Buckle your seatbelts. I’m about to get personal.
This weekend was heavy. It was full of disappointment and defeat. I just felt defeated. Like the throw in the towel, I give up, I quit, I’m taking my ball and going home kind of defeat.
This year marks the 9th anniversary of my mama’s battle with cancer. Cancer won. She lost. She never saw me in my wedding dress. She never saw my first ultrasound. She never met my baby. She never saw my first home. She missed the day I gave birth. She missed my son’s baptism. She wasn’t here to help me pick paint colors for my home or to watch the 4th of July parade from my porch. She didn’t attend my bridal shower or my baby shower. She didn’t help decorate the nursery. She’s missed a lot.
Every year since her passing, I have joined forces with my family and friends and did an annual charity walk in her memory. It started small. Just the family. We paid our $25, put on our sneakers and spent the morning together walking. With each passing year, we grew a little. Not much mind you but just enough. We formed a team. We invited friends to join us. We printed up team shirts. We fundraised. We campaigned. We made money. We put on our sneakers. We walked. Every year has not been a rousing success but every year we tried. Every year, we walked together.
This year was different. This year, I committed to something that conflicted with the walk. This year, I didn’t form a team. This year, I couldn’t form a team. This year, I was busy with a high spirited 9 month old who needed my attention. He comes first. He comes before everything else. I didn’t know if I would be able to do the walk because of this commitment I had made elsewhere. I passed the torch on to someone else to form a team. Anyone really. There were no takers. No one formed a team. No one registered to walk except two friends. Not even my family registered to walk. How sad is that? Ultimately, my commitment fell through and I was able to walk. I had no team. I missed registration. I showed up the day of the walk to pay my registration fee and walk. Only a few of my family came. Most did not.
Suddenly, it was no longer a day of celebrating my mama’s memory. Instead, it suddenly felt like a day heavy with defeat and disappointment as I quietly celebrated the life and spirit of this woman I called my mother. I looked at my own child and prayed that one day he would not become too busy to celebrate my life when I was no longer earthside.
This feeling of defeat and disappointment has been a lingering theme in my life for weeks, maybe even months. There has been a huge learning curve to parenting and adjusting to the new dynamic in the household. People say having a baby changes everything. It certainly does but I don’t think it’s possible to grasp what that really means until you actually have a baby. So here I am with baby in tow adjusting to this new life without any guidance. I won’t lie. It’s hard. There have been days riddled with the feeling of defeat and disappointment as no one I talked to could relate to the sheer exhaustion I sometimes felt or the moments of crying from utter exhaustion. Okay, I just lied. There were a few people that related but there were more people that didn’t relate than did. There were a few weeks were I actually began to think I was suffering from post partum depression until I realized I was just tired. Really tired. Physically and emotionally exhausted from meeting the needs of my baby but also feeling the need to defend myself and my choices. I don’t feel like explaining for the 90th time that my kid is a baby and babies don’t know how to just fall asleep on their own. Or that my kid is breastfed and no, I can’t just put him in his crib with a bottle at night. Or that yes, I did choose to stay at home and not return to work. And no, we don’t have money to go to A, B or C or buy X, Y or Z. Or yes, we are fine not having the funds to whatever it is that you think we should be doing or buying, etc. The funny part is though that normally I don’t care what people say or think about me. Adjusting to parenting changed all that though. It was so foreign to me (still is). There were times I was full of self doubt. I needed guidance and some gentle reassurance but it was hard to find. Really hard to find. I had to look really hard and couldn’t always find it.
Then suddenly this weekend it dawned on me that I needed to change my mind to change my life. I already know this. I spent a decade telling other people this and yet somehow didn’t tell myself this. What I was doing in my life wasn’t working for me, isn’t working for me. I am exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I should be doing. It’s time for a change. Defeat and disappointment are so heavy. I have this beautiful family and this beautiful life that I should be celebrating every day.
I changed my mind this weekend. I decided to celebrate my life. I decided to celebrate my mama’s life. Essentially it all comes full circle. I said goodbye to heavy feelings of disappointment and defeat and I welcomed in the feelings of love, joy and gratitude. I am celebrating the simplicity of my life and learning to appreciate the beauty of my life.