Hope Wissel

A Birthday Reflection

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Today is my 59th birthday, so I am reflecting on the past year and the many blessings in my life. First, I am thankful that I get to celebrate another day by waking up this morning.  No matter what the day may bring, I know that it will be WONDERFUL!

Birthdays are milestones in our lives.  As children, they are a day (or sometimes a week) where the focus is on us.  Filled with presents, parties, family, friends and of course cake and ice cream.  As the years went GO by and life “happens” things changed.

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During my years of addiction and even in my early years of recovery, I saw “birthdays” as just another day or “I am too old to celebrate birthdays” and I never hesitated to share those thoughts.  The truth was, I never really felt like I deserved a celebration after all of the hurt and pain I had caused people through my addiction.  I am great at giving but not very good at receiving.

Despite memory struggles one things stands out a “surprise party” that Belinda planned for me with the help of her two great aunts – Edythe and Elsie. It was my 40th birthday and my FIRST surprise party.  It was a special day for two reasons: #1 – it was Belinda’s idea and #2 – it was the first time that my divorced parents were in the same room at the same time. Belinda was all of 9 years old  and if you know Belinda, you are not surprised that she pulled if off.  Of course, keeping it a secret was tough for her!  I arrived in sweats and a tee shirt because I thought I was coming to the fire house to help with something.  Yes, it was a little horrifying but funny since I almost didn’t arrive at the party. When I arrived, Belinda started to cry. She took the look of surprise as a look of “being mad” and didn’t understand that the tears were tears of joy.  The “OVER THE HILL” theme decorations were everywhere. Belinda picked them out. So the standing joke is if I was “over the hill at 40” what am I now? It was a day that I can remember without the pictures which is a blessing in itself.  I was overwhelmed by the love from family and friends.

Today, I am reflecting on the last year which has been a roller coaster of emotions.  My health challenges, finding out I have MS, memory loss, the ups and downs of my business and Belinda’s wedding – just a few of the highlights.  Through it all I truly believe that every day is a gift from God.  I learned so much this year:

  • I learned how to give and receive unconditional love (Crazy, right?)
  • I learned that asking for help does not mean that I am weak
  • I learned that friends are always there for you – even when you haven’t talked in years.
  • I opened myself up to meet new people and have made some wonderful new friends.
  • I learned how to advocate for myself and my health issues just like I always taught my clients to do.  It is so much harder to do for ourselves
  • I learned that even on a bad day, if I chose JOY, everything will be okay.

The celebration doesn’t need to be big and I don’t need a lot of presents (one or two would be nice).  I am just thankful that I get to enjoy the beauty of another day.

I was blessed with a family that loves and supports me despite my many faults. I am blessed with a daughter, Belinda, who has grown into an amazing woman. I am blessed with a husband who loves me unconditionally despite how crazy I make him.

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Happy Birthday to me! Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Birthday Reflection

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Happy Birthday – to ME! Since today is my 58th birthday, I am reflecting on the many blessings in my life. First, I am grateful that I actually woke up this morning and am able to enjoy the day – whatever it may bring.

My favorite adult birthday memory was a “surprise party” that Belinda planned for me with the help of her two great aunts – Edythe and Elsie. It was for my 40th birthday and my FIRST surprise party. It was a special day for two reasons – it was Belinda’s idea and it was the first time that my divorced parents were in the same room at the same time. Belinda was all of 9 years old so it was amazing that she got the whole thing together. Of course, the fact that I arrived in sweats and a tee shirt because I thought I was “stopping by” to help with something at the fire house was a little horrifying but funny since I almost didn’t arrive at the party. When I arrived, Belinda started to cry because she took the look of surprise for a look of “being mad” and didn’t understand that the tears were tears of joy. The next was the decorations – “OVER THE HILL” theme everywhere. Belinda picked them out. So the standing joke is if I was “over the hill at 40” what am I now? It was a great day and I was overwhelmed by the love from family and friends.

As a child, there are lots of memories of birthday celebrations. One of things that I looked forward to each year was the annual trip to New York City to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. This annual tradition was a treat from Edythe and Elsie. It included the circus and dinner in NY. I always felt so grown up!  Both of them are now our guardians angels in heaven.

Birthdays are milestones in our lives. For many years during my addictions and then even in my recovery, I saw “birthdays” as just another day or “I am too old to celebrate birthdays” and I even said that on many occasions. Today, I am looking at them a little differently.  TODAY is a gift from God to be able to spend another day with family and friends. The celebration doesn’t need to be big, it doesn’t need to have lots of presents (one or two, maybe – LOL) and it definitely NEEDS to include thanks for the many blessings that I have been given through the years. I was blessed with a family that loves and supports me despite our many faults. I have been blessed with a child who has grown into an amazing woman. I have been blessed with a husband who loves me unconditionally despite how crazy I make him. These are the gifts that I celebrate on my birthday this year.

Happy Birthday to me! Hope you have ThirtyOne-derful day!