Another birthday. Another year filled with growth and joy and challenges and triumphs.
I might understand all too well what Madeleine L’Engle meant when she referred to this decade of life and motherhood as “the tired 30’s,” but this season feels like such a gift. Yes, even amidst a pandemic. Yes, even with two kids in diapers and an unexpected choice to homeschool this year and and even being in a very prolonged state of limbo and in-between at the moment.
I chuckled to myself a bit when I read the intentions I set for my birthday last year, which were all about keeping my heart open and specifically finding more ways to engage with people in person and invite neighbors over for dinner and do more planned activities with friends.
Of course, like the rest of the world, I can’t remember a year when I’ve engaged LESS with people in person.
But the past year has not been a loss, not even a little bit—my heart feels more open than ever, largely BECAUSE I’ve learned to deeply appreciate the times when I CAN engage in-person with others, and I no longer take for granted the simple beauty of a hug or an extended family gathering or a shared meal amongst friends.
I’ve also learned this last year that I can’t ignore my own needs—that despite my desire to constantly be there with open arms and hands and willing to step up and devote time whenever possible, I also need to make sure I prioritize rest and slowing down and taking care of my own health.
I’m not very good at this.
But the truth is, I’d like to get pregnant again in the next year or so, and I don’t currently have the health I need for another pregnancy. I need to get my back healed (somehow, somehow), I need to not skip meals when I’m busy and take the time to nourish my body with good fuel regularly, I need to gradually ease into exercising again, and I need to ask for help and breaks and periods of personal space.
I am getting better….slowly, slowly, slowly.
This last week I finally got in to see a specialized massage therapist for my back, and once again, there seems to be hope that this time (this time!), I think I’ve found the right combination to help heal this back injury from two years ago.
Today I asked my husband to take the day off of work just so that he could be around on my birthday rather than an hour and a half away, just because I could feel that I needed him here. Having him gone from us for more than half of each week is hard, and believe me when I say that it is no small victory that I was able to identify exactly WHAT I needed and then actually ASK for it, especially when it wasn’t “convenient.”
And oh, today has been such a good day!
So, with all this on my mind, my intention for the year ahead is really quite simple—
It is to continue to consciously take the necessary steps to truly take care of myself so that I can continue taking care of everyone else who needs me.
It’s a hard season to do any of this because there’s always such a lack of time when you are the parent of small children who have constant and never-ending needs, and most days I seem to go from one crisis to another with fistfuls of chocolate and shots of caffeinated diet soda in between.
But it is precisely because it’s such a hard season to do it that it is so very necessary for me to choose to focus on it, even though another part of me would very much like to focus on other intentions for the year ahead.
So here’s to another year of life ahead, with hopefully a lot more health and healing and energy mixed in.