There’s no denying I’m in the thick of my 30s. The truth is, it feels like I’ve lived three different lifetimes already, and I’m far from 40.

They say, “Age isn’t a number, it’s a state of mind,” and, “It’s not how old you are, but how you are old.”

I thought I would dread getting older. That the first gray hair or wrinkle I found would put me into a deep, depressive spiral.

But these last few years have shifted my perspective on aging.

Now, I am thankful I can count more than just the candles on my cake. I’m grateful to be able to count my blessings on both hands. Seeing how our love has multiplied and grown through the years leaves me simply awestruck at times.

As we get older, it seems there is so much to keep track of as our family grows: anniversaries, birthdays, holidays and celebrations—the list is never-ending. It’s easy to put our birthdays on the back burner. It often seems silly, self-indulgent, and impractical to make a big deal about our birthdays now that we are parents.

That’s why it’s more than just another birthday.

It’s a chance for us to celebrate as a family, but also a chance for us to plan our getaway. As a family of five, our days are long, but the years are short. Our life has become the perfect mixture of chaos and calm. Whether it’s for a week-long, Caribbean vacation or simply a night out. We need to take this moment to celebrate.

These days, it’s more than just another birthday.

It’s a chance to pause and look back in awe at the life we’ve built. It’s a time to remember how precious this time is in our lives. It’s an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come from where we started. Growing together, at times growing apart, but always in it together.

It’s more than just another birthday.

It’s a celebration of making it through another 365 days of sleepless nights and the non-stop demands of raising a growing family. The truth is the mere fact we can gather around the table together as a family and celebrate another turn around the sun is truly a miracle.

It’s more than just another birthday.

It wasn’t always certain we’d all be here.

We know, unfortunately, how life can change in an instant and another tomorrow is never guaranteed. We’ve faced a lifetime of challenges in less than a decade of marriage. We’ve been tested in unimaginable ways. At times we wondered if our love was strong enough to survive.

That’s why it’s more than just another birthday.

It’s a chance to rekindle our love and renew our weary spirits. I hope one day, each line on my face tells a story of loving and laughing hard so I can wear my wrinkles as medals, as a sign of a life well-lived and a heart well-loved. The truth is I’ll never dread celebrating another birthday because growing older with you is a gift. The older we get, the more beautifully complex and fulfilling our lives become, and I’m so glad to have you by my side to share it all. 

Melanie Mogensen

Melanie Mogensen is a writer, wife, and mother of three who knows all too well how life can change in an instant. From becoming a young mom in her early 20s to managing twins and battling cancer, she is no stranger to adversity and God’s grace. Two years ago, in the middle of her own struggle with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she began sharing her story to help cope and let others know that even the most difficult times there is always hope and something to be grateful for. Check out more on her blog hopefulwarrior.com or follow her on Facebook @thehopefulwarrior and Instagram @[email protected]