Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Milestones and Miracles

I subscribe to the magazine Real Simple. I love it! It is one of my guilty pleasures that my husband so graciously allows me to have. In one of the recent magazines, they were announcing there second annual life lesson writing contest. You could enter an essay about when you realized that you had grown up and have a chance to win multiple prizes, one of which was two round trip tickets to NYC and 3,000 dollars! I decided that I could do this. Then I thought..."but I don't feel grown up yet." Then I realized that yes, I was grown up and I knew when I had reached that point. I would like to share with you my essay about Milestones and Miracles in my life.

Milestones and Miracles

“I won’t grow up, I grow up, I don’t want to go to school, just to learn to be a parrot, and recite a silly rule” rings in my ears as I remember dancing around cleaning house with my siblings, listening to the soundtrack of Peter Pan. I grew up in a little three bedroom house with seven siblings. I am the third oldest, which gave me two older sisters to help take care of me and also five younger siblings for whom at times I was responsible. Our parents did an excellent job of dividing household chores and tasks among the eight of us.  Along with that they instilled in us the importance of self-governance and a solid work ethic so that we would carry out our responsibilities without being asked over and over.  Thankfully my parents also encouraged us to be kids - to play make believe and giggle to our hearts content. Today all of us sit around reminiscing and laugh at the many memories we made together in our younger days.

For years my dad has taught in public schools, but ironically my parents chose to home school to ensure that they passed their Biblical world view on to us. Along with all the standard academia, we were taught character and how to live in harmony with one another. Looking back it seems that the things we were taught then aren’t normally learned until later in life. 

It seems that life sets milestones before you whether or not you are ready.  Regardless of my state of readiness, these milestones always have a way of growing me up in one way or another.  Milestone number one: my oldest sister got married.  This was the first major family change.  As Megan left our home to be with Chris, we all had to grow up a little. Out of all the siblings, Megan knew me the best. Now, I was forced to stand on my own more and begin to establish my own identity. Chores and responsibilities were shuffled around as we all had to fill the gap Megan left.  In our army of siblings, I was then promoted to “second in command.”

Upon graduating from high school, I found abilities in myself that I never knew I had. I discovered Kindermusik (©), and took the training to become a certified educator. This was a springboard into teaching private piano lessons, which I have done now for the past seven years.  Through these experiences, I learned so many things about myself. I learned how to work with other people (other than my huge family), and how to keep order and set guidelines for my students. I also gained a greater appreciation for my family. They were always there to offer advice and a listening ear.

During the summer of 2004 my family bought some land thirty miles away from town as I knew it.  After twenty years of living in the city, county life and all the bugs and dirt, proved to be a difficult transition for me. Looking back, I wish that I had rejoiced more in this step towards my parents’ dream and pouted less about what I didn’t like. Life was now busier. Going to work in the morning meant packing for the entire day and coordinating my schedule with the needs of my other siblings. I soon found myself completely discontented and longing to get out of the house, instead of doing my part to bring my family closer together. It was during this period of my life where I began to understand what contentment really meant.

But living so far away from everything, or so it seemed, didn’t keep me from meeting the man of my dreams. The wedding day came, which would be the next big milestone in my life. After almost two years, of dreaming, planning and preparing for this day, I finally got to marry my prince. A year ago I would say that this was the point where I had finally become all grown up. But soon I would find that to not be true. Married life took us through many hardships that would prepare me for the biggest, most life changing event of all.

The following summer, we found out that our apartment was infested with bed bugs. We began the long battle of dealing with difficult apartment managers, and ridding our place of these horrible sneaky creatures. This led us to desire a real house of our own. House hunting began, and then ended and then house remodeling began, and didn’t end as soon as we would have liked. Once our house was finished, and we had made it a home, I was now ready to start a family. But since my husband wasn’t quite ready yet, I found myself again discontent with my life. I eventually gave this desire over to the Lord, and asked Him to show me His timing by working through my husband. Not too long after that Joel came to me with the desire to begin our family.

After a couple months of trying to get pregnant, the anxiety set in; it wasn’t happening like I thought it would.  I found myself all tied up in knots wondering what was wrong and discontent again with the circumstances that were not within my control. I realized, nearly too late, that I was living my life constantly looking forward to the next thing. Tears began to flow as I realized the regret that I would feel if I didn’t enjoy this precious time that I had alone with my husband before we had children. I realized that I needed to enjoy the now, but not get so comfortable that I wouldn’t be willing to accommodate change. Reaching this state of mind was incredibly difficult but it saved me! I began enjoying my life the way it was because, by the grace of God, I was now truly content with my life. Then the day came: we were pregnant!

The following months of preparation, eating, dreaming, picking a name and setting up the nursery were so wonderful. At times I would feel overwhelmed and frantically wonder if we had made the right decision to get pregnant. Each time my husband would confidently assure me that we had. The day finally came: labor pains began and didn’t stop.  We knew we would have our baby that day! At 3:31 pm on June 18th 2009 I officially grew up. I looked at my husband leaning over our baby with camera in hand and turned to my mom and said “I did it!” I had given birth to a perfect little miracle! Those years of thinking that I was a grown up and deserving of one thing or another all seemed so insignificant compared to the little human life that had been created inside of me.

No longer am I the little girl that once played dress-up and cared for my dolls, I now have the ultimate privilege of caring for and nurturing my own real baby. I know that there will be other milestones in my life, but this was that moment that officially started my years of being all grown up.


Sarah's Adventures said...

Hannah, this is amazing! You are SUCH a good writer! I am very impressed. I could totally see flipping through a magazine and reading this!! Hope you win!

Hannah said...

ah thank you sarah!

Kelly said...

I'd vote for you.

I love Real Simple mag too. I don't get it anymore, but loved it when I used to get it.