I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I have never been a big “New Year’s Resolution” gal. You’ve seen my Instagram stories. How could anyone expect me to get it together enough to make resolutions…let alone follow through with them?
This year, when I finally crawled out from under the stressful, sugar laden blanket of the holiday season, I found myself struggling to come up with an idea for my first blog post of 2018.
Ideas left on the cutting room floor included:
To Kill an Australorp*
How I brought one chicken back to life, only to have another savagely murdered by a fox, while my children slept.
*one of our two breeds of chickens. Honestly, given the tumultuous climate of 2017, this story just seemed too dark.
Total Eclipse of the…Oh You’ve Got to Be Kidding
Planning your family’s entire summer around the 2 minutes and 11 seconds of the Solar Eclipse, driving 12 hours to be in the path of totality, only to have it be cloudy.
And most recently:
“Dinner and A Show”
That time last week when I didn’t check to see if my son had pulled up his pants after going to the bathroom, and didn’t notice until other patrons started laughing and pointing as we walked across the entire (very crowded) restaurant with his ding-a-ling hanging out.
None of these stories, albeit hilarious, embodied the characteristics I wanted to take with me into the new year. I needed something fresh. Something new. Something that said, I’ve learned from my old ways, and have reinvented myself. That’s when a picture of me from 2014 knocked the wind (and the self-righteousness) out of me.
There are so many things I would like to say to this girl. I want to hug her, and let her know how special she is. She deserves to know that she’s doing a great job, no matter how often she tells herself that she is failing. She is the strongest person I have ever known, even though she felt very weak.
In just 360 days, she had already moved three times, in three different states, and had 2 babies. She lived in the desert of West Texas, a 10 hour car ride away from her closest family.
When I complain about having to make dinner, I think about how she had to carry a toddler, an infant, and a full load of groceries up concrete stairs, to her second-floor apartment. She gets my lazy butt in gear when I feel like hiding under the covers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself that running a 5k is a lot easier than taking an infant and a toddler to a park when its 108 degrees outside.
Most importantly, I would apologize to her. I’m sorry for all the times I told her she wasn’t enough: thin enough, pretty enough, or organized enough. I have done a terrible job of respecting the legacy that she started. I could blame it on “Mommy Amnesia”: the idea that the only way anyone would willingly have more than one child, is because we forget the hard that comes with children.
This mentality encourages us to view our challenges as something to get over and leave behind. When you are in a season of blooming, you don’t want to remember what it felt like to be pruned. Yes, I know our pasts don’t define us, and we should always strive to be evolving and changing, blah, blah, blah. However, this “amnesia” has allowed me to get soft. Although I would not readily return to that life in West Texas, I have lost so much of the grit that was forged amongst the tumbleweeds.
No, the picture it isn’t particularly special. It doesn’t commemorate an event, and it certainly isn’t flattering. Yet, I can’t look away from my face, a face puffy from pregnancy (and about 300 too many trips to Whataburger). In the background my bed is unmade, the counter is a mess, and I can practically hear myself telling my husband to get the camera out of my face.
Looking at it for long enough, it occurred to me that this picture perfectly embodies the “Why” behind #MillennialMama.
It’s permission to embrace the hard, especially when it would be easier to put a filter on it. It’s permission to laugh at the ridiculous, and the serious, and try again tomorrow. And it’s a resolution even I can get behind.