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Here it is. 42. I made it to my mom’s age.

What an astounding thing to be able to look around the world through eyes that have now seen as much as hers did. And I can testify with her that God is good.

And while life can feel broken and hard, I will never forget my bald and tiny mother in her hospice bed talking fiercely to God like she believed he was real. Like he was in the room. Like if her daughter opened her eyes wide enough she could see him too.

I do see mom.

I see what 42 looks like. I see how much life it is. I see how good the gifts are that God gives. I want to be there for all of it. For all the next 42. I want to live all the years you didn’t.

I want to see these amazing miracle tiny humans that belong to us walking down the aisle one day or going off to college or getting their first cars or falling in love or getting their hearts broken or welcoming their own babies. I want to be there for all of it.

I want to bite into it and slurp it up like so much mango juice running down my forearms back in the days of vacations on the farm across the river from Zimbabwe.

Here I am at 42 and I finally believe in a God who believes in life. Life to the full. Life overflowing and running over.

Please God let me be there for all of it. Let me remember to open my eyes so I can really see what you’re giving me.

Not the years, but the moments.

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Because it’s so beautiful. Every bittersweet moment of this gift of life he gives us is so beautiful. I’m sitting here in my house this morning having put my youngest on the school bus for the first time and overwhelmed by how he must love me because of how I love her.

Remembering how my mom must’ve loved me — her only daughter too.

Birthdays are always mile markers of remembrance.

I remember you today mom. I honor you. I raise my cup of tea to you. I am walking around in your age and I want to pay attention better. So that I don’t miss any of it.

Happy birthday to both of us, Jo. From your Lisa-Jo

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