the one where I turned thirty.

I have arrived, and it feels good.

Now, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ve been thinking about turning thirty since right around the time I turned twenty-nine. I like to really gear up for things, you know?

But as this particular birthday approached, I found myself more drawn to reflecting on the past than setting plans or goals for the future.

Can there be a more transformative decade than the twenties? (I have no way of knowing the answer to this question.)

I turned twenty about a month after Jake and I started dating. A year later, we got engaged, and a year after that, we had graduated college and were living the newlywed life. I started my “career” as a teacher at 24, had a couple of babies by 28, and had moved across the country to a city of champions by 29 (Jake and I like to take credit for all the various successes in Cleveland since our arrival).

I often ask people when I will start to feel like an adult, but in looking back, I see that it happened slowly over time. I was just a kid when I stepped foot into my twenties, and then each year shaped me or refined me or challenged me in some way. I walk into this new decade a completely different version of that doe-eyed college student who thought the end game was predictability and a white-picket fence.

My twenties changed me for the better, so I processed them the only way I really know how: I wrote about them.

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I thought about each year of my twenties and tried to pinpoint what exactly it taught me. And what I found as I combed through each year of the past decade, is that God has taught me things all across my twenties which have perfectly prepared me for where I am today. Equipped me to continue to take steps forward even if I’m not entirely sure where the road ahead leads.

So, if you’re interested in all those thoughts, you’re welcome click the link below where you will find a PDF file–a compilation of essays I wrote in reflection of what each year of my twenties taught me: 

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It is nothing out of the ordinary. The writing doesn’t contain any real tragedy or nail-biting cliffhangers (unless you’re particularly riveted by things like marriage or car trips across the country).

But I’ve come to decide that even the ordinary needs to be celebrated and acknowledged. It is real, and it gets us to where we are today. And, for me at least, that felt worth writing about.

So, here’s to thirty and all it has in store for me. For us. I like it already.

my kids’ birthdays are for me too.

I tend to live a little too deeply in the anticipation of change, so as such, I’ve never been one to let “last moments” slip through my fingertips. I like to stand in empty houses before I leave them for the last time and always acknowledge (internally, at least) my final moments before imminent change takes place.

On Saturday, I put Lily to bed a two-year-old, and she woke me up the next morning with a new age attached to her name.jake and girlsWhen Lily was seven months old, we hit New Year’s Eve, and when I put her to bed that night, I held her a little longer than usual because I knew I’d never get to hold her in the year she was born again. The night I thought I was in labor with Norah, I held her a little longer than usual because I wanted to live a few more minutes in what I thought might be the last moments just the two of us. The night before we moved to Ohio, I held her a little longer than usual because it was the last time I would stand in something familiar before everything I knew would be uprooted on me.

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was happy to put Lily to bed her last night as a two-year-old. Or that I held her a little longer than usual.

I realized this week that I love to breathe in these quiet moments–exist as a student of what they have to teach me. The moments (which I know are numbered) when Lily will snuggle in close to me before bed. When I can stop in the twilight hours of a birthday eve and remember the actual birth day–those still frames in my mind before and after the instant when everything changed.jake and lilyI decided this year that my kids’ birthdays are as much for me as they are for them. While I certainly love celebrating them and loving them for their own day, this year I felt the importance of acknowledging how their years have impacted my own.

As I soaked up those last moments with my two-year-old, I was reminded that even though these toddler years can be draining, they have made me into a better version of the person I was three years ago. Although she doesn’t know it yet, Lily (and Norah, too) has and will continue to help refine my character.

As I let her life wash over me on the night before three–all that we have gone through, all that we have dealt with, all that she has experienced in her days so far– I remembered the whole of who she is. And it was in those moments that I found gratitude for how deeply she has changed me to my core as well as perspective as I step foot into all that I’m sure year three will throw at us. We will all be changed, no doubt. And we will all be better because of it.lily 3So, as agonizing as those last moments can be for me (I saw my parents’ empty house for the last time via FaceTime, and instantly lost it, for crying out loud), I’m grateful to have them when I do. My inner monologue is, too. I mean, I guess it’s good to give her something to obsess over even in those quiet moments, right?