In My Heart This Birthday

All the nostalgia of Iowa (my momma was born in a farmhouse near Ricketts, Iowa) and the date on the calendar have me thinking about a few things.

It’s now December and my birthday is approaching quickly. Since my momma passed at the end of March 2022, I have been pretty sad over my upcoming birthday.


The day itself has some big meanings.

She and dad were high school sweethearts. After dad graduated, he and his twin brother went to Texas on football scholarships. After she graduated the next year, her and her best friend hopped a bus to Colorado, got apartments, jobs, and stayed.

True love won out. A year later and my parents reunited in Iowa. One time she told me that at that time, they really wanted a baby. They got married and the baby came.

Guess who that was…


In December, the year they were wed, I made my appearance in an Iowa hospital. Mom used to tell the story about my name. They didn’t have a name picked out quite yet. Then, they chose Jessica and a nurse named Jessica thought it was after her.

Is that sweet or what?

Fast forward to my husband and I. Finally, after 5 years of infertility and baby loss, I was able to get and stay pregnant. My miracle baby was born a month early.

You’ll never believe what day it was!

My birthday!!!

I had been on bedrest for weeks and guess who came to take care of me so my husband could work?

My momma.

Her and dad were at the hospital when I was almost lost to high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. They sat in the waiting room with my husband, thinking I wasn’t going to make it, while I had an emergency c-section. And, they welcomed our beautiful baby an hour later.

And, do you know what my momma did? She showed up with a gorgeous chocolate birthday cake that the bakery made out to me and baby!

After a week in the hospital because of complications for me, we were finally released. I have never been so happy to go home. When we got there, she had the front porch all decorated up with ‘Welcome Home’ signs and a big teddy bear in the outside rocking chair.

She stayed and took care of us for two weeks. She did the meals, laundry, walked the dogs, and loved on the baby.

She rocked him in the recliner, danced with him to James Taylor in the living room, and even gave him his first bath. They were instantly bonded.

She spoiled us and we saw her during a bunch during the year/ years, but she showed up especially strong on our birthdays.We’d always get a birthday box in the mail from her and dad.

Last year she asked me what was something I needed for the kitchen that he and I could use together. I suggested mixing bowls and measuring cups. A set of beautiful Pioneer Woman mixing bowls and some measuring cups showed up at our door.

So…………….. I’ve been crying and sad for months over a birthday that hasn’t even happened yet because a big part of it is gone: she’s gone.

Her asking is gone. Her sending is gone. Her celebrating is gone. Ouch, that’s a bit hard to handle.

But, you know what?

A few nights I had this huge revelation:

Yes, the days of her sending us gifts are done, but, what if I got us gifts in honor of her? Like what if I picked out something to add to things she’s gotten us?

Because, here’s the thing. Trying to get through mom/ parent loss has a learning curve that you wouldn’t believe. (Unless you’ve been through it.) Mostly, it’s the ‘how’ in figuring out how to go on without them.

First holidays, regular days, birthdays, and just days in general can feel like huge mountains. And, quite honestly, they can feel a bit impossible. Back in March, I never thought I could do my birthday without my momma, but here I am putting one foot in front of the other.

Would my momma want us sad on our upcoming birthday, a day that meant so much to her and us?

Absolutely not.

She’d want us celebrating.

So, I ordered myself some Pioneer Woman measuring cups and bowls I think she’d like. and we’re also going out of town for the night for something fun to do.

In five days, probably through tears, I am going to celebrate two babies who were wanted so much, me and my son. She may not be here, but she’s definitely going to be in my heart this birthday.

Appreciate you reading.

Jessica Lyn

(I was named Lynn, after my dad’s twin brother. But, they changed my Lyn to one n.)

a bird feeder she loved


20 thoughts on “In My Heart This Birthday

  1. Beautiful, heartfelt post, Jessica! And so very timely in my world, after having lost my Dad a year ago from this past August. My Dad always told all of us that he loved us “A bushel and a peck” (lines from a very old song). In addition, Dad always used a neck roll in both his chair, and in bed. Dad was also famous for his coveralls … they were his favourite clothing. When Dad passed, I took home his coveralls. I looked for a very long time for a seamstress to make something special from them. I finally found one close to home, just before we headed to Texas. She’s making neck rolls from them for Mom and for each of my siblings and one for me. The embroidery on them says, “A Bushel and a Peck”. All I’m saying, Jessica, is that keeping their memory alive .. regardless of how we do it … is both comforting and joyous. I love how you’re doing this in your life. Your Mama is smiling down on you 💕


    • Hi Terry,

      Oh my. When I got to the embroidery part, I burst out crying. That is the sweetest story/thing ever. I LOVE that song!!! How wonderful that he said that to you guys. Makes me smile, thinking about it. I’m sorry you lost your dad. I love that you’re finding comfort in things he loved and found a way to share them with your family. I would sleep with that neck roll every night. Maybe I’ll have something made, too.

      Thank you for your sweet words. Her being gone 8 months still seems pretty new some days. I appreciate you telling me about your Dad. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh goodness, the waterworks are going. Thank you SO much. The tears start rolling with ‘remembering’ and ‘honor.’ You say the sweetest things. Bless you. And, thank you. 3 days left until my miracle baby gets a year older. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just had a birthday myself. Mine is twisted up with emotions too. I always spent my birthdays with my grandfather (who was really a Dad to me) because his was the day before. Years ago, when he passed, my only saving grace through it was being able to share my birthday with my son, who has his the day after mine. This was the first year all alone- as my son moved to North Carolina. It was bittersweet. Yes- we need to focus on the gifts they gave us that will always be- the love and the memories. Thanks for sharing. Happy birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness. I feel for you- like my heart is right there with you. Your grandfather and your son. Bittersweet, indeed. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences. It’s very helpful to know I’m not alone in this emotional birthday stuff. ❤️


  3. SO special! Beautiful cherished memories!

    And Momma will be with you guys celebrating right along side in Spirit!

    Happy Early Birthday to you BOTH!!!



    • Thank you, sweetheart. Thank you for reading, commenting, and being there for me during this hard, strange year. And, I hadn’t thought of the “along side” part. Thank you. ❤️ Thank you for the birthday wishes. Ooooo, can’t believe it’s in a few days.


  4. You’re so right, your mom would want you to be happy! And celebrating your son’s birthday (and yours) is a perfect way to honor her memory. Yes, there will be tears, and that’s okay. You’ve had a huge loss. But you also know how happy she was when you came into this world, and how happy you were when your son came into this world. So that means it’s time to celebrate! Even with a tear or two……..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m soooo happy to see your name! You always have amazing insights. Plus, it’s been a pretty weepy day. I haven’t cried in public in months!! But, today at the grocery store tears gushed when I saw a grandma pushing a cart with a grandson in it. I could not help it. There was a memory rush and also a realization that my son won’t ever shop with his grandma again. I cried all the way across the parking lot. I love what you said about tears being ok and her and I being happy when our babies came. Thank you so very much for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So, is your birthday December 7th? Your mom was really wonderful. And how nice she sent you Pioneer Woman kitchen items. I love Pioneer Woman! I hope you and your son’s birthday will have some joyful moments – even though you will be missing your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, it’s the 8th. Oh my gosh, she did so many wonderful things for us. Thank you. Kiddo is excited. We’re going to Cape G to stay overnight. We’re also going to have a bowl-a-thon on the day of. We’re going to 3 different bowling alleys in 3 different towns. PS please tell Dan that my average went up. I’m up to 84!! I’m getting about 100 every game now!

      Liked by 1 person

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