There was a bigger plan for my birthday this weekend. All our plans went out the window and I brought in my birthday the same place I did twenty one years ago – in a hospital. 

Let us backtrack. 

Kent came into town Thursday night. On Friday, we went to Spirit Splash – but not in. Too cold for that… And the idea of being in a bath with a thousand other people is gross. 

I had an internship interview that afternoon, so we darted home and then to Winter Springs. From there, we went to a little place called The Smiling Bison. 

Enter: fried green tomatoes, bison burgers, house made salt and vinegar strings, and bison pastrami over heirloom apples and a potato pancake. Oh my WORD. It was insanely good, more along the lines of Food Network than the usual mac and cheese we eat. 

All meals must end with Jeremiah’s and Friday was no exception. A little pumpkin ice and Bath and Body Works candle sale to end the night, and by nine o’clock Kent and I were watching We Are The Millers. #oldpeople. 

Around nine thirty, Kent’s cousin called him. Kind of odd, especially on a Friday night. A couple minutes later, he told me his Dad had a heart attack. He was at the hospital, doing fine.Another phone call to his aunt, telling him to stay in Orlando – Dad would be fine. We were already throwing t-shirts and protein bars into my backpack and down the stairs. 

An hour and a half later, we were lost inside Indian River Medical Center. After we explored every hallway, open room and asked three different women – we found the Blosser clan in a waiting room. There are no combinations of words that can prepare you for seeing your parent in a hospital bed. No matter how fine they are, it’s hard. It broke my heart to see Kent hurt for his Dad. 

Between Nanny and the nurse we learned that he had a major heart attack caused by a completely blocked main artery – otherwise known as the “widow maker.” If they had opted for a car ride instead of the ambulance, our Papa Blosser wouldn’t be here. They put a stint in his artery and assured us of a full recovery. 

Nine of us walked the halls once more, weaving through abandoned halls to the parking lot. It was past midnight when we all shared hugs and started the voyage home. In the past few days, Kent’s Dad has improved. He’s developed pneumonia and will be staying a few more days, but things are looking good. 

My family was in St. Augustine visiting Flagler College for most the day, so Kent and I spent the majority of my birthday by ourselves. Birthday breakfast (bacon, tomato, avocado haaash oh my god) and a lengthly walk around HomeGoods. It was a low key day and I loved it. Sweet Kent must have asked two dozen times if I was alright, if I wanted to do something else, if I wanted to go shopping, if I was bummed out about my birthday. 

But, a weekend with Kent and my family was just what I wanted. Sunday afternoon I read crime novels while my Dad and Kent talked football, then Mom and I made a killer chicken pot pie (thank you, Pioneer Woman) for dinner. Add mushrooms. Then mix the end product with a large heaping of mashed potatoes. You’re welcome. 

My heart aches every time I have to leave Kent and my family. We end up every weekend at the McDonald’s next to the 95 exit. I toss my backpack into another stranger’s car and chew the inside of my cheek until I don’t feel like crying anymore. My Mom sends me a text about how much she loved having me home and she misses me. I nod off to sleep or read a book. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

I got home tonight and this was waiting in my mailbox, a birthday gift from Kent. Oh, my heart. 

And that, friends, is the story of how I started my twenty first in a hospital, and I wouldn’t dream of doing it any other way.