Tradition, it seems, missed the memo:
And, as such, many of those milestones may never brighten my horizon.
At best, my milestones may be a mixed bag - in addition to marking the anniversary of my wedding, for instance, I will also be marking the one-year anniversary of the onset of the mystery illness that would completely overtake my previously presumed birthday and baby-bound future and replace it with pain, terror, and sadness.
Turns out, not all milestones are blessings.
Many milestones are millstones.
I'm a believer in signs...and while that acknowledgement may make you write me off as a lunatic, let me please assure you it wasn't always so (the belief or the lunacy).
There was a time in my life where a certain song coming on the radio at a certain time was mere coincidence, where a timely phone call from exactly the right person wasn't a life-saving sign but rather a lucky break.
Life has taught me differently.
So maybe I should have seen the sign - in this case a very literal one - when I received this as a wedding present:
Now don't get me wrong, the gift is gorgeous - a lovely marker for a lovely milestone.
But now, in the wake of my wake of my previously healthy life, I can't help but look at the sign and ask myself if I should have seen the scary future in the E.M.S. hanging on my wall.
After all, I think we hung it mere weeks before my first of many trips to the emergency room to receive my emergency medical services...
But I'm not a soothsayer. Just a girl who believes in signs. And I saw what I consider to be another one today.
After yet another night with little to no sleep, I woke from the 30 minutes I was able to get this morning with a jolt.
I am not unaccustomed to such an awakening - but it usually results from this: in my dreams, I am still healthy and well. When my body wakes and finds it is not so, it very literally jumps at the recurring realization.
Today's jump was different.
I fear today's jump was a sign.
Because this morning, in my dream, I was not well. I was sick.
And I woke to the realization that I no longer get a reprieve from this sick sentence...
Perhaps this isn't so much revelation as intuition. Perhaps it's not a sign so much as a milestone.
Either way, I acknowledge that my subconscious has realized what my conscious mind already knew - that I am sick, and for the foreseeable future I will be.
And while I continue to hold on to hope that tomorrow will be brighter, easier, healthier... I admit my grasp on hope is much sweatier and more precarious than the strangle-hold I have on my present reality...
I know how this sounds.
Helpless, hopeless, hurting.
I am all of those things.
Maybe that's what prayer is for.
When milestones become millstones, maybe that's when the miracles come.
I hope it is.
And there you have it: hope.
Hope from the girl who staggers under the weight of the millstone.
And maybe that's a sign.