Written by Kristy Graves, a member of our Young Person’s Advisory Council and former young person in care.

May 10th was my 23rd birthday and it really made me reflect on a lot of things about my life, both past and present. First of all, this is my first birthday as a university graduate (and the crowd went willlllllldddd). Secondly, it’s a birthday where I really had to stop and take stock of my blessings, which made it a birthday where I was insanely thankful. In the past birthdays have notoriously been a time of sadness to me, much like holidays. They can be a sharp reminder of all that I lack. I don’t get a ton of presents like some people (the gifts are not important, the normalcy is). I do not have people trying to make my day special, and I end-up feeling as though it is just another day and not a day to celebrate my existence.

This year, however, I chose to look at how full my glass was.

I am a graduate, which means school’s out forever (cue Alice Cooper here). I had amazing people wishing me well and surrounding me with love, which makes a girl feel loved.  I received some awesome books as a gift (because my BF’s parents know the way to my heart). But the pièce de résistance was definitely how absolutely loved and valued I felt because of the very special guy in my life. I spent weeks telling him how easily pleased I am, how simple I am; explaining to him that I didn’t need anything fancy, just a simple day with him would make for a great birthday. Boy am I glad he didn’t listen! I woke-up to flowers, presents, and his smiling face, and then we drove to Niagara (with a stop for lunch on the way).

We spent the day seeing the falls, perusing outlet malls, and enjoying the beautiful weather.  We then changed into something more fancy and went to a secret location for dinner. My carnivorous side was instantly happy when we pulled up the Embassy Suites where the Niagara Keg Steakhouse is. It is 9 floors up and boasts a beautiful view of the falls while you eat. My dinner was superb and free dessert is always nice. As dinner finished, I marveled not over my steak but over the man in front of me who had gone out of his way all day to be attentive to my every need and make sure that I had the best birthday imaginable. It was the simple act of him caring so much and loving me beyond measure that truly spoiled me.

Between him and all of my other friends and family I felt so loved, valued, and cared for that I can safely say: best birthday ever! Another year older, and a million more reasons to be thankful. I can’t wait to see what my 23rd year has in store for me!

Read another post by Kristy here.

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