Originally, I was going to title this “Turning 30 with Mono” but mono is going to be such a small part of my story and does not define me or this occasion. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a *little* dramatic, but look at me — I’m growing.
When I turned 20, I was so, so sad. I didn’t know that then. I made so many bad choices, I had no idea how to take care of myself, and I was lost. I won’t go into the details of the actual day, mostly because my closest friends and I can look back now and laugh at how ridiculous it all was. I’m glad for those mistakes and that time in my life, but I’m even more grateful that so much has changed in a decade:
- Really soon after that birthday, I met Ian (or, at least, got to know him — I met him in second grade). I’m of that specific type of feminist group that believes you shouldn’t rely on a man to build your self-worth and value, blahblahblah. Listen, I know all of that. But saying that Ian did anything less than change my life would be an understatement and a lie. I would not be the person I am without him, and I can’t wait for the next decade with him.
- I learned the value and meaning of hard work. I don’t believe anyone will ever be able to convince me that there is a harder job in the US than teaching. Joining Teach for America after college will remain one of the most defining decisions of my life. Nothing has caused me to change or grow more quickly. I’m thankful to still be working in education.
- Family is everything. Not just my immediate family who, especially since finding out about Everest, has just stepped up and taken care of so much, but also friends who feel like family. Just over the past week, people have brought me food and comfort, listened to me, checked in on me, and just been generally amazing. Thank you all.
- Becoming a mother is so wonderful. To be honest, I never thought I would be a particularly good mother. I’m pretty selfish and the monotony of caring for someone so helpless freaked me out. Maybe I can blame it on the influx of hormones when Everest was born, but good god, was I wrong. I’d like 20 more, please. Just kidding. But not really. I love being his mama.
- When in doubt, do something or go somewhere new — but make sure it’s important. Over the past ten years, I have learned so many new skills and seen so many new places. I have become new versions of myself and retreated to old versions. I don’t have unlimited time to do whatever I want anymore. At the very least, I have to take breaks every 4’ish hours to nurse my little one, and that’s okay. But that’s also why I can’t take on everything or do silly things that aren’t actually important to me. I adventure less, I sleep more. I spend less mindless time scrolling on the internet or watching TV, I read more books. I collect less stuff, I develop more skills. This is the kind of life I want — one with less consumption, and more importance.
This weekend, we were supposed to be in Savannah. Ian planned a getaway trip for our little family (minus Iris) to explore a new city, one of our favorite things to do. Mono means that the idea of sitting in a car for 5 hours, much less getting up to walk around, is laughable. It takes so very little for me to feel completely tired. Just this morning, I woke up to nurse Everest. I came back to our room to find Ian awake and thought I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. Apparently, I asked him for a cup of coffee so we could sit in bed and hang out. Not two minutes later, I was snoring*.
*I don’t actually snore. Ian said I was snoring. Whatever.
Mono is actually a really fitting reminder of all that I have learned over the past ten years. When you have energy to do very little and talking hurts, you have to strip away what is unnecessary in favor of what really needs to get done and said.
So I’m home this weekend. Our parents were here yesterday, and this morning, I’m hanging out with my sweet husband, beautiful baby, and perfect pup. We have watched some Game of Thrones, played Phase 10 together (we both won, it. was. awesome.), and tonight, some friends will come over to help put together a puzzle of Cuba that Ian gifted me (we’re going later this year)! I don’t have a big bucket list or set of goals to cross off. I just want more of the same: a life where, each day, I get to spend time with the people who matter the most while in awe of the world we live in.
Thank you to Lauren Jolly Photography for the two photos in this post. The first is of the happiest moment of both the past decade and my entire life and the latter is of my favorite family tradition: a family hug that even Iris knows to join in on!