Happy 40th birthday to me!! To be honest, I feel like we’ve been celebrating my 40th birthday since the middle of July!! Haha. My sweet residency girlfriends surprised me weeks ago for a weekend getaway trip to California (I shared all the details here). I had no idea at the time, but it was everything I needed! Just thinking about those friendships gets me teary-eyed. And 2 weeks ago, Joe surprised me with a weekend in Desert Color with the whole family! It was the best weekend together.
Amidst all the celebrating, I’ve been a little emotional about turning 40. Not because I’m getting older, but just because it’s the end of an era. Like, I’m done having babies. I’m done having little kids at home with me during the day (all of my kids are now in full-day school). Like these little things that I thought would last forever are now gone. And also, because I guess I just felt as though I haven’t done enough to be 40. I thought I’d be all proper and grown up. But I still feel like the same 18-year-old Kailee.
I always imagined that by 40 I’d have everything figured out. And well… to be completely honest, I felt like this last year of our life’s we’ve had nothing figured out! Or so we thought we did, but then God had other plans for us. I imagined I’d have mastered things like not feeling stressed (ha, jokes on me) or I’d be cooking fabulous meals every night in the kitchen without needing a recipe, just like my Grandma Hunter. I imagined I’d be having weekly lunches with my girlfriends and be in such a fabulous schedule that I’d be going to the gym every day too. I guess I just thought that I’d feel different, more grown up, and it turns out I don’t.
I’m still the same “speaks her mind” kind of girl, the one who always wants a plan and a list for everything. The same girl who worries about things I have no control over and gets irritable when I’m tired, cold, or hungry. I’m still the same spunky teenager who talks way too much and eats too much ice cream. I’m still stubborn but fun, and I’m still addicted to being “busy”!!
But at the same time, I know more about love and loss. I know what it feels like to lose 4 babies. I know how it feels to fall in love with your best friend. I know how it feels to wake up every morning beside the one you love and know that no matter what life throws at us, we’ll get through it as long as we’re together. Even though life feels so overwhelming at times.
I know how it feels to never know where you’re going next, because some medical school “match system” gets to decide. I know the saddest + excitement of moving every 4-5 years. I know what it feels like to leave your hometown and everything you know to move across the country. I know how it feels to say goodbye to dear friends that feel like family because you’ve had to lean on them for so many years since your family didn’t live close.
I know that there is so much more to life than simply existing. I know that life is full of challenges and setbacks and the most important thing is to just keep going. Even when nothing makes sense. I have learned to just trust God because His plan is ALWAYS better than your own, in the end. I know that I’ve wasted far too much time worrying about the future, that I forgot how to live in the present.
I know that life is far too short, so figuring out what’s important is the real key to happiness. And I still struggle with this balance. I know that good friends are worth their weight in gold, that true friends will be there no matter how many months or years pass!!
I know that it’s okay to fail and fall flat on your face. But it’s equally important to learn from those failures and get back up again. I’ve learned that’s it’s better to forgive than to hold onto grudges. Because honestly, you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. I also learned that someone else’s actions are a reflection of them and not you.
I know that it’s okay to not be okay. I know that my good qualities outweigh my bad, that I’m not perfect but I’m learning. And that for the first time in my whole life I am more me than I have ever been. Unapologetically.
I know that I’ve accomplished + achieved so many wonderful things in my 40 years. None of which I ever give myself enough credit for. But the thing I am most proud of is being a mom to these five crazy people. It will forever be my greatest accomplishment. And I am grateful, every second of every day, that they are mine and I am theirs.
Life is not easy. It’s not meant to be. But sitting here today at forty years old, I feel so grateful to be here. To be able to watch my kids grown up and have the chance to raise them. I might not feel older or “changed” but I do know I’m everything I was supposed to be, and I am looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for all of us.
. . .
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!