Oops. This post is longer than anticipated.
This time last year, I was wearing a very unattractive, very orthopedic boot thing, having tripped over Grace’s bouncy chair and subsequently broken a toe… just an hour and a half before my family showed up for Mother’s Day brunch at our condo. (Also: My parents were trapped at an airport somewhere, so the guest of honor wasn’t there to be showered with praise and gifts and affection… and to listen to me moan about my toe.)
In addition to being temporarily physically crippled, I can’t say I was in the best shape mentally, or whatever, either. I had been back at work (after a not-so-work-free maternity leave) for a few weeks, was getting up to nurse Grace every couple of hours, couldn’t find anything that fit (nor that matched the boot), and sort of had no idea what I was doing at any given moment. Having people over to a mostly-clean home, serving mostly-edible food, and not having an entirely unexpected crying episode provoked by a diaper ad, or a cheesy song, or a faint, passing breeze felt like a major, major accomplishment.
This time last year, I was second-guessing every decision I made, and agonizing over the longterm effects those decisions would have on Grace. Was she eating too little? Was she eating too much? You’ll notice I wasn’t asking myself if she was sleeping too much, because… well… neither of us were sleeping.
I worried I was falling down (no pun intended… but sort of yes, pun intended because I really still can’t believe I tripped over that darn chair) as a wife. I had no idea how I would manage my work responsibilities and my family responsibilities. And how, on God’s green earth, was I ever going to get all the laundry done? Would my body always feel so foreign (and lumpy)? What would my first work trip away from Grace be like (Fortunately, I didn’t have the capacity at the time to imagine myself using a breast pump in a bathroom stall at the Detroit airport… but now I do. And you do, too. Sorry.)? Would I ever see my friends again (this would likely require staying up past 7 PM)? Would I ever have anything to talk about besides diaper pails? Would every single drop-off at daycare feel so heartbreaking?
It’s taken some time (and I don’t think my toe will ever be the same), but my goodness… What a difference a year makes. I’m not perfect (you should see what I’m wearing) and life’s not perfect, but so much has changed for the better. It’s amazing what a little time and confidence (and SLEEP!) can do.
Last weekend I had the chance to celebrate Mother’s Day with my parents and family on Saturday, and with Nick, Grace and Clark on Sunday. And I felt calm. And relaxed. And happy. And grateful. And I couldn’t help but notice that life is sort of following the seasons this time around. Not only is it actually (finally!) Spring, but I’m in the middle of my own transition of sorts. And it’s full of (I almost said “blooming with”… but I stopped myself) promise and excitement and optimism and a “who knows what might happen?” sort of thing.
At the end of this week (though it’s been in the works for months… aren’t I a good secret keeper? Tell me everything!), I’ll be stepping down from my role at an organization I’ve been with for eight years to be home with Grace.
I sort of always thought I would work (in the capacity I’ve been used to working, like, in an office). And I am realizing now, as I make this transition, how much of my ego and self-worth have been tangled up in being busy. And important. And in charge. I’ve also come to see, though, how much of my last eleven or so years have been spent moving from one mini-crisis to the next, closing out the day with just barely enough energy to be a semi-normal, non-awful person. The good has far outweighed the bad (truly), though, I have loved my work. I have loved the people I have worked with. I have loved the people I’ve had the privilege of serving. I have loved the challenges and the lessons and the surprises.
I know there will be pieces of all this that are not easy, but I also know how lucky I am to have options. It took a lot of confidence and courage to make this choice, but I wouldn’t be able to make the choice if I didn’t have options. I know this is not always the case. Meanwhile, that new boss of mine? She’s pretty cute.
Also On Tap for Today:
- I feel like this book was written for me: The Worrier’s Guide to Life
- Sharing a few more art journal pages later today
- For my next brunch: Brunch Basics and Beyond from Whole Foods Market
Looking back, what has changed most for you this year?