Happy Birthday to Me

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On January 30th, I happily celebrated my 43rd birthday. It was a great day. It was exactly what I envisioned and most importantly, I embraced my sobriety. There was no going to bed wasted and waking up feeling like crap. Nope. Not this year. I enjoyed every minute of my birthday and for that, I feel extremely blessed.

Birthdays are a really big deal in my house. In fact, my children make fun of me because I don’t just celebrate my birthday on the day I was born, I celebrate it all month long. At the beginning of every new year; the 29-day countdown to my special day begins. The month long observance of multiple festivities (this year sober ones) culminates with The Birthday Week Countdown whereby one of my best friends, Sheila “Dizzle” Diaz, gives me a precious gift everyday for the five days leading to the big day. She totally gets me and loves me so much that she has “bought in” to my birthday magic.

I love her for that. Another Witt birthday tradition is that my son Chantz slaves over a delicious breakfast of Texas french toast complete with candles and serves me this feast in bed. And sometime during the day, my adoptive parents, the Campbells, send me a beautiful bouquet of birthday flowers that never ceases to amaze myself or my students. And then of course there are my daughters who, no matter how little money they have, make the dollar store merchandise as appealing as that of a high end department store. I’m not kidding, they always go above and beyond the normal and create dimestore chic.

The celebration continues into the evening as the Birthday Queen gets to select the dinner menu and then my fabulous husband, amateur chef Ken, prepares the meal. This year I chose steak, scallops, sautéed mushrooms and a green salad. Every single bite was amazing and paleo-friendly.

After dinner, we go around the table taking turns sharing what we love most about the guest of honor. I absolutely love that part, even when it’s not me they are praising!  I must admit that this year was one of my favorites, as my daughter Shelbee gave a detailed speech about how much she loves me and why. However, the other birthday attendees weren’t as thrilled as I due to the lengthy nature of her tribute. Ummm…too bad, so sad. Ask me if I care. I don’t. (Insert cackle here.)

There is no doubt; I am loved. So, why then, with the love fest that I call my birthday, does it bother me so much when my father doesn’t acknowledge my birth? Not a card, not a phone call, not a text…nada, nothing, zilch. And not just this year, but every single year. I should be used to it. It’s not like it’s any surprise when my special day comes and goes without so much as a peep from my dad. I should be used to it, but I’m not. I wanna be; but I’m not.

Grow up Kristen! My goodness, you are 43 years young and you care about what your absentee father does? Yes, I do. But, I don’t wanna. It’s painful and I don’t like pain.

So, here I am, six days later and I finally had my annual post-birthday meltdown. I cried, I yelled, I screamed, and I questioned God as to why I was “gifted” with such a crappy father. Why me, oh Lord? Why is my father so self-absorbed and selfish that he doesn’t acknowledge my birthday, or me, for that matter? What in the heck did I do to deserve such an unkind and basically nonexistent father?

Yes, I RSVPed to this pity party and spent a good part of my day there. After much questioning and a horridly poor attitude on my part, I finally admitted to my husband what this “mood” was all about. His response? He just hugged me and let me cry, as he’s done a hundred times before where my father is concerned. And I appreciate that. I love him for that. He, too, gets me.

Sometime during the evening, my mom called and left me a message. Know this: I love my mom, but we have had our issues. She has had her addictions and problems and I was forced to shut her out of my life and the lives of my children several times. We don’t speak on a regular basis and she did not call me on my birthday.

Still, in her defense, I have never doubted her love for me. My mom has a good heart; she just got sucked into the addiction nightmare. After all, she absolutely refused to abort me after my father begged her to. That speaks volumes in my book.

I took a deep breath and pressed play on the message. “Hi Kristen. This is your mom. I couldn’t go another day without wishing you a happy birthday…I love you. Goodbye.” Tears. But, happy ones. And she sounded good! I could understand every word she said; no slurring and no going off on a tangent. And suddenly, my entire mood changed. I felt joy, I felt peace, I felt love.

And I called her back. And we talked for twenty minutes and we haven’t done that in years. My mom loves me and I love her. And that feels so good because that is the way God created us.  As humans, we are born to love and be loved. And I know that I am so loved, by so many. It’s like God has put people in my life to love me because he knows that my father isn’t capable of that in his humanness. But, sometimes I forget that and today my mom’s phone call reminded me of that. And I am thankful.

Rachel Barrentine sings a song called Sacred Symphony. It’s about how God loves us so much that he sings over us with a sacred symphony. The tune continues with us asking him to open our ears to hear this beautiful song that he’s written just for us. It’s a virtual love song written by God, especially for us.

The first time I heard this song, I absolutely sobbed. I was at a women’s retreat and the flood gates just opened up far and wide and I didn’t care who heard me. For the first time, I just the Father come in and love on me and more importantly, I felt deserving of this honor and not because of anything I had done, but because what Christ did for me.

One particular verse changed my life, “You formed my heart before time began. You smiled at me, the day I was born. So fearfully and wonderfully made, by your hand oh God.” That was all it took, the chains were broken. You see, not many people smiled on the day I was born; teen catholic pregnancy, a father who didn’t want me and was angry that he had to give up a college scholarship to become a a responsible human being and care for his child. In any case, the smiles were few and far between. Except from my Heavenly Father who smiled and smiled and smiled and wrote a song just for me.

I don’t know why, but it took my mom calling this evening to remind me of how much I am truly loved. He handpicked both of my parents and he knew exactly what he was doing. He just doesn’t make mistakes and that’s good enough for me. So if my dad continues to live a life devoid of myself and my children, it’s okay. God has my back and His plan for me is better than I could ever formulate on my own. I truly believe that.

In the meantime, I will continue to do birthdays with my family like we are “rockstars” because after all, God sings a sacred symphony over us every single day of our lives.

Can you hear yours? I hope so. You are loved.

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Hello my Name is Kristen & I am a Mother Hen

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Have you ever had one of those mornings when you just wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head? Of course you have. I mean, none of us are perfect, right?

We had one of those mornings in the Witt household today. In my family, I am the self-proclaimed “peacemaker.” By self-proclaimed I mean that without me, the fireworks and arguing would continue until there were mass casualties; be that physically, emotionally or mentally. Feelings get hurt, pride rears it’s ugly head and sometimes harsh words are spoken. Siblings fight, parents argue, even the dogs get involved on a daily basis. And so usually, “Mother Hen” (thats me) swoops in and saves the day. I know that when my husband calls me by this title, it is definitely not a term of endearment. But, guess what? I chose to make it a title of honor  and I am considering getting a blinged out shirt to wear so that anyone who needs my mother hen services will feel comfortable asking for them. I would most definitely begin every session by reminding everyone involved that words hurt and once spoken, cannot be sucked back in and swallowed. Food for thought, right?

Though it’s been a festive Christmas season, things have been a bit tense at times around the Witt homestead. My oldest son is home from college and at the ripe old age of 22, seems to think he knows everything. He’s an “adult” now and should be treated as such. The fleshy part of me wants to belly laugh and bill him for his cell phone, insurance, etc. But, alas, I will not and patiently wait for the day when he has his own 22 year old son who thinks he knows it all. Oh, won’t that be sweet revenge, um I mean reality. (Insert evil laugh here.)

After the fireworks and waterworks this morning, I retired to my room to regain my sanity and I will admit, had a brief pity party. Thankfully, I sold my shares of the winery, so I kept my wits about me. (Pun intended.) I had a cry, more like a hysterical sob and thought about who I could call in this crisis situation that would make me feel better and validate the way I was feeling. Well, no one RSVP’d to my party, so I cried out to God. “Why is this happening? How come I don’t have parents who love me to walk me through crappy situations? What have I done to deserve this? I’m sick of this, God!” A lot more was said, but you get the idea.

I think I must have just tuckered myself out with all of the crying and dialoging because I finally just laid on my bed and listened for God to answer me. “Well, God. I’m waiting.” Ya, let’s not be sassy with God. “Okay, Lord. I love you and I know that You love me. Please walk me through what to do here. I want to do it Your way because mine doesn’t work.” Instant peace. I’m not even kidding. Total peace and comfort. Hmmm…

I glanced over at my nightstand and low and behold, was my daily devotional for spiritual warfare. I turned to December 27th and read the message and the prayer. The scripture covered Isaiah 40:1-5,11 and though I read it all and every word applied to the way I was feeling, one part really saturated my heart. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength’ they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Wait. What? My pity party was unnecessary? My God will renew my strength, as long as I seek him first and not try to do everything on my own and in my own power? I already knew this, but somehow in the chaos of the morning, I shut God out and thought I could do it better on my own. Imagine how much more smoothly my household would have run and how much less exhausting my Mother Hen session would have been had I allowed God to work through me. Wow. Yes, I want to run and not grow weary; I mean after all, being married to Ken, having four kids and teaching full time has me in a constant marathon. I need my Heavenly Father and not just when I’m in full meltdown mode. It’s time to be proactive in the Word and not reactive to life. Oh, that’s good; maybe even blinged out t-shirt status good.

Good talk, Lord. Thanks. So, with a smile on my face and my Christmas pajamas and messy hair in place, I proceeded to walk down the hall and pour a cup of coffee. I was refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. Chisholm remarked that I looked “a lot better” and I told him that Jesus and I had a meeting and it went well. He just smiled and said, “That’s good mom.” I smiled back and hugged him.

Something else that should be mentioned is that even though I thought I needed to “vent” to friends following the fireworks, no one was available to validate my craziness. And that’s good. This opened the door for some much needed dialogue with God because Lord knows, I needed to be straightened out before I could even attempt to straighten out others.

This Mother Hen has learned a valuable lesson. I definitely don’t want to put all my “eggs” in my own basket because that just leads to scrambled eggs, shells included. No, I want to “co-hen” with Jesus. I know that in the future, we are going to fix up some seriously delectable omelets; shells not included. Be blessed friends.

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