Back and Forth

Happy New Year! It’s time to look back; it’s time to look forward.  I love the start of the new year, and this one feels especially promising.  But before I tell you my hopes for 2010, I would like to mention a couple of key moments in 2009.

In 2009…I turned thirty.  Many of my peers seemed to think that this was a milestone to be mourned.  Not me!  In my thirthieth year, I learned a lot about what I want to be and what I want my life to look like.  I’ve been coming to these understandings since the birth of my first child over four years ago, but this year has been most educational in very personal, very meaningful ways.  I know that I want to bring more art into my life, to live with an eye toward creativity, living each day as a celebration of the creative drive that God has given so many of us.  I know that I want to embrace the way that I was created as woman and as a mother.  I feel like I’m just starting to figure out the complexities of domesticity and femininity in a world that doesn’t seem to know what to make of those things.  I marked my thirtieth birthday with a party at my parents’ home.  The party had two primary ingredients: loved ones and big cupcakes with very fluffy pink icing.  I wish I had a picture of those beauties!

In 2009…I took a break from my doctoral program in English Education.  I was motivated by the need and strong desire to focus on my family while giving my husband the time he needed to write his dissertation.  This was the second most difficult decision that I’ve ever had to make (The first was the ending of a relationship nearly a decade ago, but that’s a long story that will never appear in this blog!).  I agonized over the choice to suspend my academic work for a time, but with the help of some friends and much prayer, I realized that fear was the source of my hesitation.  I worried about what others (family, friends, colleagues, even strangers) would think of me.  I feared that I would look like a failure, a quitter!  But in truth, a carefully planned break was about NOT failing, NOT quitting; it was about succeeding at the most important jobs in the world–wife and mother.  If I had continued with my work at the snail’s pace that I had set, I would have never made any progress in the last year.  Instead, I now feel refreshed and motivated to make some great leaps forward…

So that brings me to 2010.  I have many goals for the year, but I wish to document two of them on this blog.  One, I will learn to sew.  My parents bought me a wonderful sewing machine several Christmases ago, and I never used it.  Sad, sad, sad.  Well, just before Christmas,  I made this…

with help from my mom-in-law and a nice selection of buttons from my Mom.  This little project (Crochet Hook Cozy from Sew Darn Cute) made me very excited to learn to use my machine.  My parents got me a beautiful sewing book for Christmas, and I’m so ready to dig in. 

Secondly, I will resume life as a doctoral student with vigor, enthusiasm, and commitment!  That means having a schedule and actually following it.  It means communicating with my advisor on a regular basis instead of avoiding the entire building in which his office is housed.  It means building up a support system of fellow students and teachers and being honest with them about my goals and the limitations upon my time.  It means reading and writing even when I feel like knitting or vegging.  It does not mean saying “no” when my kids want to play a game or read a book.  It does not mean making my husband feel guilty for revising his own disseration when I have things that I need to do.  It does not mean trading in the title of “Mommy” when  a deadline approaches.  I can do this.  I will do this.

(If you think this sounds like  a pep talk, you’re right.)

Afterward, Note: I forgot to mention that the Crochet Cozy was a Christmas gift for my Grandma.  She really seemed to like it!

4 thoughts on “Back and Forth

  1. those sound like wonderful (and determined!) goals for the new year! I can especially relate to the second one…feel like I need to have a little more discipline with my studies this year too. I’m working on trying to motivate to do a little at a time over a longer period of time instead of trying to cram it all in at the last minute (my usual tactic). So…thank you for pep talking! It pepped me up too!

  2. Pingback: Goal update! « Warm as Pie

  3. Pingback: 1-1-11 and “A Handmade Holiday” Part I « Warm as Pie

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