Friday, July 29, 2011

For Starters...

My name is Kelly and I am 30 years old.  I have been married to Dave, a wonderful man, for almost 4 years, and together we have a 2 month old son named Benjamin.  We have a house and a sweet yellow lab named Emma, and we live in a quaint suburb just south of the city of Buffalo, NY.  I love my life.

I have been on maternity leave for 11 weeks and I have 1 more week left until--out of necessity--I will return to my job processing auto accident claims.  These last 11 weeks have been wonderful, and not just because I haven't had to go to work.  

I have had the opportunity to get to know my baby.  He is quite demanding.  He wants what he wants when he wants it.  Sometimes we call him "the little terrorist" because his demands can seem unreasonable.  I am learning what he likes (being held) and what he doesn't like (being put down).  I have gotten through the painful beginning stages of breastfeeding, and I am learning to cope with the fact that Ben now prefers the bottle to me.  I am trying not to take it personally, though it's hard.  I have built up my arm muscles lugging his car seat in and out of my car.  He is generally a good baby as long as he is not hungry.  He does not like riding in the car, but he loves being outside.  Thankfully, he's been sleeping through the night for the last 3 weeks.  I have never loved anyone as much as I love that 10 pound tiny man, and nothing has been more challenging than learning how to be a good mommy. 

 I have had the opportunity to enjoy Buffalo in the summer without having to cram all my activities in between the hours of 5pm and 9pm.  I have taken walks, I have visited friends, I have run errands during the day.  I have watched The Today Show and A Baby Story and House Hunters.  I have read books and planned meals.  I have spent more hours on Facebook than I should have.  I have showered late in the day.  I can count on one hand the times I've put on makeup this summer and I have given my can of hairspray a well deserved hiatus.  (Ahh, the perks of not having to go to work everyday.)

Maternity leave has given me the opportunity to think about what it is that I'd like to do with myself.  I did not grow up thinking that I wanted to process auto accident claims for a living.  No, that was not on my dream-radar.  I wanted to be an author, an actress, a chef, a wedding dress designer, a doctor, a nurse, a midwife, a teacher, a dentist, a bookstore owner and a coffee shop owner.  Not all at once.  Or maybe all at once.  Who knows?  Somewhere along the way I realized that I could not feasibly be all of those things.  I wish I would have picked at least one of those things to focus on, but I did not.  I gracefully bowed out of the game.  I closed the door on my dreams and plunked myself smack-dab in the middle of job mediocrity.  Someday I will figure things out, and I will reopen that door.  Not all of my dreams are buried.

I try to remind myself that there are no rules for how I should live my life.  I try to not feel guilty for every little thing, but that's hard for me to do.  (I wear guilt so easily, it practically oozes from my pores.)  As I begin this new decade in my life, I am ready to free myself from that guilt.  I am ready to embrace change.  I am learning how to be braver and bolder.  I think my 30's are going to be exciting, and they hold all the possibilities that I can dream of.  

Stay tuned.