You know the phrase, 'it takes a village to raise a child'? Well I recently learned how true that phrase really is. On September 27 I celebrated my 25th birthday and I wanted to do something special to celebrate it. 25 is not really a milestone birthday, but in my own mind, it seems to be. Besides the fact that I can now drive a rental car (with paying extra to do so), there is nothing very momentous about the number. But for me, half way between 20 and 30 seems important, so I decided to make it important to myself. I started thinking about what I would do, I found a blog post on pinterest (of course) about a woman who did 27 random acts of kindness on her 27th birthday. I thought about doing that, but logistics talked me out of it. Then I started thinking about my life up to this point. I have truly come so far and have experienced (at at times merely survived) so many things in my life. Perhaps the most defining times in my life have been my high school years, and post high school years. The former where I battled with (and nearly lost my life to) anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and depression, the latter where I found my way and became baptized as a member of the LDS church. But none of what I have been through would have possible without the support, love and friendship of so many people. In short, I would not be who I am today (or maybe even be alive today) if it were not for the many people who have helped me along the way. This pondering of my life, combined with the blog post I read led me to the project that would mark my 25th birthday. Write letters to 25 people who have helped me along the way, and helped me be the person I am today.
Originally I intended to write 25 separate letters, but as my deadline (aka, my birthday) approached more quickly than I realized, I decided to write to 25 people. On the top of my list was my mom, and she was the first letter I wrote. If you know anything about my relationship with my mother over the past 25 years, you know that my mother is a saint, she is my hero and a best friend to me, and I owe her so much (especially my life). Others on my list included my sister, grandparents, friends, my 5th grade teacher, people from my past and from the present, and my husband. When I started this project I thought I might just write an email to each person (because stamps are really expensive, and I had a better chance of finishing if I could send an email) but I decided good old fashioned snail mail would be better, and I think it made the process more meaningful for all those involved.
As I wrote each letter I thought about why I had put this person on my list (my list was much longer that 25, but I had to narrow it down or I would be writing letters for months). I searched my memories and my past, I put my thoughts and feelings to paper. Often they were letters of gratitude for things they did, whether they realized what they did affected me or not. At the end of my letter writing journey I realized how lucky I am to be alive. How blessed I am to have the help of so many people in my life. And although I only wrote to 25 people, there are dozens more who deserve a letter (and maybe they will get one at a later birthday). Because through this whole experience I have realized that it really does take a village to raise a child into a women, wife, mother and friend such as I.