As a kid I used to love those little "birthday books." I was obsessed with journals and time capsules. And to this day I love the idea of putting down your "piece de resistance" every year. It's such a wonderful way to track your growth, to see how you change from year to year or to see what things remain the same.
It goes without saying that I have changed drastically since having children - physically, mentally and emotionally. Yet oddly enough I feel, as I stand on the precipice of 30, that the biggest changes are yet to come. The days surrounding my birthday I have begun to feel the earth shifting beneath my feet, I've felt the wind of change gently blowing across the hairs on my back. It feels as if things I have been building for years in little pockets of my mind are going to burst forth. Dreams that I have had since a little girl. I just need a few more pebbles to get going...
I have spent the pasts four years rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on building our family. Head down I have grown, birthed and am nursing my littles. My life has been pregnancy tests, prenatal appointments, hospitals, breast pumps, tiny and big diapers, nighttime feedings, sound machines and bottles. It's been hard, beautiful, rewarding, holy work. Standing in front of a mirror, last night, on the eve of my 29 birthday, I saw not just my own face and body but the faces of my children dancing like shadows across my face. I breathe for them and even when my arms and legs feel weary I press on, for them. And when I do, when I'm tired and empty I feel my own mother's strength when she pushed through tears for so many tears, I feel the exhaustion and strength that pumps through the veins of mothers everywhere in tandem. Like a seesaw - we fall down so low and then the love we have for these babies of ours lifts us back up...
I feel a slow lightening coming with this year. It is becoming easier and easier to brush things off. To forgive, to move on. For much of my life I was like a bottomless pit of need - needing love, attention, affirmation and admiration. I sought it out everywhere I went and yet no matter how much I got it was never enough. In turn I felt as if I was never enough. I think I can finally say, with some newfound confidence, that I feel like what I have now at 29 is enough. And if it isn't enough for some, well... As they say "it's all I've got, take it or leave it." I've come to understand that some people will never like me or love me and it's not a reflection on me, or even necessarily on them - it's just... incompatibility? And that's ok. It's ok. It's ok to be too much for some, not enough for others and not somebody's cup of tea. I am enough, I have enough. When I walk through the house late at night, turning off the lights and checking doors and I come across the sound of my fur baby's snores my heart bursts with love. When I peek into my little girl's room and see her splayed out on her bed, clutching her beloved doggie her lids heavy with the restorative sleep of a child - my heart bursts. When I feed Teddy his midnight bottle and feel him wrap his warm little fingers around my pinky as he nurses through his sleep - my heart bursts. When I lay down next to my partner, my other half, my best friend and love and intertwine my fingers with his and drift off... my heart bursts.
It's not that I feel like I have changed so much this year, or that my life has been altered so drastically, but I feel as if my eyes have been opened wider, my vision is more clear. I see what is right in front of me more clearly and my focus on the future has narrowed, sharpened. In the past decade I have fallen lower than I ever thought possible and I have soared to heights I could have never dreamed of and it is in this yin and yang that I have found myself, found strength I never knew I had in me. And now as I head into 30 I want to harness my experience towards bringing forth something meaningful, beautiful and necessary. I want to go forth with a spirit of generosity and gratitude. I want to be generous with my time and my love. I never want to question giving more of myself. I want to send more letters, push more hearts and leave more comments, send more texts and make more phone calls, I want to say yes to more play dates and lunches, to entertain more, to send more flowers and bake an extra batch of cookies. I want to always be grateful - on the hard days, the bad days and the days that make it easy to say "today was so good."
This is the year I want to tell myself over and over that I can, I should, I will... I don't know if I deserve to have my dreams come true but I owe it to myself and my children to at least try. I have nothing to lose and if all I gain is the experience that comes from failure... well that is a gift in and of itself.