As I sit reflecting on 2012 I am filled with heaps of happiness. It was a great year. Much has evolved over the 12 months and I am grateful that Brandon wasn’t deployed or away for army training to witness it all. We marveled at Kennedy crawling and taking those precious first steps. We sat proudly perched on blue chairs at Whitney’s first ballet recital, and smiled broadly as she overcame fears while riding her first bicycle. It was magical. It’s funny, isn’t it? When you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t seem quite as magical. In fact, there were many times last year when I was pressed and stressed thinking, planning, and hoping. Waiting and wishing for a cold or tantrum to pass. The truth is we're in the middle of the magic. Right now. You don't have to be a parent or be working at your dream job to be living in the magic. You may have loss or be lost, and yet something amazing is still happening - you're growing and evolving as a person and that is part of the magic.
Times have come over the years when I’d bust out the big ‘ol box of old photographs, and sit hunched, cross-legged on the floor flipping through old photo albums from high school and college days. I’d feel the ping of sadness. I miss that time of my life. It’s especially during those moments when I notice how different my life is now – how much I’ve grown into the wife, mother and woman I am today. In 2012, I struggled a lot with grieving over my Old Life and trying to get motivated in my New Life.
Old Life was fun. My girlfriends and I drank our livers out and danced away the calories nearly every weekend. Of course I was incredibly irresponsible, but it was what it was. I was working then, too. I had a good paying job that I loved and was climbing the corporate ladder like I always dreamed. I was engaged to my soul-mate and certainly living in the moment. Then, I didn’t grieve over my past or waited and wished for the next phase in life to finally happen; I was in the middle of it. I didn’t know that I was in the middle of an exciting time. Who had time, then, to stop and think and re-think? Certainly not me. Life was moving fast and fun. Done.
Once I became a mother, of course, everything changed. I was one of the first in my group of friends and the very first in either of mine and my husband’s family’s to have children, that I didn’t have an example I could relate to, to help guide me into New Life. I just winged it and it was hard. About a month after having Whitney I went out with some army friends and wanted so desperately to relive my Old Life carefree dancing days, that it all collided into a breakdown of my realizing that those days are officially over. I loved being a mother. Loved. It. It’s just that I didn’t know what kind of mother I wanted to be and I had no reference of motherhood except from my own raising. My sisters and close girlfriends were still doing the bar scene, and I felt caught somewhere in the middle.
I had my second daughter in October, 2011, so by early 2012 my world was inevitably flipped upside down. I heard the saying, “Having one child is like having one. Having two is like having twenty.” Boy were they right. Being a stay-at-home-mom to two was a challenge I so wanted more than anything, but didn’t know how much of a challenge it was going to be until it happened. I applaud those with multiples. Therefore, I began to really miss Past Life again. The Past Life I longed for was a life with just Whitney. Kennedy is the sweetest, most darling teeny-tiny little girl ever, but by then Whitney was 3 and I knew her routine and quirks like the back of my hand. Kennedy was simply just a different kid with different needs and wants. She breathed new life with a unique appetite and distinctive quirks and it made me feel lost. Silly me. I went into parenting two kids thinking, “Oh, I got this. This ‘aint my first rodeo.” Not so much. I felt like I was a new parent all over again. I made a call to the emergency room the very first night we had Kennedy home with us for fear that she was sick. She kept vomiting all of her food and we feared jaundice would result. Luckily, everything was alright and it was just my mama fears, but man, my world was flipped and I shamefully missed having just easy Whitney to myself.
2012 brought on several new found revelations for me. I learned what kind of mother I want to be to two healthy, happy little girls – this is who I now am. With the help from this inspirational mom blog and from the book, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, I have officially left Old Life and am in full-sprint ahead into New Life. This particular time of inward growth and self reflection lead me to learn many new things about myself and what I'm capable of including how to be fully present in the current moment.
I have become sloppy at remembering to sit in the seat of self, and relax and release, but I’m baby-stepping it. I know that I don’t need to think about the past and feel the sting of sadness that those times have come and gone. If I did that all the time then I wouldn’t have to enjoy the current moment. My girls are young. And I’m soaking in every drop of cuteness I can. I glimpse ahead (it’s only natural, right?) into the future and I see them as teenagers – all sassy and doing their own thing. I’m sure I’ll grieve Past Life, which is Current Life, and feel overwhelming sadness that my babies aren’t babies anymore. So I’m choosing to live in the moment – every day – before I miss it. And this is what I learned in 2012. What a remarkable year it has been.
As we disembark from 2012 onto new beginnings and challenges (and maybe another PCS: Permanent Changed of Duty Station) in 2013, I am hopeful and confident. My journey into unconditional happiness continues and I am pretty stoked about it.
Feel free to chiggity-check out our 2012 video scrapbook and don't forget to tell me what you think. Wink-wink-nod-nod...