you're in there somewhere

Today was magical.

Today the stars aligned and fate was on my side. While the baby took his morning nap, the toddler played quietly in her room. I was showered. The chores were done. The house was relatively clean. The coffee maker was still on. So I did the unthinkable.

I snuck out to the screened in porch with a hot cup of coffee and an obscenely long fiction book. Not even a personal development book. A fiction book, written for pure pleasure. I even put my feet up, because hey! I didn't even need to be in a three-point athletic stance ready to intercept a toy thrown at my son's head. 

I explored France and Germany through the pages of that book. My mind drifted to far-off places, and a spirit of adventure replaced the usual survival mode. 

This was significant because just the night before I had been thinking about how I was so glad to be in my own bed, surrounded by my own people, and that I wouldn't even want to be exploring a foreign country even if the opportunity presented itself. This thought came with a twinge of sadness, because my entire career choice was based on my love of travel, culture, and foreign language. These things became part of my identity, to the point where I felt lost if I didn't have any international travel to look forward to. 

I clung to this part of myself even after having my first child. She just turned 3, and she's been to England, France, and Mexico. But ever since having a second child to love and care for, that part of me has felt like it's fading. My days are filled with cutting up bananas, searching for a burp cloth, changing the laundry, and giving my toddler 2 acceptable choices in order to avoid meltdowns. My nights are made up of witching hour, chaotic dinners, baths, stories, and trying to get the 3 year old to stay in her bed. There is no free time to daydream of sipping wine while watching the sun set over a plaza. Looking up deals on international flights no longer gets to claim a spot in my day. The books that used to lure me to new destinations have a bookmark stuck in page 58 until I have to return it to the library. 

But you know what? That adventurous person is still in there. I still long for adventure, and travel, and artfully crafted stories, and conversations in a foreign language. I still have a lot of ancient ruins to see, and a lot of wine to sip in plazas. I have a lot of new friends to make in other countries, and a lot of crazy stories to live. 

So it felt like magic to sip coffee on a patio and read about far off places, to feel the familiar longing for a place I've never been. I felt youthful. I felt hopeful. And I felt like me. 

The early years of motherhood are incredible and incredibly tough. They are all consuming and eternal and a whirlwind. They are physically exhausting, mentally draining. They cause me to see the world through fresh eyes full of wonder, but also to want to drop kick Caillou because his voice is so. whiney. I sometimes get sad that I don't have a ton of free time to do the things that give me life, like reading, studying languages, and traveling. But then I remind myself that there's no room for that in a spirit of thankfulness. 

The old me is in there somewhere. Right now my life is dedicated to growing kick-ass (great? good? at least civil?) human beings, growing a business that will allow me the resources and time freedom to travel in the future, and teaching middle school kids a language and culture that will open up the world for them, both literally and figuratively. But the old me still peeks out every now and then. Like when a certain song pops up on my iTunes and I can't help but salsa with my 10 month old. Or when a picture on my TimeHop transports me to that hilarious night in another country. Or when a good book causes me to daydream about driving to the airport and buying a one-way ticket to anywhere. Oh yes. She's still in there. She's waiting patiently, biding her time. And when her time comes, you will see her picture on your social media page holding up a glass of crisp white wine in a sun-soaked plaza and saying Salud!

Tomorrow, though, I'll be raising a cup of lukewarm coffee as my three-year-old rams her tricycle into my shin. Cheers!

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