Before, it was black and white. I was this and I was that, but never two things at once. When I was a party animal, being the good time was critical. When I moved onto running, races defined me. But what I have come to realize is that now, I am a lot of components, not just one at a time. Some days, I am one aspect more than another. I have ups and downs, and good days and bad. I have days where I need to take a nap and eat like crap, and I have days where I need to go for a run and eat a balanced meal. I have days that I need to show up at work, and days when I need to show up for my family. I have a lot of days where I do all of the above. I am a person who finally feels multi-dimensional. Each of these pieces, they all live inside of me, co-existing peacefully. It is no longer all or nothing. Each day is an opportunity to experience all of these parts and embrace the moment. Motherhood has helped me find this serenity.
While I wished maternity would have lasted forever, I know that would have meant an inability to accept that life goes on. The baby would have stayed a baby forever, and what I want more than anything is to watch him grow. I want to relish in his first moments, the good and the bad ones, as he embarks on his journey to becoming a multi-dimensional person, too. More than anything, I want to be a good role model for him. I want to see me and know that I am all of those things: his mother, most importantly, but also a wife, leader, athlete, community member, friend, and person. I want him to know that he can be whatever he wants to be, too, and that he can be all of those things at once.
I was ready today. A painful lesson I was learning last year, right before I found out I was pregnant, was how to live in the now. As I sat in a business lunch today, I heard a song that I listened to all the time last spring when I was trying to accept where I was and even more, learn to appreciate it. It represented where I was in that moment that seems like eons ago, a lifetime wrapped up in 10 months.
I don’t want to sit in stagnant, remorseful reflection, but I also don’t want to rush to the point where my son is grown. It’s been so challenging to be mindful of these moments, but with him here, a new acceptance has washed over me. These are days that I will never get back. I will never get him, this small, this new, this child, ever again. I don’t want to fight against the change. I want to breathe in each second, savor it, and exhale with a mind that appreciates the moments before they fade away.
“I cursed and I cried, but now I know.”