Part 2: In Which My Heart Breaks Open To Fill Up With Thanks & Love

From Colleen Attara Studio, artwork filled with love from top to bottom
From Colleen Attara-the gift of knowing I hold the world in my hands & that I can hold more if I give it away. Thank you!

My mother has finally left me speechless-she’s been trying for decades but this time she has finally done it! I’ve written and re-written this over and over again since I started 10 hours ago but I just have to accept that there is no way I can properly get out all that is whirling around in my heart-I’ll just have to start and resign myself to it not being perfect.

A couple months ago my mama (Stephanie) asked me for a list of 30 people from the OMHG community I had built friendships with-but she wouldn’t tell me why! Just making the list made my heart happy since there were so many friends I had made in this journey that I felt loved by. There have been times in my life when the list of people I felt loved me was awfully short so knowing that I’ve built so many strong connections was one of the most affirming things of my year! I had guessed she was going to ask the list to write me emails on my birthday and I was a little bit right…

From my Mama: The gift of always believing in my potential for greatness
From my Mama: The gift of always believing in my potential for greatness. Thank you!

We had just walked in the door all giddy from getting engaged when my mama whisked me to a pile of wrapped presents and made me set up a camera and tripod. She got me all settled an said she had emailed the list of 30 and told them she knew what I would love best for my birthday is the chance to have us celebrate together for real-but since that couldn’t happen to join her in welcoming 30 with me in some way. If everyone had sent me little love notes by email or on the back of napkins I would have been truly thankful and felt so loved. Instead there were the most thoughtful, heartbreakingly beautiful gifts from friends near and far.

From the Oh My! Community: The gift of knowing what I do has value & that I am so loved. Thank you!
From the Oh My! Community: The gift of knowing what I do has value & that I am so loved. Thank you!

If my mama wasn’t there to make me open them all in one swoop I probably would have opened them one by one over weeks-the pile of gifts was overwhelming. But I am thankful she pushed me, it is easy for me to celebrate others and I’ve learned to celebrate myself, but being celebrated by others? A whole different thing! It is hard to accept sometimes that who we are and what we do has value and that the friendships we build mean as much to others as they do to us. With each lovingly wrapped package I opened it felt like I peeled away any lingering doubts that I am loved or that the community we are building here is so much more than virtual. I know without question now it is rooted in the deepest of friendships. After my amazing engagement weekend with Chris I was already so full of joy and love I didn’t think I could possibly contain another drop! But the fabulous thing about love is that just when you feel you are at maximum capacity you break open and make space for more.

Each gift was different but in over half of the cards there were the same exact words: “You are so loved.” I have never felt this to be truer in all my life and that alone is the biggest gift any of us can hope for. Apparently there are still gifts in the mail making the way here-so the birthday celebrating won’t end just yet for me-truly it is all too much goodness for one person to stand.

*Update! Look what arrived the morning after I published this post from Nicole of Three By Sea-how could she have possibly known? The magic just keeps coming!
From Nicole of Three By Sea: Magic, Humor, & the most perfectly timed gift ever. Thank you!
From Nicole of Three By Sea: Magic, Humor, & the most perfectly timed gift ever. Thank you!

I will also be going back again and again to this video of a letter of perfect words, from Lori-Ann of Boreal Trim, read by my mama with oh so much love to my weepy duck face:

Thank you has never seemed so inadequate. I love you comes close but instead I’m looking forward to spending my Christmas vacation creating my own packages of thanks for each one of you to actually do it all justice. Your gifts helped make turning 30 the most memorable and magical birthday ever and I feel filled to overflowing with hope and excitement for the coming year. My biggest dream is that I can give the feeling you gave to me for my birthday back to our community all year long. Each of us deserves to feel celebrated, welcomed, and loved-to have spaces we can visit where we belong and are valued. With that knowledge in our hearts there is no dream too big to attempt and no sorrow too heavy to carry. Thank you all for helping me make this corner of the internet a place we can all come home to. I LOVE YOU! And mama? Nope, sorry, still speechless but thank you, thank you, thank you for the best present of all time.

Now I want to know, since OMHG has given me everything I could possibly want for my birthday what can I & our community do for you this year? How can I help you feel so loved? Tell me in the comments and I will do everything I can to make it happen!