In this moment I am 34. I see myself in photos and I think “she looks a little older than me”. But she’s not. I notice that the skin on my face is a little looser. I have bags under my eyes that aren’t there in photos from a few years ago. Sometimes it looks to me like one side of my mouth sags a bit. I never noticed that before.
The things that bothered me about my appearance in my youth no longer have a hold on me. I don’t mind the red hair. I don’t notice the freckles. I now recognize that ever thinking my fingers and wrists were too large was absurd. This ability to see more of myself as who I am and accept it is a perk of being in your thirties I suppose.
In this moment I have two children, ages 21 months and 5 years. My son doesn’t start kindergarten until next year (thankfully) because of where his birthday falls. I am so happy for that fact. I am not ready to let him go. He has a huge heart and adores his sister. He says poop a lot. I see how long and lean he’s grown but I can also see my baby boy. I see the fullness in his face that reminds me of a much smaller version of himself. I don’t want to stop seeing that.
My daughter is a spitfire. All sassy attitude and determined to communicate what she wants even when she doesn’t yet have the words. She wakes me up by 6 am every morning. I wonder if I’ll ever catch up on my sleep. I suspect I won’t. She’s recently discovered Minnie Mouse. She wants Minnie all the time. Or apple sauce.
There is apple sauce stuck to the hardwood floors and the coffee table. It takes a lot of elbow grease to scrape it up. I didn’t know how much dried apple sauce resembled glue. Now I do. My home is always just one good cleaning away from being, well, clean. My children conspire against me and do their best to make sure it’s littered with their toys and clothes from the day before.
My husband works a lot. He has a demanding job. He comes home and I can see that it still weighs on him. I’ll say something and know that his mind is somewhere else. I tell him so. He likes that I can see when he’s preoccupied. I wish he could leave the job at the office but I know that’s not the type of work he’s in. Before I decided to stay home with our children I too had a career that followed me home. I get it. I appreciate what he does for us and how much he loves us. Yet still I wish he was more present. He does too.
My parents are getting older. Sometimes it catches me off guard. My mom talks about how she and my dad sit in their chairs to watch the news while she drinks her tea. My dad hasn’t been feeling well lately. We don’t yet know what’s wrong. I worry. Apparently I’ve reached that stage of adulthood where you worry about your parents.
I have realized that not all friendships are created equal. Sometimes you grow apart. Sometimes there’s not enough depth in the relationship. You have to let them go. You have to recognize that doing so will allow you to become a better you. It hurts. It hurts less over time. I hear everything does.
In this moment I spend a lot of time thinking about if what I do with my time truly reflects my priorities. I don’t always make the right decision. I fall short often. But I notice it and I think that’s something.
I study the Bible in a way I never did before. When I don’t I can feel the difference in myself. I am more agitated. I fear the direction of our world. I am terrified of something happening to my children. When I devote the beginning of my day to God, the panic goes away. I am calm. I have faith. I trust in Him. It makes me a better mother and wife. He makes me a better mother and wife.
I am not the woman I was five years ago. Or ten years ago. I don’t want to be.
I am not who I will be five years from now. Or ten years. I hope not anyway.
I want to grow. I want to love my children and my husband the way they deserve to be loved. I want to laugh. I want to play. I want to write. I want to read. I want to do better.
I’ll go slow though. I won’t wish away this time. I will stay in it. I will be grateful for it. It is precious even when I’m low on sleep and hyper-caffeinated.
For now I just want to be fully in this moment. It’s beautiful and it’s mine.