“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
I was reading my blog reader yesterday and I came across Broadside’s “Life Changing Moments” blog and I felt inspired. I felt inspired because I feel like my guy and I are trying to start anew. Our lives have changed, they aren’t over, but it is definitely one of those things that makes you stand back and take inventory. We wear life on our faces. In our bodies and the way we feel and speak and think. We resist those changes and sometimes even try and convince ourselves they are not there. Until one day we look in the mirror and we recognize who we are and we appreciate how we got there.
I thought long and hard about my moments last night. What were they? When did they happen? And why are they my moments? And there are a few reasons why I think each of them are my moments. And they are probably obvious ones, but not the obvious reasons. They are the moments good and bad that consume my soul and whisper their story (my story) to me over and over until it becomes so ingrained in my heart that I can’t forget, nor do I want to. They were moments of achievement, wanting and of hesitation and pain. They changed me and my very being in unchangeable ways. The kind of ways you can’t go back and redo.
With each moment (with the exception of one because you can’t photograph it) I have tried to include photos that show the transitions.
Moment # 1
It was not only meeting, but marrying my husband. I had only ever met and dated jerks before him. I had this penchant for finding the wrong guys, and for allowing them to treat me horribly. Somehow I always convinced myself that it was love or what I deserved or a combination of both. And then I met him. I didn’t realize it or know it at the time, but he was exactly what I needed. Once I realized it, I didn’t want to need it because I am fiercely independent, so I tried pushing him away. But that lasted short. And before I knew it I was all out fully swept away in love with him. The things I thought he threatened in my independence actually were our strengths. I felt comfortable becoming who I was and he allowed me to explore that and pushed me to become better. The more we built our lives the more I knew he was the “one”. But this is one life moment there was definitely a before and an after. Before I met him I was confused about who I was and where I wanted to go and who I wanted to do it with. After it all made sense.
Life Moment # 2
Probably again pretty obvious it was becoming a mother. The thing is I was never confused about that or had no idea. It was a matter of getting the rest of my life together to become a mom. But I had some fairytale ideas of motherhood and what it looked like. So the adjustment with # 1 was rough, but thankfully my most flexible baby girl was # 1. She never missed a beat and loved me just the same. And still does actually! This was something I was just meant to do and with each one I got better at it. With life and its bumps I am still learning. But my girls are my everything. They keep me focused and achieving more. I also feel like the perfect person to be the mother to girls. I am trying so hard to show them you can do and be anything you want, but you gotta work for it. I have been a successful business woman, a stay at home, a teacher and a professor. Those are all my professional titles. To them I am just mom and they know that comes first.
Moment # 3
This is probably a sadder moment in our lives. But we lost a pregnancy between # 1 and # 2. And this change was more my own innocence being wiped away. It was this loss that my guy and I grieved together as parents. We had grieved before, but it was different and there was always one of us removed. It was my grandma or it was his. But it was never ours. We really wanted another baby and I will never forget having to tell him that I thought I was losing our baby. I knew it in my heart. I won’t forget his face. And I won’t forget our loss of hope. Neither of us held the hope and innocence for pregnancy as we did before that moment. It was a sad loss and one we eventually overcame, but it forever changed us and the way we looked at the world.
Moment # 4
My obtaining my Masters degree, was so huge for me. It was huge for a lot of reasons. And a lot of them are entirely selfish and have nothing to do with anything other than me. I wanted to better myself. I wanted to study writing. I wanted to become a voice in my field. I wanted to prove all the statistics that teachers had thrown in my face since I was the product of a divorced family and shove them in their face. I wanted to prove I could do it to my algebra teacher who told me I would be nothing if I didn’t understand slope. I wanted to prove to that professor who said the academic life was not for me because I was a mother wrong. There are whole lot of thats. But mostly, I wanted to be a first generation college student with her BA and MA and maybe even PhD. I want to show my girls and myself that with faith and love all things are possible. I remember on my graduation day last year I was in my classroom alone and dressing for the ceremony. I became absolutely overwhelmed by the feeling of accomplishment. For so long I had worked for and tried to achieve that moment. I imagine the PhD to even that much more sweet. The first photo always took my breath away because that was the moment I got hooded. I walked down the stairs and there was the photographer. The first person to see me and this accomplishment. The second one was a bad selfie, but a selfie none the less of me taking in the moment. Being there and aware. So important in these “moments” to recognize them. And maybe that comes with age and time.
Moment # 5
And this one is most obvious, but the most life changing. It aged my guy and years. If you don’t believe I will show you pictures to prove. Pictures that were taken about a year apart. My guy’s TN. I realize it may feel a bit like I am beating a dead horse with his TN. But trust me I am not. I have been trying to place into words why I feel so displaced from people my age. I hang out with friends and people my age and I feel disconnected. I feel disconnected because what we went through and continue to go through is one of those moments that inspires this post. There is a distinct before and after and you can’t go back even though you desperately want to. I can’t unsee my husband and machines in the ICU. I can’t unsee the pain in his eyes and me willing him to want to live. I can’t unhear the words I heard. I can’t unsign the paperwork I signed and he signed when he went in for a high risk surgery. It changed both of us to our cores. I am still trying to get to the other side of this. It is there and we are finding it. But damn we grew up. We learned life is hard in a way that people our age should not have to. But it has made me savor life, love and the pursuit of good. It has forced me to find my voice in a way I hadn’t managed to yet. It has solidified my marriage and my family and our resolve and strength. So yea we got some extra grays and a few more wrinkles. But we found everlasting love in so many more ways than I could type on some blog.