- all the hours bored in grade school.
- all the blissful childhood summers.
|"Up North" Wisconsin - my favorite childhood memories.|
- all the countless evenings spent in my childhood home, hanging out, safe and happy.
|Family. *So* lucky.|
- all the exams stressed over and all-nighters pulled.
|8th grade - Prosecutor.|
- the trips with dad to visit college campuses.
- the wondering and dreaming about college.
|If only I could dive into this picture and be there all over again...|
- college: the campus, the classes, the professors, the friends, the boyfriend, the magic.
|- Freshman year, Ellingson Hall. Best EVER.|
- the "big trip" to study abroad for a year and prove my independence.
- the post-college year living with friends and planning a wedding.
- the wedding!
|The one thing from St. Olaf I took with me forevermore...|
Five years of dating and neither of us had a clue the ways in which we'd later be tested.
I'm thankful for every bit of our foundation. We needed all of it.
- law school: stress, excitement, boredom, and a lot of cafe-studying. The thrill of being one of the top 4 finalists in Honors Moot Court and going to regionals.
|All women our year!!|
- the lawyer years: stress, excitement, boredom, and wanting to be a mom. A few big victories (a settlement and a suprising win on a federal court motion) I'll never forget. Shock at some of the depravity in the non-academic world.
- the big move to Boston...
- finally pregnant...
- finally a baby...
- the baby days... the stroller walks to cafes and parks, messy feedings, cherished nap times.
- the "difficult phase" ... wondering if my son would ever be well-behaved.
- the baby girl.
- the relief, amazement, and euphoria: They get along!
- more relief, amazement, and euphoria: He's a total sweetheart!
- "in just two more years, she'll be the age he is now, and it'll be a little easier..."
- "someday we'll have a nicer place..."
I feel like my entire life has been building up to where I am right now, because this was my dream. Not the grandest dream, but definitely what I wanted out of life. What I most wanted was to be happily married and raising kids - not babies even, but the kid stage. I wanted to repeat my own childhood; I wanted to give my children what I'd been given and to relive childhood with them. And I wanted this more than I wanted to live in France for a year and become fluent... more than I wanted to go to law school... more than I would have wanted to win the lottery - for real! And the crazy, cool, terrifying, and exhilarating thing is that I'm here. This is it! I can look into the face of my daughter, that is what her face looks like, it's her! I can marvel at how sweet my son is, blown away every day that a spirit so good was somehow created by our bodies. I can actually decorate cookies with them and it's not a disaster, and read books with them that I enjoy, and answer interesting questions about life. I get a break when they're at school and then I enjoy them all the more when they come back to me (for the first five minutes, especially... haha). This is it! I'm here!!!
But the here is bittersweet. It took long enough to get to this pinnacle of life that the enjoyment is tinged with the knowledge that
- there are only a few years of this bliss before they're teenagers... I enjoyed my teenage years with my family too, but those little old ladies at the grocery store are right, the kid days go by so fast. And then they're gone. Just a few more years... after all those other years. A lifetime of waiting... a blink... gone.
- real struggles await my children.
- heartaches and pain await them.
- tragedy may well await them. This thought is ever-present when one's spouse is an oncologist.
- my health will fade.
- my parents will pass on.
- and when those things happen, this "pinnacle" of life will seem like the blink of an eye ... the big goal is just a blip. The best of the best is transient and fragile.