Awakening At 50
2020 was an ugly year in history. I think everyone in the world would agree that is a fair statement. Little did I know that 2021 would be personally worse for me.
After a very long, heart wrenching and drawn-out battle, my sweet father passed away July 26th. I spent every single day (sometimes twice a day) from April to July at the hospital caring for and visiting him. I witnessed him in pain, turmoil, and worst of all, I witnessed him lose all dignity. Unfortunately, I will never be capable of erasing this from my mind. I don’t think anyone can ever really appreciate what it’s like to lose a parent until they do. Although I knew it would happen someday, I certainly was not prepared for the heartbreak I endured and continue to do so.
To make matters worse, my only son (dad’s favorite grandchild) was graduating from high school during this time. I missed all the parties, celebrations and other notorious events that happen during graduation. The funeral took place August 4th. Less than two weeks later, I’m driving my only kiddo to college.
I have been very fortunate in life to have a very tight knit group of close girlfriends. They are all unique and have their own individual talents. Some of us have traveled together for almost 20 years, celebrating our birthdays in October. I am blessed to say that Lana Thomas is one of those special girlfriends. Our birthdays are only three days apart and we have spent many of them together in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Belize, and Costa Rica. Sometimes we are dancing in torrential downpours and other times we are snorkeling off a boat or hiking in the depths of the jungle. But we always have a plan in place. This year I did not.
October 2021 sneaks up quickly and it’s the third big “hit” of the year. I turn 50. Yes, there can be much worse things in life, as I clearly had already experienced. But with the whirlwind of the last several months, my mindset was not quite ready for this milestone. And to make matters worse, I had nothing yet planned.
I threw together a last-minute weeklong trip to St. Lucia and told my closest friends and family that I’d love for them to join me. Lucky for me, everyone jumped on board (literally).
Due to COVID restrictions, we spent the majority of the time at the house we rented. It had the most breathtaking view, a pool, plenty of drinks and great food (not to mention the most fabulous company). Lana was thinking ahead and brought some wardrobe items from her studio. She also presented me a beautiful journal for my birthday to document the week in paradise. We had so much fun playing dress up with a backdrop to die for! Lana even brought a miniature printer so we could print the pictures and scrapbook while we were there!
Although my intention for 2021 was to get back into shape before I hit 50, this clearly did not happen. I had spent every spare moment either at the hospital, making funeral arrangements, liquidating assets, buying school clothes and preparing my son for college. I tried not to stress about being in a swimsuit and just enjoy the moment. Plus, I know Lana..... she knows exactly how to pose every inch of your body to not only make you look beautiful, but feel beautiful too!
I will look back on these pictures in awe of my special 50th birthday celebration with the people I love. Undoubtedly, I will look at them in five, ten, 20 years with an admiration of my “youth.” However, I will also look at them in a different way than most. I will see a strong and powerful daughter and mother. I will see reflections of one of the saddest times of my life; yet, I will also see perseverance, tenacity, triumph, and success. These pictures will always be a reminder of what I went through, what I’m capable of, and where I’ve been. I am so very thankful for that.Thank you, Lana Thomas- not just for the stunning photographs that only you can produce. But for encouraging me, inspiring me, and always making me feel beautiful. Most importantly, thank you for always being my sister, my best friend, and my best partner in crime!
Thank you, Lana Thomas- not just for the stunning photographs that only you can produce. But for encouraging me, inspiring me, and always making me feel beautiful. Most importantly, thank you for always being my sister, my best friend, and my best partner in crime!
Love you! Jenn
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