"I have had my head down, barreling a thousand miles an hour, wearing the flesh of each day down to the bone, pointed down one road toward a single goal."
In NY, the seasons have changed. Everyone is writing about how fall is a reminder of how beautiful it can be to let things go. How shedding your weight and letting a part of you go doesn't mean an end, but a different phase of life. But when left-neglected, you don't see it as clearly. You don't see the entire picture and you roll your eyes at people stopping to take it all in. Until you too enter this phase, until you too start to take in all that is happening and start to put the full picture together. As a family, we are all entering this new phase and it is with great beauty that we are stipping what has always been there. All that we have ever ever known. All that we have ever shared, all of it is about to change and be stripped away.
And the truth is, although I am tired and done, I really do love my life. I love my current life. I love what I have done, what I have been able to do, what I have been given the opportunity to do. I really do love the work I have been doing. I really do love the mission I was working for. I really do love my office and the environment. I have loved the pace. I have loved the commitment, my commitment. I love big ideas and the capacity. I have loved the amount I have had to dig down. I have loved those that I have met, those that get it, those that understand why. I was good at it, I was comfortable there, and I will miss this. I will miss this part of me, this work. I will miss this life.
"I walk down the long hallway, slower than I ever have, and feel like I've come home. The predictable order of offices as I pass by, the framed aerial photographs of major world cities on the walls, the lighting, the carpeting, all feel inviting and comfortable in their familiarity."
Not only am I scared of what this will all mean for us and our future, but I am also scared of what this will all mean to me. To who I am. To who I want to become, to what I stand for. To what I now believe in. To letting go and finding beauty. Because when left neglected, I didn't see things so fully. I didn't see me fully. It was as if I was seeing just half of the full picture. And now I have to find myself in you and the life we can create without all of this. All of this busy. Time-consuming busy. Busy to be busy kind of busy. Who will I now be without all of this weighing me down? What kind of mother will that make me? What kind of life will we now lead? What will we do and what will it mean for us from this day on? How much of my old life will I miss? How much will I rely on my old ways and keep leaning into them but it feels so comforting to live there? So familiar, so logical and productive.
"I miss my life here - the fast pace, the high intensity, contributing to something important...being effective."
But, I broke up with myself once before. I faced a fear that was bigger and more of a commitment than I have ever in my life made. I became your mom. And I had to change. I had to become something brand new. And for a few years, I had to get lost in the fog of you until I came out the other side...me but different. I'm still in here though. I'm just different and different things are important to me now. But my foundation, my me-ness is still right there. It's time to once again be lost but found in a new me, a new us, a new life, a new phase.
It's time to linger, to really really be there for you. To really find new joy. To find new meaning, new purpose. "You're still a good person, even if you don't run a life-changing agency, you're still a good person." But it's time to find out what good I can continue to bring to this world. It's time to find out what being committed to this new life means for me.
"For the first time in almost a decade, I stopped barreling a thousand miles an hour down that road. Everything stopped. And although much of the past four months have been a painful and terrifying experience, it has given me a chance to lift my head up and have a look around."
And when I looked up, I saw all of you. I saw a little girl reaching for me and wanting to be close. I saw an active boy that wants to play and then play some more. I saw a smiling puppy who loves to cuddle and run and feel loved. I saw a husband that doesn't need my stress, doesn't need my tension, just needs to be reminded of how hard we are all trying and how good it feels to be together. I saw a family we created. One I most likely have left neglected, one I didn't see as clearly as I needed to. One I didn't smile at as much I should have. I didn't see the full picture yet, I didn't stop to see how it was all changing.
So last night, you slept in my bed, a little scared from a bad dream. I looked at your long lashes and eyes as big as dad's. I saw my mouth, I saw you calm and I felt your breathing. No matter how old you both get, there is something so soothing, calming and loving about watching your children sleep. And I was overwhelmed by the gratitude for the life we picked.
"And I'm starting to wonder. What else is there? Maybe success can be something else, and maybe there's another way to get there. Maybe there's a different road for me with a more reasonable speed limit. Whether it's because I can't, I'm too afraid, something inside me has changed and wants something different, or a complex blend of all three. I can't say but I don't want to go back. I don't want to go back to that life. The same intuition that led me to you, is leading me somewhere else. And I trust it. I'm not going back."
I said a quiet prayer of thank you and a louder apology. In these years of little, there were moments I almost lost all of this. There were moments of busy that could have made us a statistic. There are countless times I have been careless with the responsibility I have in your safety and protection...too busy to do one thing at a time. So I said I was sorry for being so rushed. I said I was sorry for not taking this as seriously as I should and taking stupid parts too seriously. I said sorry to you feeling like you were left neglected. I said sorry to myself for being left neglected. I said thank you for babies I was so scared to have. I said thank you for a husband that believed we should. I said thank you for a husband that made me feel that I could with him leading this part. I said thank you for a family that never gives up and always comes back to us. I said thank you for Cole's energy and heart and even his ability to cry as easily as he does. I said thank you for Anna's mind, how deliberate she is, and even her ability to be stubborn.
I am going to trust my instinct on this new life in front of us and I am not going back. I won't leave us neglected.