That old cliche “Actions speak louder than words” is totally my mantra. Not sure why, but if I had a “love language” it would be this. Of course, praise is never discouraged. I love words but to really get me, one must know that actions matter beyond any discourse. And because of this, I have to take a minute to love on David. This past month was weird for our relationship. We have naively never really had a “hard time.” When we were dating we would dreamily say, “can we be models of love” for a job? But, seriously, we partner really well with each other. And with 10 years (almost) together, it still feels fresh, exciting, loving, and also comfortable, safe, and home. I get excited every night that David is coming home and I delight in our ability to be in cozy clothes in bed watching shows and laughing on a “date night.” This morning, I messaged David and said I was devastated, immediately he asked if it was the Dancing with the Stars results. He just knows!
So with this “hard time” we had it was hard to know what to do. We needed to figure out how do we process differences when we have always been so in sync with one another. We needed to figure out how to move forward but also acknowledge what just happened? We needed to figure out how to give weight to this experience but not give it so much that is holds us down or pushes us apart. David’s answer was to dig in with me. My biggest fear in any relationship is that when things get hard and I don’t know how to respond or am like a deer in headlights and just freeze up emotionally that the other person will fly off. Instead David’s response was crushing!
He was so actively engaged in working together that it helped me dig deeply into my confusing emotions, jolted me out of my rut, lifted my eyes to the beauty around us, hugged my soul, and helped me to not take everything so dangerously seriously. And as a result, our Mother’s Day weekend was SIMPLY the BEST. We did so many things together as a couple and as a family and we also napped and lounged. It was an amazing mix of all the things I needed to remember: that our love is an easy love even when stuff gets hard (as it will inevitably when you tie yourself for life to another) but that our actions help each other. Gosh do I love this man! So Thank you David for being active with me, for loving me, for knowing that I always want to walk with you into these adventures and that no matter what challenges we face you will also be my pick for reality show challenges! xxoo
I am 32 years old. My 20s were something awesome. I lived with besties, met my David, found my job, married, and made some amazing memories with family and friends. But my 20s were also riddled with a lot of insecurities. For the first time in my life, I was no longer a student. I had to figure out what would my life be as an “adult?” I questioned everything, felt lost, confused, and self-absorbed. I cared A LOT about what others thought of me, I didn’t want to let anyone down, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone. But, it was a great decade. Growing up never stops and I learned a lot of life, love, loss and laughter. In my short dip into my 30s, I can see that this decade too will be great. David and I have so much to be grateful for: each other, our two boys, our jobs, family, friends, our home, and so much love. Looking in the mirror this morning getting ready for work I thought to myself, “wow, could you have imagined all this when you graduated from High School?”
And no. This far exceeds those projections and predictions I was consumed with in my teens.
This living business has exceeded my expectations because I finally feel settled. Instead of that need to race off to the next big life step or feeling pressure to take that next big life step, these years of being in my 30s feel like I can exist, stretch, observe, create, and give myself a break. I credit all of these shifts to David and Henry, and Owen to my parents and sibling (& sibling-in-laws), nieces, and nephews, and to my nearest and dearest friends. Because of these people and these relationships, I feel loved and want to give love, I feel grateful and want to demonstrate gratitude, and I feel blessed and want to explore and pause. I am really looking forward to this weekend, not only as a celebration of my own motherhood journey, but as a celebration of all the amazing strong men and women in my life who journey and partner with me on the daily.
Okay, I did something crazy yesterday. But when I say that, I don’t want you to think it was unplanned or rash. What made it crazy wasn’t the idea but rather the follow through. While driving home from work, I pulled off the road I drive on everyday and walked into a tattoo parlor and got inked. WHAT!? This past month has been emotional. I have written about it and shared some of the emotions that have gone into these past 30 days and many of these feelings feel “accepted” now. Have you ever felt like you walked 1,000 miles in a moment? That was this past month. There was a lot that happened, a lot that changed, a lot that was projected on to the future, a lot that was processed, a lot of transitions, a lot of living, a lot of growing, a lot of discomfort, a lot of frustration, a lot of tears, and finally it feels like some acceptance.
Almost a month ago exactly, David went in for the “snip.” Almost a year ago exactly, I was 100% on board with that decision. Having just had a natural childbirth, I swore on every holy text that I never wanted to feel the uncomfortableness of childbirth again and that our family was truly complete with the arrival of our second baby boy. Of course, those immediate postpartum feelings subsided. The “nope never again will I feel those contractions” conviction wanes as your once helpless little baby starts walking around, babbling, and becoming independent. Maybe this isn’t the sentiment of everyone, but for me that one year mark is the beginning of the return of “baby hunger.” Every inch of my heart starts to ache for a baby. And as both the one year mark and the date of David’s procedure approached and intertwined within 24hrs of each other, my emotional state became uneasy with the reality that our baby making days were over and that my baby was growing up faster than I was ready for. The next 30 days were and still are a period of letting go. Yesterday, while scrolling my Instagram a friend shared this quote and it resonated deeply, “Life is a gentle teacher. She will keep repeating the lesson until we learn. Help me remember that frustration and confusion usually precede growth. It my situation is challenging me, it is because I am learning something new. Rising to a high level of understanding. Help me be grateful, even in my frustration, that life is an exciting progression of lessons.” When I read this, it might seem silly but I found some much needed peace in these words. Everyone always says that life throws you curveballs and to be able to roll with the waves of time. But this is a lot easier said than done. When one has a particular “set” look for the future and that doesn’t end up being the reality, it is hard to grow into. At least, I found this really hard. I railed against the idea of not adding a daughter to our tribe, I did not know how to grieve the end of that dream and struggled to find comfort with David because in the moment he felt like the cause of my pain by going through with the procedure even though we had both always known that two kiddos felt “right” for our family. My questions kept me up at night, What if two was not the “right” number? What happens in five years from now when we wake up and realize we want one more baby but can longer even try? The finality of it all was very challenging to process.
I do not know how to explain it but some of the rawness wore off in the days following the initial feelings of shock, confusion, frustration, and sadness. David did the best he could to be a source of comfort, he demonstrated in a number of ways his love and commitment to me and to our family and in those moments with him at home and with our little boys, gratitude and appreciation for what I have bloomed bigger than the darker, superficial feelings of dissatisfaction, unfulfillment, and resentment. What exactly was I bemoaning? What exactly did I feel like I would be missing out on? When toddler cries out about being denied something be it licking a light bulb or being laid in a crib a common acronym shared among mommies is FOMO, fear of missing out. What was my FOMO? Yes, I will miss out on mother-daughter things, but I have to remember that nothing about parenting or motherhood has been what I expected or anticipated. My two boys have surprised me since the moment they joined our family earthside and that the realness of motherhood is not linear, it is not predictable, it is not gendered, it just is what it is. It is just giving love to the boys, sharing experiences with them, caring for them, and growing with them in life and if that is the perspective that I start each morning with there is nothing I will miss out on unless I throw up my own walls and dig myself into my own corner.
It feels so much better emotionally to let go and not just because it was the inevitable next step but to let go because it was a choice I made with myself to be grateful, present, and balanced. A choice to look around not with expectation for how I think the future will unfurl raising two boys and being married to David but to look around for the possibilities within our day, for adventures, and surprises and to not box any of us in. I don’t want to be boxed in by the narrative I wrote for myself when I was younger which I know no longer applies to who I am or what I want nor should I box in my spouse or kiddos because there is no fun in that. So why did I get inked?
Because life is about experiences and for a long long long time I have talked about getting a tattoo, drawn on my skin various designs but always backed out of them. Things that seem SO permanent are SCARY but also they don’t have to be scary at all. David’s procedure and its permanence was terrify and I am sure there will be days where I go back there, if momentarily, to that feeling of fear/dread, but I don’t have to live there and that permanence doesn’t change how much I love him, the boys, or our lives. Getting the tattoo helps demystify for me the power of permanence. It helps me remember that experiences are more important than check-lists. And sitting down to be tattooed by myself was an experience I will never forget. I felt braver in that moment than I thought I was capable of. It is a reminder that my marriage, my boys, and gratitude are my guiding principles, my doorways to the next great adventure, and that sometimes it is okay to do something permanent, brave, and unexpected!