It's no surprise that life has changed a lot in the last twelve months. While trimming the tree with my husband today, I let myself reflect back on the passing of this year. One year ago December, we were trimming the Christmas tree in our rented twin in the beautiful Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia. Sullivan kept a close eye on us and managed to steal away with an ornament or two when we weren't looking. I was barely pregnant and to the natural passerby, barely even a bump was noticeable. Each morning I couldn't wait to head into work as an outpatient chemotherapy clinic nurse, as I always looked forward to days spent with my favorite patients and coworkers. I was always grateful for that job, but never thought how much I would truly bond with the women I worked with and how much I would miss them, still, nearly nine months after having left my position there.
The beginning of 2010 was a complete whirlwind. I have a sinking feeling that much of those emotions are now finally catching up with me and it's been a difficult process sorting through them. We spent nearly every weekend looking at prospective houses in Maryland and February brought with it not only a couple of blizzards, but also the closing on our beautiful home and my two-week notice at work.
I managed to keep busy during the next few months, what with organizing and decorating our new home and preparing our hearts and home for our handsome baby boy. I now think that I had great expectations that followed me to Maryland and unfortunately, have realized many of those have fallen short. I knew it was going to be tough moving further away from my family, but never thought that I would struggle with the distance nearly every day once Carter was born.
If I had to choose one word to sum up this year, I think it would have to be "transitions." Don't get me wrong, not every transition has been a negative one. Early on, I made the transition from a full-time registered nurse to a stay-at-home wife keeping busy with tasks such as painting rooms, choosing curtains and buying furniture to make our new house feel like home. Who wouldn't want that job? It was one a I certainly accepted with open arms. I'm proud of our house. I'm proud of how hard both my husband and I worked to be able to purchase our first home together.
Soon thereafter, I added Mommy to my repetoire and my entire outlook on life has shifted. I love my family. I love my friends. But I firmly believe that there are just no words to explain the love a mother has for her child. It's truly a blessing and a miracle- the nuturing and keeping of a human life. And to even try to explain how it feels to literally have your heart, your soul, your very being, wandering about outside of your body? Words could do no justice.
I am a Mom. Not just any mom, though. I am Carter's mommy. I have the responsibility for another life. A fragile, innocent, always-learning, always-observing, ready-to-grasp-life-by-the-coattails little boy. I always thought I knew what being a Mom would feel like. I now know I had no idea. It's what I had imagined being a mom would feel like, times infinity. It is truly a blessing and a sacrifice. A learning curve and an absolute blast.
Being a mom has changed me. I've noticed that about myself over the past few months. I am still a loving wife, a devoted daughter and an ever-loyal friend. And I suspect I will always be these things. But my priorities have changed and so have my expectations of myself and really, others. My relationship has changed with my husband. It has grown by leaps and bounds. Sure, there have been some hard nights- some yelling and more than a few tears. Like I said earlier, raising a baby is a learning curve. It is frustrating, overwhelming, an ever-growing process. We have learned things about each other that only sleepless nights and a screaming newborn could bring out in oneself. But we've also found strength in one another and unconditional love that is even stronger than on the day we said "I Do."
It has been difficult to watch relationships with friends fray at the ends because my priorities have shifted. At first, I was torn to pieces. Distraught and wracked with guilt and thoughts like, "what did I do to change this? what can I do to fix this? what can I do to make this better?" And like any relationship, it takes two. I think I finally realized that sometimes, friendships fray and relationships change and that is okay.
Those friends and relationships that have maintained through this past season of my life, from being pregnant to moving and starting a new life in a new state, to giving birth and now raising a precious baby boy, I hold them up in such high regard. I am truly thankful for those friendships.
I've learned that is why in one's life, there are many seasons. And with each season, you gather new friends who share in that season. When those seasons change, some friends stay with you into the next season and others? Well, I'm not quite sure just yet where they go. Is it that they get left behind? Is it that their season of life requires a little something, or someone different? I have no idea. Sometimes though, those frayed ends of friendship may find themselves mended down the road and I can only hope for those changed friendships, that I will soon find them there.
My husband and I have been blessed beyond measure in 2010, but it's true that I can't wait to see what the new year brings. I am excited for the prospect of new friends, new goals and new priorities. I am eager to make time for those who will make time for me and for us. Each day I am blown away by my ever-changing boy and I find myself wondering what he'll be like at 6 months, 8 months, 12 months old. I can't wait to further watch him discover this wonderful and amazing world that we live in and be there to guide him on his way. I'm eager to challenge my relationship with my husband and see where the new year takes us. How it shapes us into hopefully a better, more loving husband and wife and mother and and father and better friends to others. I'm ready for a new year.
.... Whew. Not your usual post. Thanks for letting me put all this out there.