Resolutions are common in January as many try to improve some aspect of their life. Since my birthday is in January, for me, this time of year is one of reflections as well as resolutions. I will turn thirty-nine this month and today I look back on the last ten years as the most meaningful and demanding decade.
At twenty-nine I was a new mother to my two month old son, struggling to care for this helpless, tiny human while grappling with sleepless nights and showerless days. He is now the oldest of our four kids. My thirties were centered on motherhood and school, juggling my children’s needs with my own. At thirty-one, while pregnant with my second child, my husband and I moved to my hometown of Las Vegas so I could begin my coursework for a Masters in political science. Nearly four years later, I walked across the stage to accept my degree while pregnant with our fourth child. It was the most challenging and most rewarding time of my life. Reading assignments and essays were stacked alongside bottles and pacifiers at my study table. I discreetly pumped milk in the privacy of my car in the university parking lot before class. I successfully defended my thesis two weeks after giving birth to our third child. This arduous and exhausting chapter of my life would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my mom and husband. My mom cooked meals and watched our kids when I attended classes and studied. My husband became my strongest advocate by offering constant emotional support while simultaneously starting up his solo medical practice from the ground up.
My journey of motherhood and school was not the most conventional one. There were days, weeks, and occasionally semesters when I questioned my sanity for attempting both at the same time, wondering if I was purposely torturing myself by taking on too much and doubting my ability to finish. I look back on these last ten years, grateful to God for giving me the support of my family, the strength to persevere, and the blessings of four little ones.
Crossing the stage on graduation day and accepting my degree marked the end of my school career, while my ten year journey into motherhood is still in its infancy. I try look ahead to what the next ten years hold for our family. Our ten year old son, however, has more pressing concerns. He is spearheading the campaign to add a dog to our family. My son’s engaging and tenacious personality shines as he tackles this issue and it reminds me to live in the moment. So, in 2014 I resolve to be more present in my kids lives….and maybe agree to a dog.