The red bows and sparkling trinkets are losing their magical appeal and starting to feel a bit more like clutter as a motivation to “refresh” in any possible way fills the air. It is hard to deny the energy that comes with welcoming in a new year. One of my favorite parts of this time of year is looking back on the last 365 days and reminiscing on what was said and done, the growth that’s occurred, and the changes we now face as we transition into the next season.
Looking back on my year, one undeniable observation I made was that I didn’t travel far. Almost every photo in my camera roll that was taken in the last year was taken in and around my home or within a few miles of it. I can’t say I’m surprised by this observation, seeing as how I’m a stay-at-home mom who also happens to work from home.
I have to say, I find it amazing how you can barely leave your home for an entire year, yet feel like you’ve accomplished so much.
Our year consisted of so much growth. Growth is clearly evident as I look at my daughter, realizing that we started this year with her still in her baby days, just learning to speak, still smearing food all over her face when she eats, and still breastfeeding. Now we transition into 2022 with a little girl who is fully embracing her toddler years, speaking full sentences, eating with utensils (when she wants to), and conversing with us about her new observations every day. It is really magical, watching a little person grow up and getting to be on the frontlines of every little change and transition.
I’ve grown immensely in my role as a mom this year. I’ve faced some of most serious challenges yet as a parent and I’ve come out of them stronger than ever. When I see photos of myself at the start of this year, although I see a wise woman, I know she was still so oblivious to the bumpy road that lied ahead. I think looking back and seeing a naïve version of yourself isn’t exactly a bad thing. It represents knowledge gained.
When this year started, I had no idea that it would show me just how precious this life truly is. I had no idea that right at about the halfway point of 2021, I’d see my closest person brush so closely with death, only to come right back in a snap. I know that this was God speaking to me. After facing this challenge, I experienced a renewed sense of gratitude that I’d never felt before and I know it was so entirely meant.
In the second half of this year, I’ve felt more grounded, present, and content than I think I ever have in my life. Which says a lot, given that I’ve been pregnant this whole time and my last pregnancy lead me to feel the complete opposite.
Thinking back on my camera roll and my lack of travel far beyond my little street, I can’t help but feel an intense sense of gratitude. This is because there was once a time in my life when I thought I needed all of these external things and experiences in order to matter, in order to be worthy.
Parenting has shown be how backwards this view really is. Don’t get me wrong, things and experiences are great and all, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t look forward to a time in my life when travelling regularly is back on the agenda. However, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to show up exactly as you are and to just be where you are and to feel happy.
I think a lot of people make the mistake of rushing off to the next thing (I know I’ve definitely struggled with this) but until you can feel content as you are, no external change will bring you the satisfaction you’re hoping for. It’s the age-old dilemma of chasing after a dream in which you never reach.
I could list my accomplishments of the year (trust me, there have been plenty). But I think the greatest achievement of 2021 for me is the feeling of presence and contentment I’m experiencing right now. I’ve put in plenty of work over this last year and although I know I’m nowhere near finished, I’m incredibly proud of where it’s led me.
I’m walking into 2022 only days (or weeks) away from meeting my second child, my son. God has been so good to me this year, through giving us a new life, through keeping us safe and healthy, but most importantly through the pain and the challenges that we’ve faced and grown from. The tough stuff is an absolute requirement and for that, I am so endlessly grateful.
Happy New Year, friends.