It's July 24. It's a big date for me.
For one, it's the official start and end date of my year's Baby F(Ph)at journey. I gave myself a year to lose 40 pounds and while I didn't make that goal, I made huge strides in changing my outlook, my eating habits, and my understanding of the importance of never putting myself last on my to-do list again. My daughter, my husband, and the responsibilities I have to my family have and always will come first. Screw the bra-burning party. It's just the way I'm wired. But I'm happy with second place.
I'd call that a success, which is also a big mental step for me. That alone shows me that I have realized my journey doesn't stop when I type The End on the book.
There's another reason that July 24 is important to me. My father would have turned 53 today. His number's still in my cell phone. I used to call it, before my sister inherited his cell, just to hear his voice. But it's been three years since he died unexpectedly. And I think it's taken me this long to let go. There isn't any more lingering guilt when I feel happiness or take a hard-earned moment's peace to just be. I didn't realize it until a few days ago, but this entire year has been more of a growing experience than I had ever planned for it to be. I settled into a new house thousands of miles away from my family and friends and brought my mother and one of my sisters with us. Made repeated trips back to the east coast for legal matters surrounding my father's death, which led to a legal fight with certain (former) family members because my father had died without a will. And while I was gluing my heart back together, life kept moving forward. My dog died. More pages were written. More steps taken to a happier and healthier me. My grandfather died. Buttercup turned three. And life kept moving on. More pages were written. And more steps taken to a happier and healthier me and in spite of the PCOS, the Insulin Resistance, the hypothyroid, I lost 16 pounds as of my last count. *throws confetti*
It's been a hell of a year. But I survived. And I'm a better person for it, I think.
Did I realize the importance of this date when I decided to start writing chapter one 365 days ago? Yes and no. Of course I realized it was his birthday, but I didn't start my book on July 24 intentionally. It just happened. And as the year progressed, I forgot about it...until I looked at the calendar again and realized what day my year's journey would officially end.
I wrote a book for your birthday, Dad. How's that for a new beginning?