Then and Now

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The Chicken smells like fried stairwell. That’s what I told my husband when I walked in our apartment door last night. Obviously I’d had another long day. As we snuggled under the covers last night I said, “I think I have a mid-life crisis pretty much every month.”

He snickered, knowing exactly what I meant by that. But really, I’m often in a state of transience when it comes to feeling satisfied with my progress in life. Sure it’s ok to cut yourself some slack once in a while but it’s also important to keep striving to be better. I can rarely find a balance between the two. So I got to thinking about my life and where I am as opposed to where I thought I would be years ago. It reminded me of a collage I made with some church leaders and youth 10 years ago. We got together one night and cut loads of magazines apart, gluing pictures or sayings about our dreams onto poster board.

I dug it out of my hope chest today. I don’t know how it didn’t get thrown away years ago but I’m so glad it didn’t. On the back of the poster board is written ‘May 12, 1998 To compare w/life in 2008′
Well here it is, over 10 years later.

I evidently wanted a cat and dog (still do) and I was going to be a WNBA star. Oh how many hours I spent dreaming of playing professional basketball. Yeah, didn't happen. But I did have fun playing in High School.

 I also put a quote on there about controlling your passions. This was a big one for me - A fiery red head at heart. Tempers run hot in my family and my thoughts as I pasted this phrase on were that I never wanted to lose control of my temper again. (HA! Still trying)

 Funny how the smallest picture on the collage made my heart stop for a moment. Everything that I am now, hinges on a picture of two little rings. Ok, not those rings specifically and not even on our wedding rings specifically, but on our union. I am a wife, I always wanted to be a wife. I am a mother. I didn’t always want to be a mother.

To be perfectly and embarrassingly honest here I was terrified of having to…um…do what it is you have to do to become a mother for a VERY long time. Plus I was never one of those teenage girls who loved kids. I babysat on occasion but I rarely enjoyed it. Babies were messy, slobbery, snotty little things and kids were too annoying, demanding and silly. What a brat I was, huh?
But now motherhood defines me. I mean, I try not to let it completely over run my life. I make sure I have hobbies and spend time to myself. But it defines me in that nothing I do is solely about me anymore. Every decision I make affects my husband and 3 little people who are eager to follow my example. Sometimes that is stressful, mostly though it’s helpful. It’s helped me change for the better. 

Once I heard my 3 year old say Damn! for the first time, I knew right then I had to be better at watching my mouth when I hurt myself. Once I saw my 2 year old trying to drink out of the milk carton I realized that I’d better stop drinking out of the milk carton.

Children make you see the worst in yourself without making you feel like you’re a bad person. You see them following your bad example and you not only don’t get discouraged in yourself, you know without a doubt that you can be better and that you must be better, just for them. It’s win win. They better you, you better them. Without even realizing it sometimes.

In spite of the many dreams I’ve had to cast aside, in spite of how mentally and physically draining child rearing can be, in spite of how horrible I sometimes think I am as a mother, I know that this is exactly where I want to be right now. I have become and am still becoming the person I always wanted to be. One who is improving herself each day and sharing her love of life with people she loves more than life. What could possibly be better than that?