My mom has two birthdays. 

Lucky gal, wouldn’t you think? One is about cake, candles and presents, and the other is about the real celebration of life. 

Losorwith PropertyMy parent's property - so peaceful!

It was two years ago on a crisp, cool morning in December that mom took her horse for a walk and some much-needed exercise. It was a day no one would have expected to turn so tragically. But it did, in the blink of an eye. Ultimately, it was the day my mom received her second birthday. 

Losorwith Horse Barn and StablesThe horse stables on my parent's property

Her accident has given me a new perspective on life. Tragedy does that to people. For me, although I still tend to worry, I have found peace with it, particularly during the holidays. 

It starts right before Thanksgiving, around the time my girls begin asking off for the holidays to see their families. It’s so sudden, but so very familiar now. Feelings of anxiety and worry creep into my mind, and memories appear like a slideshow before my eyes. The call, the long drive from Collierville to The MED, the Trauma ICU waiting room, the strings of IVs, and of course, my mother. 

It’s all related, I realize. My worry over my staff traveling, and my fear of that “blink-of-an eye” moment. My concern that my girls don’t quite understand how precious time with family is. And there’s my mom again, and the accident, and her second birthday coming up. 

As quickly as my worries come, however, they are pushed at bay, and clarity, understanding and grace take their place. Grace, given from above, to fully embrace the gift of a second birthday.

Celebrating mom on her Dec. 4 is a cherished tradition for the both of us. I take the day off (something I never could have fathomed doing before the accident, especially during the holidays!) and we begin the party by delivering breakfast to the staff at The MED and the Air Wing Hospital unit (the helicopter paramedics who airlifted mom from the accident site). What an amazing group, and the bond we share is a gift in itself.

The Med, Memphis, TNThe Med - We are forever grateful to them

Panera Bread Breakfast Breakfast from Panera Bread for the amazing crew at The Med and Air Wing Hospital

From there, it’s girl time—manicures, pedicures, fancy lunch, shopping—all the pampering we rarely indulge in because we’re focused on running a Monday-through-Saturday retail store. 

Laurie being pamperedMom loved the pampering and definitely deserves it!

South Front Antique Market, Memphis TNShopping at South Front Antiques

Peabody Hotel Christmas TreeMom with the gorgeous Christmas tree at the Peabody Hotel

We end our evening with dinner with the boys, my dad and Brent, and top it all of with cake—you gotta have birthday cake, right? 

Erling Jensen RestaurantErling Jensen - Mom & Dad's Favorite Place

The LosorwithsMy wonderful parents. Sure do love these two!

Mom's birthday cakeThe oh so yummy cake

It’s all fun, for sure. But mom and I both know it’s the time together that really matters. Driving from place to place, the time lingering over a meal, time just sitting close to one another. That’s what celebrating a second birthday has given us.  

Before her accident, the holidays were a time to go, go, go. No slowing down this girl. Rush to this show, race to that one. Pack the trailer, pack the store, go, go, go. Don’t get me wrong, we still hustle at Bella Vita during the holidays, but we also try to take in the spirit of the moment too.  Before the accident, I wouldn’t have dreamed that the store could thrive, much less survive without me and my family, especially in December. But it did, and it does, every year despite my imagined worries or problems. I have a wonderful staff. 

As I think back this time of year, to mom’s accident, to yesterday’s birthday celebration, to visions of the store’s bustle and beauty, I’m reminded of three small, simple words: Life is beautiful. Then I smile—and worry a lot less.

Happy birthday, Mom, and the happiest of holidays, friends.

Please come see me at the store to share in the spirit of the season. 

-Steph