Thirty is the new Twelve

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer wardrobe is not exactly my favorite thing to shop for. Since I was super-pregnant all last summer, my closet of summery wear is now two years old, and in dire need of restoration. I do have a couple pairs of shorts that seem to stick around year after year (since I evidently wear them oh-so-rarely, they can make it from season to season) and one pair of trusty capris. These capris are the kind of item that you reluctantly pay full price at Old Navy for at the beginning of one summer and then, as the weeks go by, you realize you should have bought them in every color since it is the one thing you end up wearing day in and day out to beat the heat and still look neat (hey - that could be their slogan!) :)
So, since my waist and my closet have both shrunk since last year, I began the search for some new summer clothes. This is no easy feat! I shopped at all my usual places - Old Navy, GAP, H&M, and even hit the sales rack at Banana Republic and JCrew...all to no avail. I mean, where can a gal score some capris? Instead, the racks are filled with "shorts"...and these shorts mean it. I mean, they are S.H.O.R.T. Shorts today are just ridiculous! They are nothing but hoochie-mama, glorified-granny-panty, wedgielicious, how-did-your-father-let-you-leave-the-house-dressed-like-that shorts. C'mon, people! What am I supposed to wear?
Then it struck me.
I held up another ill-fitting pair of short/capri/pants in the dressing room and then looked myself in the mirror. Is it just me? Am I truly getting older? Have I totally lost touch with style/reality? Is Oprah about to ambush me with a makeover when I step out of the dressing room??
As I've matured over the years, I've gained the ability to absolutely refuse to believe the self-loathing lies of modern society's need to commercialize my brain into thinking that it is me (as in, my body) needing to change and not the clothes. I mean, if I don't look good in something - then I will just buy something else. The jeans should fit me...I am the boss of them. So, this wasn't the usual mental breakdown over self-esteem or body issues or anything like that (that is not allowed in this brain!) No, this hesitation was something else.
Maybe I haven't mentioned this before, but I'm turning thirty this year. I say it a lot - "I'm turning thirty this year" so as not to allow myself to slip into denial (nor to let anyone off the hook for not knowing it's coming up) but also to prepare myself.
I feel sorry for 29 because I haven't recognized it at all. In fact, 29 should just be called "I'm going to be 30 next year" so you can just charge on forward in life and not feel like you have to cling to the twenties with any kind of desperation.
All that to say - while I'm on my way to the next decade in my life - I stared at the capris in my hand and felt like I might as well be twelve years old.
Turning thirty is just like being twelve again. Only this time, I've traded in my braces and acne for spanx and anti-aging cream. My hormones and body changes have been resurrected in the form of pre and post-pregnancy chaos. And even though I'm a mom, I refuse to resign myself to "mom clothes"...which is evidently defined as "dressing poorly in your thirties". And why is that? Can we please change this stereotype? Why do mom-jeans and mom-sweaters and mom-shoes all have to denote "she-let-herself-go" or "function over fashion". Do you really have to make me choose whether I want to look kinda-slutty or spinster-boring? Is there really no middle ground?
I don't know if capris are still in style or not. I don't know if I'm crazy for wanting a cute purse to cost $29.99 and still be able to hold everything from my lipstick to extra-just-in-case diapers without looking like I'm boarding a plane. I don't know if Tim Gunn would want to be my friend if he knew I changed into yoga pants every night as soon as I got home from work.
People, I just want to be cute and confident and comfortable and convenient. Is that too much to ask?
Still, as I look back at my super-awkward-twelve-year-old-self, I'm reminded to be grateful for one simple fact: I do not have to live through my teenage years again. Thank you, Lord. At least when I'm sporting my awkward-but-comfortable-capris I can walk my no-time-for-a-pedicure feet towards my did-I-stop-to-kiss-him-today husband and pick up my don't-put-that-in-your-mouth-again baby and go out to you-are-kidding-if-you-think-I'm-cooking-tonight-after-the-day-I've-had dinner.
Because, you know what? I'm turning thirty this year. So, who's gonna stop me?
It's time to celebrate the awkwardness, people.

Home, Home on the Range

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dear Kansas,
It's been nearly twelve years since we parted our ways. I know it seems like a century ago, and I haven't been in touch as much as I would have liked. This may surprise you, since we didn't part on the best of terms. I was sick and tired of you. Your vast, wide-open spaces kept even the closest neighbors miles away, and it frustrated my social nature. I was bored with your crops, your ditches, your sandy dirt roads. It took me many minutes and miles to reach the closest civilizations offering movies or malls or grocery stores. Your silence was deafening, forcing me to think about nothing else than my desire to see what else the world, I left you.
I came to the big city. In fact, I could not have picked a more densely populated area to discover. I can't say I've loved every minute of it, nor can I say I regret my move...but I certainly found out what I was missing: traffic, mostly. Not to say I haven't appreciated my time and opportunities in the booming metropolis that is Southern California. California has much to offer...but time or space is not one of them.
Kansas, I'm sorry. Turns out, I took you for granted. We certainly had our fond moments...I built several treehouses, I wrote poetry in your fields, I wandered your hills (did you know most people don't think you have any hills at all?) and even got baptized in one of your lakes. Perhaps it is pure nostalgia, certainly it is growth in maturity and as they say - absence, making my heart grow fonder for your land - where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play (by the way, where are said antelope?) Nevertheless, when I visit you now, I like you. Your open spaces now mock me, staring at me with luxurious breadth across the horizon, reminding me how precious of a resource having-an-arm's-length-between-buildings has become. And the miles needed to travel between your small towns can easily be calculated as minutes (10 miles = 10 minutes to get there!) something I would love to be able to accomplish amidst the traffic in the city. The silence in your heartland is something to be cherished as well. Your countrysides don't seem as boring to me as they once did...they are peaceful, serene, and lovingly predictable to watch. Your birds and wildlife are beautiful too - and as abundant as the stars overhead that I can actually see. (Did you have this many stars overhead when I was growing up?)
Don't change, Kansas. Don't try to become something you're not. You may not be coastal, but you will always offer oceans of wheat as you swirl waves of grain on your blustery days. You may not be mountainous, but you will always offer a view with your fiery sunsets or heat up the sky with flashes of lightening strikes on a stormy night. You are rich, you are comfortable, you are Kansas.
You are home.

Call Your Mother [Something Nice]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm excited to experience my very first for real Mother's Day this weekend! I say "for real" because last year I was also a mother - but this year, my baby is not growing inside my belly - she is here, kicking and screaming and jovial as can be! I can actually kiss her face and reciprocate all the smiles she gives me all day long. Yay for Mother's Day!

I have longed to be in the mom club for a long time! No longer will I feel the pressure of "When are you going to have a baby?" or the longing of "When will it be my turn, God?" (If you are in either of those categories I SO sympathize with you!)

Nope, now I have officially joined the club where I get to hear things like "Is she sleeping through the night?" and "Now, you'll learn what you put your own mother through." Haha. Just kidding. Now I get to hear, "Happy Mother's Day!" What a sweet sound to my ears!

Remember the days of picking out a corsage for your mother to wear on Sunday morning to church? We used to. Remember trying to make breakfast in bed for your mom, but all you knew how to make was toast? Those are the good old days! Mother's Day, like many other holidays, has continued to get increasingly commercialized. Now you see jewelry and card commercials, guilt-tripping you (ironic) into making sure you get in touch with one who birthed you, raised you, or at least helped you along in life in some way. (It's true - there is genuinely a "Like a Mother" category at Hallmark.)

I'll get to spend my first Mother's Day with my mother! We are flying to Kansas for the weekend! It's just a quick trip - just long enough to introduce Matilda to as many people as I can in the few days we are there...most importantly her great-grandparents! I'm so excited for them to finally get to meet her. I never knew my great-grandparents, so it will be a special time for the four generations to gather and rejoice in God's blessing on our family down through the years.

I'm also excited to show Matilda the family farm. I know, I know, she won't quite grasp where she is or what's happening - but we will have the pictures to show her, and hopefully it will be a place she will grow to love and know well as she gets older. The farm has been in our family for nearly 114 years and I can't wait to tell Matilda about her farming heritage. I think it's awesome that I can one day tell her overly exaggerated stories of getting up at the crack of dawn to drive the wheat truck for harvest (this is obviously untrue since the wheat is too moist to cut that early in the morning - see! I'm a real farm girl! I know stuff!) or how I learned to drive at the age of 13 since I got a farm permit at 14 (okay, that is actually true - scary!)

So...three clicks of my heels (I wish) and we'll be in Kansas! Every mother out there - celebrate! It's not every day you get a day all about yourself and you don't have to turn a year older!

Happy Mother's Day, moms!

Time Flies When You're Having Fun [Being a Mom]

Monday, May 3, 2010

My baby is now six months old. SIX MONTHS! Half a YEAR. I really have no comprehensible way to explain how this could possibly be true...but it is. I mean, I JUST had a baby. Seriously, at work there are still people I will meet and they will refer to me as "Oh, you're the one who just had a baby, right?" Right! At least, it seems like it is still news!
I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day who also had a baby about 5 months ago. We were comiserating about the "time flies" factor that a baby implements into your life and I liked her perspective.
She said, when her baby was first born and she would see a mom with a 6 or 8 or 9 month baby she would think to herself "Oh, ok, that mom has an older baby - she's a pro - she has it I'll know what I'm doing by then too!"
Now, when she sees a mom with a newborn, still so itty-bitty and sweet, she thinks "I hope this new mom doesn't look at me and think I'm a pro!"
Haha! So true!
I was one of those lucky ones who had a wonderfully uneventful and enjoyable pregnancy - so it seemed to go pretty quickly (sans the last 3 weeks which dragged on and on with painful anticipation!) The first month with Matilda was a whirlwind - she was BRAND NEW and I was still healing and reeling from the most traumatic surgery my body had ever experienced (whoa, they aren't kidding around when they hand you those pain killers!) Just a few short weeks after her birth there came Thanksgiving...then Christmas and New Years shortly followed and before I knew it my maternity leave was up and I was choking back tears as I started back at work.
That three months was the most magical three months of my life and I can't tell you how fast it went by - seriously, it felt like a matter of days. Now, three more months down the road...I am fully in the swing of balancing life as a "working mom" and have yet to master the routine of which days to get the laundry done, how to pack our lunches and get the dishes done before surrendering myself in front of the tv for the evening, let alone try and get Matilda into a sort of workable schedule. We do what we can - things eventually DO get done (mostly thanks to the patience and perseverance of my live-in, I mean, my husband) and the days go by (all to quickly) without too much of a mess left in the wake (key words here being "too much").
All that to say, while I have absolutely cherished each and every day as a mother - how do I get time to slow down for me? It is just going by too fast! This IS what everyone tells you will happen. I can't tell you how many times parents told me to "enjoy every minute - it goes by fast" - indeed, that is a remarkable understatement. It also saddens me to hear parents say "Gosh, I can't even remember my daughter/son being that small, those memories are just a blur!"
Oh no! Is that true - do you really forget this time in life?
How do I lock away these tiny moments in my head for good? I will look down at Matilda and study her little face, her little idiosyncracies, trying to store them in the vault of my mind forever.
"Don't forget the way she smirks at you in the morning! Don't forget how she snorts when she laughs! Don't forget how she gazes up at you with utter contentment when she's nursing!" It nearly gets me teary just thinking about those precious memories slipping away.
It also makes me wonder what beautiful memories have already slipped through the cracks in my head. It's so strange to me how we can't force ourselves to remember (or unremember for that matter) certain things in our life. I'll definitely be asking God about that when I get to heaven. Until then, I'll have to settle for photos and video to do the remembering for me. I'll have to look back on this blog years from now and get out the tissues as I reminisce.
All I can do is continue to be thankful for each minute as it ticks by...counting the moments (the blessings) with my sweet Matilda as she grows and changes right before my eyes.
Some people don't believe in time travel. I say, those people must not have children.
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