My mom always told the story of how her and my Dad had decided to name me, their first born child. If you were a boy, I was going to name you. If you were a girl, your Dad would name you.
I've never asked which day I was due to arrive. I just know my mom was in labor with me for 36 hours, and I never lived that one down!
But Dad had already proclaimed, if I were a girl, I was Vicky Marie. I often wonder why he chose Vicky? But I knew why he chose Marie. He had a very special cousin, Marie, and I would have been named after her... BUT...
July 16th, 1967 at 3:17 pm, I was born. It just happened to be the same birthday as the young girl my mom used to babysit, named Nancy. Nancy Kay.
Nancy and all of her brothers and sisters were so special to my mom, how could she not give me Nancy's middle name? Plus she reasoned with my Dad, I could be called Vicky, but my full name should be Victoria.
Hence my name- Victoria Kay.
From the start, Nancy brought me a gift every year for my birthday. I don't recall if we got something for her every year. I just know, long into my teen years, Nancy would surprise me with a small, beautiful gift.
Throughout the years we went to the same church as Nancy and had contact with her on various occasion.
But then I moved, married, and had kids. My mom would keep in touch with Nancy and give me updates every once in awhile.
After we moved back here, one year I finally found an address for Nancy, and sent her a card for her birthday. I told her how much her presents in the past had meant to me and I wanted to thank her. She called me, weeping over the phone, thankful for being remembered. Lesson learned on my part.
More years passed.
It was just last week I was scanning the newspaper headlines, and saw on the obituary page that our Nancy had died a few days prior.
I had no idea Nancy was sick, It would have been my mom in the past who would have known somehow and told me. My mom's friend filled me in.
It seems Nancy had been sick and needed surgery on her heart. She seemed to be recovering well, but then suffered a set back and despite the work of her medical team, she was
simply called home to be with Jesus.
I have no doubt, Mary Ann (my mom) was there to usher our Nancy to her heavenly home.
It was a bittersweet day, yesterday. I was celebrating turning 49, while mourning the loss of a friend who would have turned 63.
I'm reflective lately. Having just attended the funeral of a young woman taken far too soon by colon cancer, time and again my own mortality stares me in the face.
I treasure seeing those pictures (above) of me from long ago. Me- playing in the lake with a rusty pail and half a shovel. Me on a pontoon at the lake, sitting on my Daddy's lap- always the Daddy's girl. Me- in my little pedal car off on an adventure- wind blowing in my hair.
The car may be gone, and the pontoon, as well as my beloved Dad- and Mom, now Nancy too. But that girl is still here. Somehow, for some reason, the gift of life is the very present I open every day- and I am one lucky girl.
Thank you to all of you who show up, encourage me, hold me up, and fill me with so much love.
Colton was helping me with the candles for the cake. We had a Ziplock bag full of all kinds of candles. But when we searched for the numbered candles? We could only find two. They are blending in on the cake. Two numbers. A 4. And a 9. Someone was clearly helping me celebrate... turning 49.