Right now, I feel like I'm getting the chance to start over.
When Brenna was born, my world stopped. Caring for her last year, especially because she was seriously ill several times and hospitalized several times, became my only job. I stepped away from all other hobbies and work last year, except for running my photography studio on a minimal basis and copy-editing the Springfield Business Journal one weekend a month.
I am a worker, and so it was rough. I was feeling bitter and angry and disappointed and unsettled. Brenna seemed to have health problem after health problem and I felt like I was drowning in hospitalizations and doctor appointments and medicine...and stress.
And then somehow, slowly, things got better. Brenna got better, and I got better. And now for the first time since her birth, we're actually looking forward instead of worrying in the present.
Now I'm getting to start all over, to choose what to spend my time on, to choose what matters most to me right now. Not only did I realize that work and activities will always be there to come back to...but now I have an intense clarity about what my priorities are and what my passions in life are.
2011 was a crazy year. I was in my third year of business at the studio, I was taking on whatever freelance writing and photography assignments came my way, I was pregnant and working what felt like nonstop. At least two or three times a week, I'd drag Connor to my studio around 5:00 and transfer him to Evan when he got off work so that I could meet a client, missing dinners at home. I'd be concerned with checking emails and meeting deadlines constantly, and I'd turn down pool and park invitations because I needed to be freshly showered for client meetings. Then on the weekends, I'd run off to several photo shoots. It was exhausting but exhilarating too and I felt so proud. I had really built a business from the ground up.
I never want to do that again.
I never want to put work before my family and my happiness. I'm so glad I had that experience...and then I'm even more glad that Brenna came into my life to teach me about priorities.
Last year, I put the vast majority of my commitments on hold. I wasn't happy about it, but I knew that my family needed me and they were my first (and pretty much only) priority. This year, God is presenting me with some opportunities for "me time" again. And I'm choosing now to get involved with the things that I truly want to be involved with, things that I am passionate about, and not just the things that came my way that I felt obligated to say yes to.
It's incredibly fulfilling....and it's even more exciting to me to know that I won't ever lose sight again of the best part of my life - my husband and kids. That I'll always strive to pursue my own goals and passions but that I won't let it interfere with my most important role as a mom and wife.
I read a quote the other day from author Karen Salmansohn: "What if I told you that 10 years from now, your life would be exactly the same? Doubt you'd be happy. So why are you afraid of change?"
I realized I would be happy if my life was the same. (Of course, I really hope the kids are in school by then :) ) If I'm getting to be a mom to two beautiful kids, to be Evan's wife, to be writing about things that I'm inspired by, to be using my creativity through writing and photography, to be volunteering in some capacity and making a difference in others' lives...and if I'm feeling this content and fulfilled and inspired in 10 years...yes, I'll be extremely happy.