From start to finish this year was motherhood. I gave birth exactly one month to the day after my 29th birthday. It feels right that the last year of my twenties was spent waddling through the very end of my first pregnancy, snuggling my way through the newborn phase and learning big lessons about sacrifice, grace and survival. I imagine it’s all been easing me (and at times catapulting me) into what’s ahead.

My twenties were a glorious journey of self discovery ripe with freedom, adventure and fluid identity. I am thankful for the hard lessons I’ve learned about who I really am and what feels purposeful to me day in and day out. I have carried that knowledge with me through this last year and it’s served me well in times of uncertainty and the growing pains of becoming a Mama. Nothing in my life has made me feel more like an adult than the transition into parenthood so it’s fitting that I say hello to a new decade as I’m a couple pages into this next chapter. 

Having a baby seems to complicate a lot of things but in it’s complexity it also simplifies. It has quickly cut to my core and asked hard but straightforward questions about who I aspire to be. The answers to which I get to explore in my thirties… my Mama years. I can’t begin to imagine what a love-filled but MESSY path I will walk. It’s a true goodbye to a youthfulness that seems like a luxury now.  I thought I would want to cling to the flippancy but I find myself ready for things to look different. Ready to leave behind the selfishness and insecurity of young adulthood.

While I still do have a bit of hestitation about this milestone birthday and where I thought I’d be at this point in my life, I’ve realized that expectations are the death of happiness. God has hugely humbled me as much of this past year has turned out differently than I ever could have planned. If I had planned it I would have made things easy. I would have made things pinterest-perfect. I would thrive and succeed and ooze perfection. And I would gain nothing from it. What a pointless existence I would create for myself. I ache for things to be convenient and to walk the path of least resistance. But without weakness, without struggle, without error, what do I have? I would have no compassion, no grace and nothing to overcome.

Instead, this year I have learned to forgive myself and in doing so been able to more easily extend grace to others. I have learned over and over that I am not in control but that the power of prayer is very real. I have felt transformed by the people in my life who have loved me well throughout this transition, proving over and over again that unconditional love is our greatest power.

I’ve learned a lot throughout my twenties but never more than in this final year. The same old things became new through Evie’s eyes. She’s so amazing and she adores me. She looks at me like I’m the greatest thing on earth and there’s healing in that. It’s gold to be loved purely like that. It’s a commitment and a sacrifice and it takes, but it rewards in ways that change perspective and push you to evolve. It has been so GOOD for me to learn that level of selflessness.

It is a slow walk toward who I hope to be. So many mistakes, disappointments. However, I feel like I’m learning to accept the tough parts. I will continue to strive and build but I will fail, I will have valleys and my greatest intention going forward is to make it ALL useful. The perfectionist in me wants to erase hardship but I hope instead I can become even more honest as the years go on about what life continues to teach me. Cheers to a fresh decade of great joy, much laughter and A LOT of oopsies.