One of my professors once told us, “You know you’ve written something good when you read through it and it makes you cry.” While this might be a good measure for callous scholars, I’m not sure it’s a good check for a young mom who has oxytocin swimming around her bloodstream. I cry when certain songs come on the radio and when I can wrestle into my fitted pre-pregnancy clothes. So, here are some thoughts whether well penned or not, just humor me.
Monday was the first day of school here. It was also the first time in 19 years that I wasn’t donning a backpack and spending too much time picking out my outfit. Instead I watered the lawn and made the bed before doing aerobics in a church gym with other moms who all have at least one kid over the age of 10. As I did bicep curls using my fussy baby as a weight I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How did I get here?” Yet, in some ways it’s hard to imagine life ever being different.
At this time last year I wasn’t even pregnant. I’d just finished putting together an International conference for engineers and was trying to come up with ways to make The Scarlet Letter interesting to 17-year-olds. I taught aerobics every week day and dressed professionally 5 out of 7. I was arguably in the best shape of my life. Life was a lot different then. Or was it?
As much as I sometimes try and chunk my life into eras, it’s fluid. I never end anything and then leave it behind, I just add to it. Events and people are all merging and helping me evolve. It’s amazing to think that once a memory has been lived it never goes away, even if you aren’t conscious of it, it’s always waiting with the ability to surface. While that ability to remember can be painful or traumatic in some cases, overall I find it comforting. Sometimes when I look at old pictures I wonder where that crazy dancing girl from my single days disappeared to, but then she makes an unexpected reappearance at a get together and I can’t help but smile. We’ve said a lot of goodbyes and “ended a lot of chapters” lately and though I’m glad to live in the present, it’s reassuring that in some way I get to bring a part of the past along with me. Here’s to everyone that’s donated a little part of themselves to me over the years.
Note: If you weren’t pictured above that doesn’t mean you haven’t made an impact. For example, I tried really hard to find a digital picture of me with any of my grandparents, but I guess I just don’t have one. I’m not always good at taking pictures.