopi prayer that talked about all of the beautiful things around us and seeing the person we are missing in those things. So, as I reflected back on the day, I realized that my 'wish' and my prayer had been answered. I looked back on the things I had seen that day and I looked back on the people who had made the day so special and I thought of Aaron Jr... and I realized that... Aaron was there all day.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Thank you Aaron... I love you.

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Surprise party photos courtesy of Christa. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful entry, Leslie.

I am thinking of you.



LL said...

BEAUTIFUL Leslie! You write so well, I was completely enthralled as I read this post. I'm happy for you, HAPPY Birthday indeed. You are blessed, and loved!
Glad to hear it was a fun day...
I wish you many more!!!

Vicki said...

I'm glad you got to have your overnighter... it sounds like it was a lot of fun and it's always fun to hang out with friends. And I'm glad you had such a good birthday! Love you!

Matchbox Mom said...

Happy Birthday to a beautiful Mom and Wife!
I know that those ones that have left us for a little while...I know that they check in on us, and i'm sure he was there with you!


Crystal said...

Happy Birthday!!! I am glad you had a good one. I was thinking about the last birthday I spent with you when we talked you into going to the dance club. And we had the DJ play the Toby Keith song you love so much. And we danced the night away and had a blast. Hope you are doing well and if you ever want to come and visit and let the boys play, I'd love to have you over!

Sarah said...

Hey There, You don't know me but I found you yesterday, through the comment you left on matchbox mom's blog the other day. I don't remember now what you said in the comment that made me want to come and see your blog, but I came and read all the way from the beginning. I spent the entire morning sobbing for/with you through your entries. I can't even imagine what you must be going through but it is very clear that you are such a strong person. You are beautiful and your son is so handsome! You two are lucky to have each other. You are blessed to have such wonderful family on both your side and your husbands side. You are definitely loved! It is also a blessing to have such great friends and I was glad to come back and read your post today about how you were able to spend your birthday!

Anyway, you were in my thoughts the remainder of the day yesterday and for a good part of today, I couldn't not come back and leave a comment. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts as well as my prayers.

Mindy said...

What a wonderful, happy, sad, emotional, fun birthday! I'm glad you could have your girl's party, and surprise party. Love you!

Rita said...

Happy Belated Birthday to You. I am glad that you had so many people to share it with and had a night and a day with family and friends showing their love for you. They will be your strength when you have none of your own. God Bless You, Leslie...& Aaron Jr. too.

Joann said...

I am glad you were able to go away with your girlfriends. I love that Aaron's family threw you a surprise party. I can just imagine Aaron being there and enjoying YOU being the one surprised.

I also just wanted to share a little quite with you that a sister shared at Enrichment Night tonight. She was talking about having lost her little boy in a drowning accident and how another sister in the ward made her a bookmark with this quote stitched into it, "Keep your eyes toward the sun and you'll never see the shadows." I thought immediately of you. You have done such a wonderful job of doing just that. Like your girls have somehow found a way to surround yourself with good so that the hurt isn't so unbearable. I admire you for that.

Thinking of you ALWAYS!

Emma-Kate Castricum said...

Oh Leslie,
Of course you felt loved. Although I don't know you personally, through reading your blog, I've seen what a wonderful woman and mother you and what a lucky man Aaron was to have you as his wife and partner in life. He was so blessed to have you.

I'm glad your birthday was lovely and you felt the warmth of close friends and family around you. I'm mostly glad that you felt Aaron with you, that's beautiful.


Lynette said...

Happy belated birthday!! Your birthday/weekend sounded absolutely perfect...just what Aaron would have wanted. I am so proud of you for your positive outlook even when things can be overwhelming. Just keep on living and loving, and know that Aaron is with you still. What great family and friends you have.


Liz said...

Happy Birthday! I am glad that you were able to have some good ole girl time.

Kristi said...

Happy Happy Birthday! It sounds like everyone took good care of you and made it special.

Thanks for all of your help here with surgery, doctor appointments, basketball games, etc.

Brenda said...

I'm glad you had such good experiences for your birthday.

Sasha Fisher said...

Happy birthday and wishing you lots more happy and fulfillnig ones. I am so glad you have great friends to take immediate care of you. Miss you tons.


ShleeA said...

Leslie, I am so glad that you had a Happy Birthday. How nice it is to spend time with girl friends. We all need those special times with friends. I think of you often and pray that you continue to find the peace that you seek. Take Care.

Kjell Tore said...

Happy Happy Birthday! from NORWAY

Yes -- You are a great girl --
I just have to send thanks -- that I had the great experience to meet you.
I give you a hug -- from NORWAY

Mange hilsen
Kjell Tore

Seesalou said...

happy birthday. hope you are having a nice getaway.

Karey said...

Looks like a jam-packed birthday. Glad you had a good time. Have fun in Oregon. Give Aaron Jr. a hug.

Tawnie said...

Happy Birthday Leslie.
I'm glad you could be so celebrated on this day. Love you! Have a good time in Oregon!

Sverre said...

well happy super late birthday! I can barely remember my kids birthdays, so hopefully you have no high hopes of me:) Glad it was a great day. And yes, costa Rica was wonderful! Thanks! love Erin