We had a big weekend over here! I blinked and Miles turned THREE! A lot has changed in the past few years. But nothing has changed more than the shift that occurred in the moment he came in to the world. I think probably any mother could tell you that upon giving birth, everything changes. Triggering an identity crisis of epic proportions. What was once important, is still important, but something’s just come up that is the most important thing there will ever be. You can think about it, and talk to your friends, and get advice from your mom, but nothing could ever, ever prepare you. Learning to balance what once was, and what now is, is a huge, huge, adjustment. Like any adjustment, you adapt, and change, and keep moving forward. This transition wasn’t easy, yet at the same time, it was the most natural thing I’ve ever done.
When Miles was about 5 weeks old, my Mom came to visit us in Kansas, where we were living at the time. We were about to move to New York, and one thing left on my Kansas bucket list was to visit Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Since my mom is one of my greatest adventure buddies, and an all around go-getter, we decided to take a day trip to see the real-live prairie.
It was my first big exploring adventure as a new mama. I packed all the extra outfits and burp rags and diapers and off we went. It was a hot, breezy, sunny day. My favorite kind of weather. I put the baby in the carrier and as we trekked out on the trail into the tallgrass preserve, I found myself getting nervous, thinking is this ok? Is it ok to take my brand-new baby out into the wilderness on a 90-degree day? I wasn’t used to this feeling of apprehension. It was weird. I didn’t really like it. We hiked for about an hour. We saw a lone buffalo in the distance, and according to the trail map, knew that we could continue on and loop back to the visitor’s center. I wanted to keep going so badly, to see what was just beyond that low-rise in the distance and just around the curve. But my new-mom instinct kicked in and I knew we should get back. I was worried about the little guy overheating in the carrier. It was hot and sunny, we hadn’t brought a ton of water, and honestly, I was on a whole new level of exhaustion that only lack of sleep and the monumental shift in postpartum hormones can bring. I just didn’t have it in me to go much farther. I was disappointed, and a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to thoroughly explore the way I was used to. But it wasn’t about me anymore. Motherhood is all about finding the balance between self, and self-sacrifice. This day was one of the first of many lessons to come on that topic.
Miles’s birthday marks the anniversary of my evolution from adventurer, to adventure mama. I’ve learned to balance my independence and wanderlust with the demands of everyday motherhood. I’ve learned to shush the inner “worst case scenario” monologue, and prepare for any and all messes that may (will) arise. I’ve learned to reel it in and look closer to home, while always, always keeping an eye out for the next opportunity to explore. I’ve learned to explore at a slower pace and plan adventures we will all enjoy. Because even though I am the mother of a three year old boy (and now another little babe too!), I’m still me. Not the same me, because motherhood forever changes you. But thanks to motherhood I have grown to be a better, stronger, more adaptable version of myself. Ultimately thanks to our three year old birthday boy. What a gift.