I’m taking a break from my current blogging series to add in a personal reflection. My “Why I’ll Never Visit Walt Disney World Again” series will resume soon.
I’ve realized in looking through my blog that while I’ve shared some of the most intimate moments of parenthood with you, I’ve not really shared much about me. Many would probably be surprised to know that I’m not one to really open up about myself to many. I know a lot of people, and can strike up conversation with them easily. But it’s not often that I actually expose myself to individuals which I suppose is for many reasons, none of which include trying to “Keep up with the Jones’ “. So, I’m taking a minute to reflect on turning 30 (even if it was 3 months ago) and what the last 10 years have meant to me.
My actual birthday was more than I could have asked for. A took me to Disneyland, and being at Disneyland with A & E on my birthday was a dream come true.
But as we drove the 6 hours to Orange County it gave me a lot of time to reflect on my twenties. The last decade I believe was the most influential one I’ve experienced in shaping who I am as a person. My twenties introduced me to adulthood (it was more of a baptism by fire sort of deal) and allowed me to experience what independent living truly meant. So let’s begin.
I started my 20’s married, but not to A. I was married to a man who today I am glad I can call a friend, but our relationship wasn’t healthy for either one of us. We were both miserable and brought each other down. I ended up leaving him one fall day. It was a day that was harder than I ever anticipated, though I’m not sure why I ever thought it would be easy. I distinctly remember that day, I came home from work and cooked dinner (well, my definition of cooking at the time which hasn’t improved much). As we sat down to eat I literally mumbled, “oh, by the way I want a divorce”. I don’t know that I’ve ever caused a person to hurt as much as the moment I told my ex-husband I wanted a divorce. It was one of the hardest moments of my life and one of the first to start to shape my life and adulthood.
Fast forward a couple of years. Post-divorce I moved in with my Aunt and Uncle as I tried to sell my house. I had stumbled into a job that turned into an amazing career opening up doors and setting my future in motion before I was even aware of it. I had lost many friends, some because I pushed them away, other’s who cut me out for hurting my ex-husband, and didn’t really have time to make new ones because I traveled the country on a weekly basis with women that eventually became some of my closest friends (and whom even though they lived in Ohio and Texas respectively, I saw more than people I even lived in the same house as). I dated, but dating is hard when your never in the same state as people you’re dating. In fact, for some reason guys tend to take the fact that you can never see them because you’re not in the same area code as blowing them off? Go figure. I did finally meet a boy, a boy that I had a friendship with for a long while and we took our friendship to the next level. It was perfect because of his work schedule he could really only see me on weekends which was when I was in town. I fell in love. He liked me a lot, but never fell in love with me. Another hard lesson to chalk up to my twenties loving someone who doesn’t love you in return. That’s a hard pill to swallow. In fact, his lack of love for me was made apparent when he broke up with me (us now both in our mid-twenties) on the phone, while I was driving on a major interstate (and he knew I was driving).
Let me stop for a moment, because I can see how reading this it can seem like my early 20’s were depressing. While there were hard times, there were also some amazing times. I experienced so much traveling the globe with Jamie and Jillian and had an amazing group of friends at home who accepted my road warrior life style and never saw it as a blow off.
Everything changed in September of 2007 when a friend introduced me to A. She had asked me to be in her wedding as a bridesmaid and A was the best man, she thought we’d hit it off, I guess she was right. When we attended their wedding in September of 2008, we were engaged intending to marry 9 months later.
The next two years proved to be emotionally and spiritually challenging. While there were many milestones for us (buying our first home, A graduating from college) there were also times for growth. In January of 2010 I had an extremely invasive knee surgery to fix a lifelong problem I’d been experiencing that involved breaking bones and placing screws.
This meant I had 8 weeks off of work in which I spent 4 of them sitting on the couch in pain and unable to move except to go to the restroom and wash my hair at the sink. It gave me a lot of time to reflect on my life and where our future was headed. I realized that while I had been incredibly grateful for the professional opportunity I was in, it had also made me bitter and cold. Managing people and an operation was hard, tenuous work and I had developed a thicker skin and desensitized myself out of necessity, but it wasn’t who I was meant to be, nor was it who I wanted to be. So, I left the position that had given me stability both emotionally and financially when I was in such turmoil in my personal life. I left the friendships and relationships I had spent almost 6 years cultivating. I left a position that challenged me to grow on a daily basis and instilled values, skills, and work ethic that I to this day still live by. Furthermore, I left a position that provided abundantly for my family financially, so much so that financing a private adoption 9 months after departing didn’t even require second thought. This position laid the groundwork for the life I am living today, something I am eternally grateful for.
It was during these first years of marriage that we experienced another emotional trial, Infertility. I would never wish this on anyone, it’s one of the most painstakingly difficult challenges I’ve ever faced. Looking back now, I can see that had God not put this in our story we’d not have the life we have today, and I am grateful, but it’s still the most emotionally challenging internal conflict I’ve ever faced. Being unable to do the one primal task your body was made to do is a feeling of defeat and failure that is not easy to overcome. It was during this time that friendships and relationships we had were lost either because those individuals weren’t at the same point in their lives we were, weren’t supportive of our desire to have a family, or just couldn’t understand our walk through infertility. It forced us to lean on God. It forced us to seek Him.
And we did.
And then, the most amazing thing of my twenties (really to date in my entire life) happened. On a seemingly normal Tuesday in March, I became a mama.
Becoming a mom changed so many things about me. I’d like to believe it’s made me a more compassionate, understanding, and empathetic woman. I’d like to believe it’s helped me check a few of my OCD tendencies (I said a few, not all). I’d like to believe it’s shown me how to love freely and without reservation. It’s multiplied the size of my heart at least 100 times (seriously, I have no idea how it fits in my chest still).
Becoming a mama has made me a better person, a better wife, and a better servant of God.
Since becoming a mama, most of the moments of my twenties I remember involve E. Most of them are wonderful like taking her to Disneyland and celebrating her first Christmas, other’s aren’t as warm and fuzzy, but still memorable (spending a week in the hospital with her for example). And while E has been a focal point in my life since being born, my twenties still wrapped up filled with many other wonderful memories and individuals.
I made friends with people who now feel like they’ve been in our lives a lifetime, I’ve rekindled relationships with friends I thought once were lost, and I’ve even managed to cross a few things off my bucket list.
Yes, my friends my twenties were an emotional and amazing roller coaster ride of a decade, one that I’m grateful to have experienced.
But it’s over.
And I for one am so excited to experience this new decade of my 30’s and all they have to offer. After all 30 is the new 20, right?