This summer has been full in more ways than one.
Our schedule was full, for one thing. Between both of us working full time, we certainly packed in as much as we could on the weekends and week nights with trips, family time, and milestones. I turned 30, Jordan turned 31, and R turned 1 all within a month.
R and I flew to Saint Louis to visit a friend in June, and in July we drove 13 hours to Illinois for a family reunion for my grandpa’s birthday. Between that we took a few trips to Texas. I started back to my regular Wednesday night/Sunday morning violin playing at church, and we attended baby showers and game nights, and I took R to the park and the splash pad (and of course to Target a lot too like any good mom).
My heart is full too.
Full of laughter and thankfulness and lessons learned.
It has been almost a year now since I started back to work after maternity leave. If I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that all along I’ve been hoping something would magically change with my work situation. I hear about people who have jobs dropped into their laps that allow them to work at home or promotions for their husbands that allow them to stay at home, and I secretly hoped that would happen to me. It's not that I don't like my job or my coworkers (I actually really, really do!), but deep down I didn’t want to accept that maybe working full time is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. It surprised me how much I just wanted to stay home with my girl.
Dropping R off every single day sucks every single time. It’s easier to leave her than it was a year ago, but it’s certainly not easy. I was bitter for a while, and I unfollowed people on social media because it hurt to see their pictures of them having fun with their kids during the day when I couldn’t be with mine.
I think this is partly why I have felt God pushing me to learn more about prayer this year. I am not perfect at it by any means, but I have been trying to pray more, and as a result I have been focusing more on my blessings and focusing on praying for my friends and my family, and I have been focusing less on myself.
And I feel full.
Although right now we can't live off one income, I am full of thankfulness that our jobs allow us to buy food and pay for our beautiful house that we saved for, for so long and go on trips as a family. Although my job doesn’t allow me to work from home, I am thankful that it does allow me to treasure the time I get to spend with R.
Picking her up at daycare and seeing her reach her arms out for me and crawl to me as fast as she can is the absolute best part of every day. I can see how working at home might cause me to feel stressed about spending time working vs. spending time with R, and working outside the home allows me to spend quality, focused time with her, and I am thankful for that even though I still miss her so much during the day.
This past year was not easy for our marriage, and I am full of thankfulness that although Jordan and I don’t get along all the time, we have committed to praying together every night, and we are continuing to learn how best to handle our arguments and disagreements.
This summer was full.
I feel like we have entered a stage, however short it may be, where we have a good rhythm. R is sleeping 11-12 hours a night, and Jordan and I have time to take a breath and actually get back to some of our hobbies again. I am no longer pumping, we are weaning off formula and bottles, and I just feel like my daily routine isn’t so rushed.
We paid for all the hospital bills, I’ve put a leash on my hair bow obsession, and after doing our budget for last month, I realized that we actually had some money left over like we used to before R came along.
When R was a tiny newborn, I would look at her sleeping and cry because she was so small and needed me so much and it was all so overwhelming. It’s been just over a year, but she is not so small and she already doesn’t need me quite as much, and yet it’s not as sad as I thought it would be. I know her so much better than I did a year ago, and I love it. She is a sweet, opinionated, smart, beautiful little girl, and I'm so thankful for her every day.
This summer was full of everything and nothing.
I went to work for eight hours five days a week. I washed bottles every night. I made dinner and loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. Then I loaded it again. I folded laundry into piles so high I could barely hold them. I washed R’s highchair tray and cleaned the bathroom and pulled weeds.
It was an ordinary kind of summer full of extraordinary moments.
I chased R around the house on all fours. I read her books. I went on dates with Jordan. I stood outside and watched the sun set. I flew on an airplane and cheered at a baseball game. I went running and ate birthday cake.
Stayed up way too late and got up way too early.
I laughed. A lot.
And today, as I look back on this summer, my heart is full.
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (but not really small) gifts.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
*All photos taken by Makenzie.