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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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moving

Let’s Be Honest – Having a Baby Changes Everything

Today’s guest post comes from a family member – my sister Natalie.  I was going to type an intro, but I think I’ll let her explain: 

 

“Having a Baby Changes Everything.”

Humans are naturally creatures of habit. We don’t like change; we don’t want things to change even if we won’t admit it. That makes life more difficult and complex. With many of the changes in our life we don’t have the luxury to feel in control. We don’t have a choice in the matter. Things happen, and we must adapt to get over the change. But then, there are those moments when we get to choose how our life changes. The first major change in my life was selecting and going to a college. What seemed like a difficult choice at the time, quite frankly wasn’t all that difficult at all. I knew I wanted to be close to my parents and my friends. Naturally, this meant I would select a school in my home state. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, this meant I needed to go to a school with a good reputation for producing quality teachers. The final component was applying and getting accepted. Done. Okay let’s try this again. Choose a graduate school. This should be a difficult decision and big change in a person’s life, right? Never mind, my undergraduate school offered me a full ride scholarship. Done.  Choose the man I would spend the rest of my life with, again done. He always felt like my soul mate and planning the wedding with him was a joy and almost never a stress. I’m seeing a trend here, all the changes in my life that I thought were going to be hard were really not so hard after all.  Alright, last attempt, choosing a career path. And this, my friends, is where the challenging changes began.

Choosing a career path wasn’t going to be so easy for me. I knew I really didn’t want to work in my home state but it’s where my parents, my husband’s family, and our friends lived. How could I leave them behind? How could I ask my husband to leave everything he has ever known? How could I leave everything I had ever known? Then a miracle happened, a work of God. My sister’s fertility battle was over, she had won. Not only did she win but she did a victory lap and was pregnant with twins. I thought the saying “having a baby changes everything” was only really geared towards the new parents but almost a year later, I realized that saying goes to everyone. I bet at this point you’re asking yourself, what in the heck does this have to do with choosing a career path? It has everything to do with it.

I knew my sister would need help those first few weeks with the newborns. So, I volunteered to spend the first month of my summer with my sister.  This meant being over 10 hours away from home, while trying to finish planning my soon to be wedding.  Still, this did not worry me and then plans were made. Not long after, I got a phone call. A school close to my sister’s home wanted to interview me. I accepted the interview offer and set the date during my long visit. The interview was a major success. In fact, I ended up having four interviews that day.  I was quickly offered a position. I declined to sign on the big black line until I could think it over. This decision would change everything.

Two days later, my sisters C-Section date arrived. I was going to be an Aunt. Instead of focusing on the miracle, I was dwelling over my decision. What was I going to do with my life? I had hours of conversations with my soon to be husband at the time.  Still, I (we) were undecided.  I sat in the waiting room, excited for my sister and nervous about the big decision. Then the babies arrived. I still remember the first moment I saw them. I couldn’t believe I was an Aunt. I couldn’t believe my sister was a mom! I had no control over this change but I loved it. Then, I held those little boogers for the first time. How could I ever leave those babies? How could I pass up what could be the only chance I get to watch my niece and nephew grow?  How much would I regret turning the job down and never give it a fighting chance? It wasn’t long before the decision was made for a handful of reasons. My soon to be husband and I would pack our entire lives and take the biggest change WE have ever taken in our lives. Having a baby changes everything. That first month with screaming babies all night wasn’t easy. I was feeling out of control as I had to make life changes and fast. New apartment, new state, new job, new new new new new! Nothing would ever be the same. It has been the most difficult change in my life. But we made the big move, the big change.

The job has been an amazing challenge, an amazing change. I have stretched myself further than I ever had in my life. If you know me, I am always stretching myself to the breaking point. Sometimes I would sit in my apartment with my husband on a Friday night with a heavy heart, thinking about how I could be with my friends or with our families. I’d think about how this home didn’t feel like a home, my childhood home wasn’t a home anymore, my college town wasn’t a home. I have NO HOME! Saturday, I would work all day; clean the house, lesson plans, run errands, and the typical routine. But then Sunday would roll around. Naked Baby Sunday! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I said it, Naked Baby Sunday! My husband and I would load up in the car and drive a short distance to my sisters. This first thing you would see walking in her door is two babies, in nothing but a diaper rolling around on the floor.  My nephew would giggle as we walked in the door and my niece would get a big smile. Then, finally the moment I wait for all week: holding them and never wanting to let go, except when they scream! (Here you go mom!) Having a baby changes everything.  Those babies changed my life.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not all the babies fault. Mom and Dad were planning to move to my sister’s hometown soon. I didn’t want to stay in my home state. My husband was willing to take a chance because it would be now or never. But when I hold those babies I am home. When my husband holds those babies, it all their fault. It’s all their fault that I love my job. It’s all their fault my husband found the first job he has ever loved. It’s all their fault mom and dad are moving here sooner. It’s all their fault that I had to make new friends and miss my old but still important friends. It’s all their fault that I have never felt closer to my sister in my entire life. It’s all their fault and I don’t think we (my husband and I) would change a thing.  Yes, the times will be tough. Yes, I will still think about what our life could be like back in our home state.  But having a baby changed everything, and I would never take that back. Happy almost Birthday Abby and Miles! You have been the best change I would ever ask for. It wasn’t easy but you’re both so worth it. (Happy Tears) :’)

 

Contact Paper and Adventures in Graduation

I have this vague memory when I was smaller of adults cooing over how old I was getting, how tiny I used to be, and how they just remember me as a certain age.

I always found that annoying. Like, how? Do you not see me standing here now, clearly older? I was especially weirded out by people who exclaimed  how big I’d grown from when they used to babysit me, because I had no memory of any of that. Then they’d all wonder aloud where the time went and everyone else would nod in unison and agreement. I’d run away and play the first chance I had, wondering why all adults were so strange.

Then I watched my sister walk across the stage at her college graduation, the proud new owner of a Bachelor’s degree holder (they send it in the mail later which I’ve always thought was strange. Congratulations on your brand new degree….holder!) , and wondered to myself where the time went.

Confession: that’s not the first time that thought had crossed my mind.

And I already know I’m strange, so don’t bother telling me.

To backtrack a bit, I boarded a plane on Thursday headed for the mediocre  great and boring exciting state of Ohio. After a small freak out on Wednesday night about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to carry on my hairspray or mousse (see fear: pouf hair) and a perhaps-a-bit-too-frantic text to my mom and sister about the existence of said items at the house, I boarded the plane confident that I’d be able to keep my hair under control for the weekend.

If you had my hair, you’d understand.

Natalie had three main goals for the weekend:

1. Graduate

2. Move from apartment A to apartment B

3. Hang out with cool sister

Ok, I may have made that last one up.

Day One of “Operation Move Apartment” went fairly smoothly. No one broke any bones or threw any items across the room, which to me counts as a victory. I almost threw a do-it-yourself bench across the room when I couldn’t get the pieces to fit into the pre- measured holes, and found myself repeatedly sitting on them in my attempts to get the legs all the way into the seat. I was especially annoyed (albeit appreciative) after one of her guy friends managed to get them to fit in about 2 minutes.(Apparently all 128 pounds of my body just wasn’t good enough.) What was supposed to be a half day task naturally ended up taking all day, because the apartment hadn’t been cleaned very well after the previous person had moved out. Seriously, the dirt on the shelves? Gross. And in desperate need of a good scrub and some contact paper.

Contact paper and I have a love-hate relationship after spending several hours in a tiny kitchen (standing on the previously mentioned stool) covering shelves. Measure, cut, peel, unstick paper that stuck to itself or myself, press. Unpeel, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Unpeel, fix corner, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Cut excess with razor blade. Flatten. Rinse, repeat. I did it so many times that each time I peeled the paper from the backing I sang a two word song to myself titled simply “Contact Paper”,  which naturally became the joke of the weekend and was something I started singing at random times to amuse myself. I declared to anyone who would listen that I was 29 going on 18. Until that evening anyway when Natalie and her friend decided they wanted to go out to the bars….at midnight. It was already, like, 2 hours past my bedtime.

Is it bedtime yet?

At 2am, I pulled the “old” card and declared it was time to head back  because I wanted to go to bed.

I am so lame.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, double fudge cookie dough blizzards with peanut butter cups? Fabulous.

Saturday I got my happy butt out of bed and dragged it and Natalie’s butt running. We showered, ran a couple errands, grabbed breakfast and then I attacked contact paper: part 2. (Measure, cut, peel, unstick paper that stuck to itself or myself, press. Unpeel, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Unpeel, fix corner, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Cut excess with razor blade. Flatten. Rinse, repeat.)

After that, it was off to graduation:

Hi, we are with the graduate

I look nice now….

but I’ll totally steal your dollar when you aren’t looking

21 and 29 respectively, going on 5. We ranged many ages this weekend

Congratulations, Natalie.

FINALLY after all of that it was time for operation contact paper: part 3. (Measure, cut, peel, unstick paper that stuck to itself or myself, press. Unpeel, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Unpeel, fix corner, repress. Flatten out bubbles. Cut excess with razor blade. Flatten. Rinse, repeat.)

And you thought I was going to say dinner.

After another late night the whole family went to church the next morning. My aunt, who suffers from arthritis, asked me if I wouldn’t mind rubbing a couple of knots out of her shoulders. Afterwards, she told me she caught herself starting to ask me if, and I quote “did han.d jobs”. (i.e. would I massage her hands?)

For the record, the answer is yes, I do massage hands. Get your mind out of the gutter.

We took a trip in my mom’s convertible, where my mom and sister shared their incredible “cool-ness”

Suddenly, I had blinked and the weekend was over. And I found myself asking the question that I found so strange before: where did the time go? In fact, even with this incredibly long drawn out fertility journey, I ask myself that. It was nice to spend a weekend not worried, focused or even caring about fertility.

It’s time for more weekends like that. Ones that involve living and enjoying life.

Thanks for the awesome weekend, family.

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