My birthday weekend (we celebrate for days around here) began just the way it should --- wiffle ball in pajamas in the front yard, sidewalk chalk on the driveway, and a diaper change in the back of the Kia because it was much easier than trying to lure Cruz back in the house.
I’m not sure how the three of us ended up outside in our pajamas on Saturday morning, but I think it had something to do with the cold fall-like air traveling through our open windows and into our cozy beds that morning. We were under a spell, so it seemed, and our trance involved bare feet, laughter, and a killer batting average by this soon-to-be birthday girl. We laughed at how ‘unrefined’ we looked in our front yard, and that we were probably decreasing the housing value of our neighborhood as we played because we looked that good. Our joke was only amplified as we pulled out of our driveway for a trip to Lowes and saw a neighbor pointing and yelling at the bottle of grape soda accidentally left to fend for itself on the top of our SUV.
Today I am 28 years old. Today, I wanted to write something flowery and meaningful – a perfect reflection on my life as a twenty-something, a proud mom to a sweet little boy who thinks he’s turning ten instead of two, and a young woman with a budding career, about to embark on a new job and a new adventure. But, blame it on my busy end-of-summer to-do list, my slightly fuzzy head, and my longing to spend as much time as I can wrapped up in playtime with Cruz, but I’m just not feeling sonnets today.
The more I think about it, the more I realize it’s actually something bigger. It seems the longer I live and the more experiences I have, the more I realize life is really pretty simple. It’s about happiness, and family, and figuring things out as you go. It’s about doing the best you can, even when things don’t go as planned, and striving to be good and thoughtful and understanding to others, even if they’re different from you. And most of all, it’s about balance. Striving for a peaceful equilibrium between the happy and sad, the having too much and not enough, and the times when you feel you might explode from happiness, and yes, the times you want to pull your hair out from madness.
These moments mold us and shape us into humans. And when our balance gets a little uneven, we readjust accordingly. We replace a night of blogging with a game of cribbage with Beau, or put the camera away and rely on our mental one instead. We laugh, and we cry, and we learn to be okay when plans go awry. After all, if you don’t, you won’t really notice how mesmerized Cruz was at the hibachi grill or how he quietly tried to copy the movements of the chef because you were still sulking about the rain ruining plans for an outdoor grill-out. After all, it’s part of the equilibrium. Just as it’s important for us to go out and create our own happiness, it’s also important to sit back and let other forms surprise you.
Today I am 28 years old, and most of all, I am happy, content, and blessed. I feel more content and happy in this place than I ever have before, and sometimes I hold my breath just waiting for it to change. I still have a lot to learn, and all too often I let one of the sides of my scale get a little heavier than the other before I feel the urge to readjust. Because just as you can’t be sad for too long, you can’t really appreciate the happy until you’ve felt some of the heartache.
Today, it seems fitting to write some things I have learned about myself at 28 years old. Some truths, some simple and some personal, but all very real and present in my life.
At 28, I've learned...
...there’s no greater art gallery than a driveway full of sidewalk chalk
...accomplishment can come in many forms – a full night’s sleep in a new ‘big boy bed’, a national presentation, or a home-cooked dinner, three nights in a row, set on the table at suppertime
...God’s plan is an amazing thing and His grace has allowed me to give up the control I so often desire – because I've learned that I can’t control what my job looks like any more than I can control when that next baby will come, and it’s when things don’t go the way I have planned that I really learn just what I am are capable of
...I have a thing for flea markets
...I love to travel, (and can even make my way around an airport by myself), however, there’s no greater feeling than returning home after some time away
...to celebrate milestones, anniversaries, and birthdays as if it’s our last. And when there isn't an occasion to celebrate, make one up
...family is everything
...I need to strive to be more thoughtful to others. To compliment strangers, reconnect with old friends, and send cards to new, to remember and recognize birthdays and hard work, and celebrate others’ accomplishments as I do my own
...when all else fails, throw a dance party in the living room
...I’m more comfortable at home on a Saturday night than out on the town
...there’s nothing more fulfilling than a freshly cleaned kitchen
...a closet half-full of a few valuable pieces is far better than one chock-full of ones I really don’t need
...the key to the perfect pie crust is vodka
...I am the curator of my family’s history, a job I do not take lightly. I love filling our family’s glass display cases with memories we will talk about and laugh about for years
...it’s okay to admit that I am mildly obsessed with trashy reality TV, and that I have a slight crush on Jeff Holm, Philip Phillips, and yes, Christian Grey
...to appreciate good food and drink – and to make memories with them
...that Mumford and Sons is the best accompaniment to bath time. And dinner time. And pretty much every time.
...that I love sushi
...that taking pictures is more than a hobby for me. It’s truly cathartic and I have a need, a longing, and a desire to tell stories through this lens of mine
...to welcome each and every emotion that comes with motherhood – there’s a lot of them, and not all are the amazing, sugar-coated ones. There’s hurt and pain and guilt and regret – and that’s okay.
...painting with Cruz is worth the mess...always
...I love being pregnant, and pray I will be again
...there is nothing more important than the home you create for your family
...Even though I tend to gravitate towards family, friendships are still necessary and important. I long for close friendships in my life – for Tuesday morning coffees at home, friends who love my babies as much as I do, and friends that bring out the best in me. I pray I can open up and invite new and old friends into my life, my space, and my heart.
...that Pinterest really is the new Facebook
...that this blog is a sort of lifeline for me, a chance to live life’s moments again, and document our history, a history that goes too damn fast. It’s a vessel that allows me to slow down time, record moments, memories, and feelings, and I sincerely worry about getting too busy to continue its journey.
...that my parents and in-laws are more than parents, but friends.
...that God gave me Beau and he keeps me happy and grounded and thankful every day of my life
...a kind of love that can't be described in words – a simple, perfect love that changes me and makes me strive to be better every day.
Life is full of learning, and lessons, and love. Lots and lots of love.
Cheers to 28 years! Stay classy.