The last couple of months have been a whirlwind. For some time now, we’ve been on a passive home search, watching real estate apps to see what gets listed and touring homes on the weekends. In May, Michael saw a home and immediately knew it was the one. We quickly met with our real estate agent, prepared to list our current home, and made an offer on the new home. We’ve been in our new home for two weeks now, and it’s been a crazy mix of overwhelming, exciting, exhausting, and joyful to be going through this huge change. We are only ten miles from where we were before, but we’ve gone from a townhome to a single family home, and as Connor said the other day, we used to live in the city and now we live in the forest :) We have a yard with big ancient trees, and enough bedrooms for each of the boys. When we first walked through the home, we felt that it had been loved by it’s previous owners—and we are so excited to raise our family here and care for our new home for decades to come.
Adventure: When Michael and I were dating we bought two world maps and each circled places we wanted to visit together. On my map were places I had never been and wanted to explore for the first time with Michael; there were also places I had been, and loved, and wanted to share with him. One of the places I visited that I wanted to return to with Michael was the bottom of the Grand Canyon :) and we’re going to make it happen for Michael’s birthday this year. In September, Michael and I will fly (with no children) to Arizona, where we will hike down and up, this magical, immense, natural wonder. I’m so excited for this adventure, and I can’t stop daydreaming about the Grand Canyon, it’s stunning beauty, the physical challenge of hiking the canyon, and the time with Michael.
Parenting: my ongoing parenting dilemma—how much discipline, how much freedom? Parenting Ryan and Connor often feels like a balancing act, attempting to parent with the most appropriate reactions, guidance and freedom.
New home: We’re planning a move in the near future. It will be a local move, likely only 10 miles from where we live now. We’ve been passively looking for a while, but I’m having trouble making up my mind about what I really want. Do I want an old house from the 1930s or a newer one from the 1980s? Do want a big house with extra rooms or a smaller house that keeps us close together? Do I want something that needs updates or something more current? Do I want to be farther from town or closer to town? Even as I type this, I’m still not sure what I really want, so each week I check the houses that are listed, and I hope I will come across one that feels just right.
Marriage: In discussing marriage in Becoming, Michelle Obama says, “It’s a contract best renewed and renewed again.” I love this, and I try to remember that marriage requires daily work and a commitment that deserves to be revisited.
Women’s rights: When I think about the timeline of humanity, I’m always stunned when I remember it’s as recently as the last 150 years that women have started to make advancements towards equality in the US. Which brings me to the current debate on abortion. The fact that this personal choice, has become such a public topic, being ruled on by a government of representatives dominated by men, is mindblowing to me and totally unacceptable.
Last week we headed to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a family vacation. We stayed in a sweet, oceanfront Airbnb A-frame in Kill Devil Hills. During the day we visited local destinations, including the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the Bodie Island Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and the Roanoke Island Festival Park with an Elizabeth II ship replica and museum. In the late afternoons and early evenings, we headed to the beach for some play in the sand and waves.
At the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, we climbed 220 steps to the top, for views of the surrounding area. Climbing the lighthouse with three small children was an interesting experience. There was anticipation with each step, excitement and thrill at reaching the top, tension and worry for our safety. It was fun and overwhelming, and there was also a sense of relief when we reached the bottom. I found these feelings to be relatable to this season of life that Michael and I are in right now, as there are so many layers of distinct emotions related to living through life with three kids under six. As I look through the photos from our trip, I try to let myself feel what I am feeling: exhausted, but also in love with my family—I hope that we are creating rich memories for our children, and filling their childhood with a sense of belonging and a spirit of adventure.
Ryan, Connor and Jack, I recently read this quote, “What you water, grows.” I keep thinking about all of the applications for this. How the more we invest in things, the more we become them. How we choose to spend our time and energy, how we get out what we put in—at work, home and in relationships. It’s a take on ‘you reap what you sow,’ and it has me thinking about how, as your mom, I can and will water or nurture positive (and hopefully not too many negative) things in each of you, my children.
My loves. Today, my arms are big enough to hold all three of you at once; but one day, I know, you will grow to be bigger and stronger, faster and smarter than me. One day you will live on your own and you will be independent from me. When that day comes, these are the things I hope to have nurtured in you. I hope you will be kind. I hope you will be helpful, considerate and respectful. To see a need and step in. I hope you will be able to communicate what you are feeling. And to admit when you are wrong. I hope you will be open minded and loving. To remember that this world doesn’t exist only for you, but for all of us. I hope you will remember that I will love you forever.
A few months ago I realized the value of mantras and having a few to repeat to myself throughout the day. I use them to pick up my spirit, to adjust my mood, to challenge my heart, and to make sure I don’t get down or lost in the details and challenges that are not worth my time and effort.
Here are some of the mantras that have been helpful for me:
It could be better, it could be worse. This could be perceived as settling, but I like to think of it more as letting go. At work and in my personal life, when things don’t seem to make sense or work out as I would hope, I repeat to myself, it could be better, it could be worse. I don’t need to control everything, and if I were to get a new job, or change something personally, it would likely not be much different. I need to learn to be ok with how things are. I need to remind myself that things are good, and it could be better, it could be worse.
I wanted this. When I’m having a chaotic, loud moment with three little boys, I like to remind myself, that I wanted this. I wanted three children, even more, I wanted three small children. I wanted this, and I am so grateful I got what I wanted. When I’m frustrated at work, I have to remind myself that I wanted this, I want to work, I want to have my specific job and work where I work, doing what I do. Life might not be perfect, but I need to appreciate it, because what my life looks like right now, is what I wanted.
Outlast. One of the greatest things about life, is that it keeps going. And so we need to outlast the challenges, the tough social settings, the confusing professional conflicts, the individual growth pains. We need to root ourselves in our values and commit to doing the best we can, with what we have.