I graduated from college 5 years ago. I talk a lot about all the stuff I did before I graduated from college and took up my full-time job called motherhood. I talk about the plays I was in, the shows I got paid to perform in, the travels, the food, the adventures, and how my world seemed so wide back then.
Somehow, when my days are filled with mopping up baby vomit and coaching my 5yo to sound out new words, the world seems small. The walls of my home are comfortable, but I feel as though a part of me is forgotten. My dusty memories of a cooler me sit on the shelves in my mind, reminding me of who I used to be.
I sometimes look at old pictures and wonder what Past Me would think of my present. A person can only do so much at one time, and I’ve let a lot of favorite things go to make room for the way I choose to use my time these days. I used to be quite the singer, you know. My heart twinges with regret every time my voice cracks these days, my instrument is sadly lacking in practice. And sometimes that makes me sad.
When a woman becomes a mother, it sometimes feels as though the title swallows up the person.
Can I brag for a minute? Well, not brag, but… Can I tell you what I’ve been up to for the past 5 years? Because I haven’t been volunteering in foreign countries or singing in front of large audiences or writing kick-a papers that make my professors proud.
So here’s a nifty list of a few things I’ve done in the last 5 years which make me happy:
- I’ve managed to keep not one, but two small children alive. This accomplishment, alone, deserves a gold medal, a million dollars, and a Nobel prize.
- I’ve written 5 novels (sort of)*.
- I’ve published 2 short stories.
- I learned how to sew, and have made 3 Elf costumes, 4 Austen-era dresses (complete with petticoats and a walking jacket!), 1 Belle ballgown, 1 Cinderella ballgown, 1 Prince Charming uniform, 5 Biblical costumes (technically Nephite, but they work for Nativity purposes, too), 1 T.A.R.D.I.S. dress (it was epic), a River Song cosplay outfit, a slew of dresses for my daughters, a handful of dresses for myself, a couple of blouses and skirts for myself, and stockings and curtains and a bunch of other things, too. I also made a king-sized t-shirt quilt documenting the first 25 years of my life, which is pretty cool.
- I learned to crochet, and I’m not even going to start listing all the beautiful things I’ve made. It’s a lot.
- I’ve packed up my family and moved us 5 times, and 3 of those were cross-country moves. (This deserves at least another million dollars)
- I’ve made the most wonderful friends, and learned a lot about how to nurture adult relationships, and how important it is for me to reach out in love and yes, in need sometimes.
- I’ve struggled with some serious health issues which have done their best to bring me down time and time and time again. My body doesn’t handle mortality well. My spirit has struggled, but I’ve shown myself I’m stronger than I think, and that’s pretty cool.
- I’ve gotten pretty good at meal planning and putting together tasty, nutritious meals for my family. We’re turning into foodies, and it’s so fun.
- I’ve read a gazillion books. That’s only slightly hyperbole.
- And as of this week, I’ve learned how to set up a website 😉
All in all, I’m pleased with myself and how far I’ve come. I’m excited to see what the next 5 years have in store.
*about those 5 novels: Technically, 3 of them have carried the same title and core cast, though each were fundamentally different books. Like, not even remotely the same story. And each of those 3 versions have gone through countless drafts, so…they count as separate novels, right?