“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
I don’t remember turning 31. I don’t remember how it felt or what I was thinking. I was 27 weeks pregnant. I had a lot on my mind and on my to-do list. But I’ll always remember the gift my husband gave me.
He doesn’t know much about music. Actually, I think he prefers silence. I’m the one who runs the playlists in our house. So imagine my surprise when he gave me an envelope filled with concert tickets! On our pre-baby music tour we saw Delta Rae, Ben Folds, Leon Bridges, and Florence and the Machine. And one sweaty night in June, a week from my due date, we made it through four songs at Old Crow Medicine Show before I called it a birthday completely celebrated.
Looking back on 31, it was a year completely celebrated.
In April we had HypnoBirthing classes, maternity photos, and a home visit with our doula. We had new furniture delivered and worked hard to make our new house feel like home. May was full of love and family and friends. We traveled to my husband’s hometown in Ohio for baby showers and Mother’s Day. My dad and brother were in Austin over Memorial Day weekend. I settled into the final months of my pregnancy.
My due date, June 25th, was one of my favorite days of 31. My husband and I spent it together, doing things we love. We went for a long walk around Town Lake and had lunch at True Food Kitchen. We went to dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, G’Raj Mahal. At the very last minute, we bought the only 2 tickets available to see Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper speak that night. The seats we scored were front and center and perfect.
On June 30th, when I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, my husband and I called a family meeting. We let our baby know it was time for him to join us. He was fully cooked and we’d done everything we could to prepare for his arrival. We were ready and excited to meet him. Like magic, we welcomed our sweet babe into the world the following morning.
The next two months, July and August, were a haze of cuddles, hormones, burp cloths, and reheated coffee. We had family in town from Ohio, California, North Carolina, and Arizona. It was comforting to have family close, but I struggled to navigate the newness of motherhood with a rotating schedule of guests.
Looking back, September was the only month from 31 where we had nothing scheduled. It was when we established our routine as a family of three. I started to find my way. I got more comfortable with leaving the house and began to connect with other mamas.
October brought our first adventures. We started the month by taking our baby to the Austin City Limits music festival. It was a huge learning experience, marked with sunshine, sweat, tears and small triumphs. The year before, on the last day of ACL, we found out I was pregnant. This year, Baby O turned 100 days old while the festival rocked on.
The rest of 31 is a story of travel. Between November and January we went to Dallas, Raleigh, Charlotte, LA, Napa, Ohio, and Arizona, all with our baby in tow. We started 2017 with a two week trip to Japan and on my 32nd birthday we flew to Ohio.
I’m already 1/12 of the way into 32 and have spent this past month thinking about the year ahead. How do I want to feel when I’m writing about being 32 and becoming 33? What changes, challenges and growth will I face? What wonders and magic will I encounter?
One thing is clear… I am craving stillness. Quiet. Simplicity. In the chaos of motherhood, my heart has cried out for calm.
I know it’s my responsibility to cultivate that calm for myself, my child, my marriage, my home. It’s hard to imagine us slowing, but I can pursue simple joys through the craziness. I can take a deep breath when I forget to breathe. I can care for my body when I am tired and hungry. I can soothe my soul when I’m feeling lost. I can write when my heart needs a voice.
Cheers to being 32 and becoming 33! I am grateful to have this space to reflect, dream, and share my journey. Thank you for being here with me.