The littlest things make it hard to move on…

When looking back at a lifetime of memories, relationships, milestones, and decisions, it’s easy to lump them into categories and think you’re done with it. That was the “first job” stuff. That was the “move to the big city” year. That was the “neglectful father” stage. That was the “4-year relationship breakup” moment. That was the “new friends” phase. That was the “former BFF” summer.

They come together in weeks, months, or maybe years. They are represented by a blog entry here, a Facebook album there. They take up our dreams or nightmares for awhile, fill our therapy sessions and coworker coffee breaks until the topic becomes stale. And over time, these moments become what we think are distant memories, like faces of our loved ones that have passed and with each day we find it harder and harder to remember every detail of their face, their voice, their personality.

And then, the littlest thing makes it all so clear.

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These Happy Golden Years


Photo credit:
Nov. 11: Always a golden birthday!

Ok, so the title of this blog post is also the title of one of my favorite books in the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series, but it’s also supposed to be the theme of this period of my life right now, right?


I’m young, I’m single, I’ve got a job I enjoy, I’m in a city I love, I’m financially stable. All good, happy, golden things right?

One year ago, as I was preparing my 25 birthdays post before I left on a trip to Germany, I wasn’t quite thinking that my life would be what it is right now. Not that I had grand plans or anything. Or maybe I did. One year ago, I thought I was going to be engaged by now, living with my boyfriend (fiance?), perhaps here in DC, perhaps somewhere else – where I wouldn’t be happy and golden. I remember at this time last year, I was convincing myself that it would work out, that things would all come together, that life was good. I remember talking to my dad on the phone in the airport lounge before my flight to Frankfurt, being reminded to take the time on my trip to reflect about what I wanted for myself in the next year.

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25 birthdays

IMG_6697At this very moment, I’m celebrating my 25th birthday in Germany with my mom, probably drinking fabulous beer (bier) out of a stein. But I prepared in advance a little snapshot of my birthday memories from over the years – here’s a trip down memory lane through 25 of my favorite moments from 25 years and 25 birthdays.

1.  White cake with lemon filling. Always had it for my birthday, still love it. I think it’s a southern thing because most of my friends in Ohio had never had it until my mom made it (complete with the top layer sliding off one year).
2.  My fifth birthday – the first time I received a gift from my Dad – a pair of ruby slippers. He already knew of my love affair with The Wizard of Oz. Also the year the cake had a Wizard of Oz theme on it.
3.  The creation of my “other birthday” on July 3, 2001: the day I was officially adopted by my Dad and became Jenna Sauber.
4.  My 7th birthday. My parents got me a dictionary and origami. I still have the dictionary – one of the best gifts I have ever received.
5.  My 18th birthday: my aunt and uncle drove up from Louisiana to surprise me. I got of the bus, saw the beloved (and now gone) black Jeep Grand Cherokee in the driveway and almost broke down the door to get inside.
6.  My 21st birthday: a weekend-long experience (perfect for college and that monumental age!) that included dinner with my parents, a night out with close friends, and a party thrown for me on the final night.
7.  My 2nd birthday: I don’t remember it, but a video tape shows me screaming and crying when I was given a giant stuffed bear. Hilarious to watch now. Maybe it had to do with who it came from…I won’t go there.
8.  My 11th birthday: My golden birthday. I probably was still getting the day off of school back then. Mom gave me a golden charm with 11th birthday on it, that her sister had given to her on her 11th birthday. (Same aunt from #5)
9.  My 22nd birthday when my boyfriend Dan threw me a surprise party at his apartment after a nice dinner out. And then he gave me perfume and these awesome Texas Longhorn shorts.
10. My 24th birthday: my parents sent me a giant box filled with stuff from my Amazon wish list – it literally arrived on my birthday. What more could a girl ask for than a DVD box sets of Sinatra and Poitier movies, and a bunch of books?
11. Possibly my 11th birthday again: I got my first computer, and a new desk to put it on. I remember coming home from the grocery store with mom and my dad sitting in my room grinning, waiting for me to walk in. The screensaver said “Happy birthday and Merry Christmas!!” My first program installations were Creative Writer and Operation Neptune.

Enough birthday memories…I’m running low on memory…on to other lovely memories over the years…

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