I'm laughing at how long it's been since I've posted an update here. What can I say? It's the old parenting cliché of "too much to do, too little time," and it's totally accurate. The monthly updates are just too hard to keep up with because Z is becoming hard to keep up with. This kid, you guys...wow. It seems like he went from pet rock baby to crawling faster than the speed of light just overnight. Obviously that's not how it happened, but with everything going on in life lately, that's how it seems.
As we approach his FIRST BIRTHDAY, though...
I wanted to give an update on my life–on me. Naturally there will be a ONE YEAR OMG post about Z some time in the next 10 days, but I'll dedicate this post to what you've missed (though you probably haven't actually missed them...) in my Mind and Body Update posts over the last seven months.
How appropriate that I am posting this one year to the day from my due date, which we all now know was a giant joke! Here's a flashback:
I went ahead and got the Mom Chop back in February. Best decision ever. I haven't regretted it once.
As for my weight, well....I pretty much haven't changed at all since I lost most of the weight right after Z was born. Depending on my lifestyle and my level of activity, I'll fluctuate about 5lbs up or down, but there has been NO serious effort on my part to change that. I haven't minded at all, actually. I just don't care as much. I mean, I care about my health, obviously, and I want to be on this Earth for a long, long time. But I haven't cared in the vanity sense. I'm not unhappy with how I look. But I'm not all that thrilled about it either, all the time. I'm such a strange size right now, and I'm carrying all the weight in awkward places.
On Mother's Day weekend, I did the Run Like a Mother 5k race in Frisco with my friend Amanda. We took it at our own pace. Jogged some, walked some, but mostly spent much-needed time and fellowship together while our gaggle of boys waited for us at the finish line. We really had NO time to train, but it was good to get outside and be together, so we're hoping to train more seriously and do something fun, like a Color Run, together this fall.
I did my first full-length production since September of 2012 (more on that later) and I was slightly terrified of how I'd look in the photos (my husband's camera, my own selfie abilities, and being seen through the lens of those who love me is one thing...a professional photographer is a different thing alllllltogether) -- same thing with our family portraits we just had done. But again -- I didn't hate it. My body confidence is not even a Thing right now, which is completely foreign to me. And also very refreshing. I've just been too preoccupied with other things.
Work is work. A lot of changes have happened lately that have me reevaluating my short- and long-term career goals, and how I feel about being a working mother has been clouded by some of these events. Some days I want to just walk out and struggle a little more financially so I can stay home with my son, who is reaching more and more milestones every single day. Other days I feel like I could run the country, knowing and trusting that my son is being watched by caregivers who truly love him like a relative would.
As I mentioned above, I returned to the stage for the first time in a year and a half as the Adult Women in Spring Awakening, which was probably the most challenging acting role I've ever done. I had to play 5 very different characters, sometimes having only enough time to switch characters as it took for me to walk across the stage.
I have mixed feelings about this experience. On one hand, it completely changed how I viewed myself as an actress, which was an amazing feeling. I always threw away my acting abilities with comments such as "Oh, really I'm more of a singer..." or "I think I'm a better director than actor...I know how to coach someone into finding a character, but I don't feel like I do that well myself." But this show changed that, and I'm grateful for that. On the other hand, personally it was a struggle. I knew that my first full production process as a mother was going to be difficult, but I didn't fully realize just how hard parts of it would be. How the new, changed me would handle it. In some areas, I succeeded. In others, I failed. I don't want to go into details, but I feel very sad when I think about this production because some relationships I had were severely damaged and the potential for others to form was snuffed out before they even started. No matter what, though, I can use the experience as a tool to grow and change for the next time.
I'm finding new and exciting ways to be involved in my community that don't involve acting in a production.
For one, I'm now a member of a company I've always loved and have even performed with once!
We just chose productions for the company's 7th season and there's just a lot of cool stuff happening with Sundown (click here to keep up with us on behind-the-scenes stuff). Also, Z is a big fan:
I participated in my third Method and Madness Playwriting Competition and Festival just last month. As third-time director and first-time co-chair of the planning committee, I was a very, very busy girl. But it was a success, and I've officially been handed the reins to chair the committee for the next festival.
FINALLY, I was selected to direct for the DCT Black Box season in 2015, and I'll be directing one of my very favorite plays.
It's going to be an exciting 2014/15 theatre season for me, and I look forward to including my family and my son when and wherever possible.
Me, Myself, I
In this past almost-12 months, I have gone through a lot. Several crises of identity. Postpartum anxiety. Fear. Joy. Anxiety. Bliss. Growth. Exhaustion. Exhilaration.
Just like Z is hitting developmental milestones, so am I. So is my husband. We don't stop growing once we get all our teeth or once we can walk/run/go to school. We're changing; we're evolving and adapting and hitting our own milestones. This isn't exclusive to parents, either. I hit a moment of clarity the day my wonderful therapist (words I never thought I'd say) reminded me that adults still hit developmental milestones. They just aren't as concrete or as clearly defined.
The day you realize you don't have to say every single thing in your head.
The day you realize you're not immortal or invincible.
The day you see your parents in a whole new light.
The day you realize you can take control and charge in your own life.
The day you realize that you choose your reactions to your feelings.
I haven't hit all of those yet, and I'm on the journey still to others. But the biggest lesson I have learned in the past twelve months actually came from my child:
Be joyful. Enjoy every new thing. Delight in small things. See something for the first time all over again.
Recently, I was walking across campus, taking a much needed break from my desk. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and I had music in my ears. A beautiful gust of wind blew my hair back just as the song in my head reached a glorious chord, and I threw my arms out and laughed at the pure joy of it. That one moment of delight got me through the remaining hours until I picked up my son from daycare.
He has taught me -- us -- so much. I am changed but, like him, I am not done changing.