Photos from different stages in my twenties.
Sometimes I like to go back to the blog I wrote before I had children, Stay Forever Sunday and read through the archives. I started it at the beginning of a beautiful time in my life. Newly married, living in the city of my dreams. Very quickly, we integrated ourselves with our new neighborhood and the neighbors. We made friends and were absolutely intoxicated by the possibilities every time we stepped out our front door.
I started Dear Baby a year into our life in San Francisco. It was meant to be a side project. A place to put down all the thoughts in my head about my pregnancy and becoming a mom. For a long time, I wrote on both blogs about different things. But eventually, I felt like I was spreading my thoughts too thin. My head was consumed with the new feelings and experiences I was living as a mother. Everly & Arlo became the apex of my thoughts and Dear Baby was a safe place for me to share them. Little by little, the words I shared on Stay Forever Sunday fell to the wayside.
In so many ways, the transition that has occurred on my blogs is a direct reflection of my growth and change as a woman. Sometimes I wonder if Stay Forever Sunday grew into Dear Baby or if she was replaced by her. I make no excuses for being so caught up in my role as mother. It is my favorite thing I’ve ever done. I think about my kids and talk about my kids and most of my world revolves around my kids. This is where my head is and I embrace it.
Every few months, I get an email in my inbox regarding Stay Forever Sunday. “Do you still write here?” “I miss your posts and wish you’d write more.” Sometimes I feel conflicted that I have a hard time writing about anything relevant outside of my family life.
In my twenties, the topics that consumed my writing included: living with my best friends, my cat, falling in love, planning a wedding, moving to San Francisco, my dogs, starting a life as a married woman, lemon trees, vintage dresses, and being pregnant. I have talked on end about all of these topics when they were the most significant to my life experience at that time. Currently, my topics of interest include potty training and breastfeeding, ways to spark my children’s creativity, healthy meals, and family travel. My pursuits at the moment are all kid related. My passion is motherhood, and so that’s what I write about. and tweet about. and Instagram about… a lot.
An old college fling found me on Instagram recently. We lost touch, as people often do and he left a comment on one of my photos. “Wow, you have two kids now?” I wondered for a second, as he scrolled through the dozens and dozens of photos of my little ones if he recognized any spark of the girl he used to ride around with in his jeep, obscure indie music blaring.
Where is the Melissa of my early twenties who changed her college major 4 times and went out dancing every weekend? The Melissa of my mid twenties who was up for anything, adaptable and optimistic, and excited to start a new career and become a wife? Would people that knew me then, recognize me now? Does she still exist?
I know the answer is that she does. She is here. In the scar on my knee from climbing in my bedroom window after I got locked out at 2am. She is here in the laugh lines that seem be taking up permanent residency on my face these days. She is here in the knowing look Natasha and I give each other when we imagine what our own daughters are going to dish out when it’s their turn to be 23. She is here in the giggly girl I turn into after two glasses of red wine. She is here in a career I’ve built that supports a family of four. She is here in a loving marriage that I’ve spent the last five years growing with Brent. She is here in some of my favorite memories and my dreams for the future and undoubtedly, she is responsible for the adventure seeking nature that grows within Everly.
It’s no secret that I really love being a mom. This entire blog is dedicated to the experience. I am proud of all the ways it has forced me outside of my comfort zone. The ways it has taught me love, patience, bravery, and creativity on a level I could have never imagined. I don’t get a lot of time to myself these days. There are few hours to put towards those passions and individual experience that do not involve my family and I am more inflexible than I have ever been in my life. All of these things make up my reality now and it is reflected over and over again in what I share.
I am supremely aware that I have a finite amount of time while my children are tiny. Their future friends and partners and life experiences are all waiting for a share of their attention. They need so much from me right now but the day will come when I find myself again with time to spare, side projects to start and new passions to explore. Until then, I’m throwing everything I’ve got at this. I’m soaking up this time to exist as the center of their worlds. I haven’t lost myself completely to motherhood, but I sure as hell am enjoying being consumed with it.
When this small window of time draws to a close and my growing children are a blur through my door and out it again, I will call upon the girl of my twenties, the woman of my thirties and the self I haven’t even become yet to widen my focus. It is a strange thing to grow up. To watch as the responsibilities compound and the free time diminishes. To exist at an age where you are every bit an adult but so much of you still feels like you are seventeen and clueless. I am both contradiction and conviction, lost and purposeful… but I am trying to live each phase of my life in a way that feels right to me.
Who I was. Who I am. Who I will be.
As the Chinese proverb goes “The journey is the reward”