Birthday blues

I turn 30 in a little less than 2 weeks and I have the birthday blues.

Not because I’m not excited to turn 30 – I actually am SOOOO excited – instead it’s because I won’t be celebrating it the way I imagined.

When I turned 29, it was quiet. I was home with my month old baby and husband. I was content. My birthday felt so small and being with my little family was perfection. I didn’t want to go anywhere or really do anything.

I should say that I LOVE birthdays. I love a day where I get to feel special, appreciated and celebrated. My birthdays have always involved lots of family, friends and good times. I’ve had very few bad birthdays and my parents always did such a great job of making me feel loved. So, I truly look forward to every.single.birthday.

I told Eric right after my 29th that I really wanted a big 30th celebration – so he better start planning. I was so looking forward to having an older baby and being able to celebrate with friends and kind of close out my 20s and get ready for my 30s. I’ve been looking forward to this birthday ever since.

Then we moved.

We moved away from the place I spent the majority of my 20s. I miss our home, our friends and in some ways I miss that little life. Soooo many things happened in Austin in those 5 years and I changed so much in my late twenties. I want to spend my birthday celebrating with the people who understand me in this moment and time; the people who’ve been there for the big and small moments, who’ve watched as I faced obstacles and tackled challenges. Quite simply: the people who know me best right now.

About a month ago, Eric and I were on a date and we got to dreaming. We crafted a little plan to get down to Austin for a long weekend and do my birthday up the way I imagined it – with all the friends I love.

After our date, we were so excited about the possibility that we attempted to make it a reality almost immediately.

Long story short – it didn’t work out. There are lots of details to the why it didn’t happen and I am left feeling disappointed and sad, and a little unimportant too.

I know that life doesn’t always work out in your favor – and hell – this is just a birthday after all, BUT it’s my 30th and it means something to me.

Now that we’re living in Kansas, I have lots of family around and I’m making friends and that’s all such a beautiful thing. I have been reminding myself just how lucky am I and thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for.

BUT – I’m still sad about my birthday. Typing that feels so trivial – there are people suffering and going through real shit – move on kid!

I know, I know…

I think I’m coming to realize that this birthday just holds a lot for me symbolically. It is the big 3-0. I feel like more than ever I know who I am, who I want to be and I’m excited to keep moving and growing to become that person. We did just make a big life change by moving and it was hard. It was closing the door to a really important chapter of our lives and I want to celebrate that chapter with those people.When our plans fell through – that kind of made me think about the last 5 years and come to terms with a few things: sadness about Austin and that community as well as hope for my growing community here and the future. I guess, it’s just a big birthday to me because so much has happened.

I will obviously get over these birthday blues. I’m even thinking of having a small celebration here – I haven’t decided yet.

Here’s what I know: When I turn 30, I’m going to hug my kiddo tight, have a lovely dinner with my husband and get ready to soak up all the ways I will grow and change in this next decade.

My life is full, imperfect and I couldn’t be happier to be living it everyday.

Thanks,

BK

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The real story behind our move

I often stop, look around and realize that just a year ago, I became a mom to the most precious gift. Today, our life looks VERY different and that very different has been such a positive thing for our family. It wasn’t easy and there have been lots of questions from friends and family members about our decision. Not everyone agrees and that’s OK, BUT I did want to tell more about our story and the path that led us to such a HUGE, pivotal decision for our family.

Here goes…

My husband and I are partners in a beautiful marriage and I think of him as the head of our household. Not to say he rules, but I like that he’s our leader and protector and I seek his opinion in almost everything I do because he’s my partner, my best friend and the one person in this world who knows all of me. AND guess what? He does the same with me. It’s the best!

We are so very different, but our ideas, hopes and dreams about life are intensely aligned. We talk about everything! We imagine our life and we discuss the future, the now and what we plan to build for us and our family. Those discussions are full of joy and debate, tough questions and laughter. We spend a lot of time trying to be purposeful and realistic, while also keeping the whimsy of this fragile and unpredictable life we all lead. When we had our son, our lives were thrown into chaos and we needed to be present and really see how we felt after becoming parents.

We had no idea when I became pregnant that bringing our baby boy into this world would shift our thinking and force us to be realistic NOW about what we wanted for him.

We imagined living in Austin among friends and the community we had created, in our first home. We knew we would have long visits to grandparents over summer and Christmas, but our life would remain in Austin for the foreseeable future.

Then, it changed.

We missed dates, we missed friends we saw less, we hated the traffic that kept us from connecting with those friends, we had to be there for our son and support the schedule he needed, and we needed to be real about our values.

We watched our son struggle in daycare. He wasn’t held enough, he didn’t nap, he was sick all the time, and we saw the sometimes 7! different daycare workers he dealt with in one day. They were nice, they were doing their best, but their best wasn’t good enough for our kiddo. We cried over it. We needed our son to be in my arms, at my breast and at home in our safe place. We sacrificed, we made hard choices and it all seemed so easy because it felt so very, very right.

It may have felt like an overnight shift to many, but to us, it was a change that happened slowly. An intense burn that multiplied over many minutes, hours and days while we deliberated and considered our sweet son.

When we visited family, we felt the stark contrast between time spent here and time spent at home in Austin where we very often felt isolated and lonely, as all new parents do from time to time. But, that feeling became painful as we watched our family members love on him. Grandma drove down multiple times just to cuddle him and love him. At Christmas he lit up having his clan surround him. With family around, our world felt whole and complete: the missing piece of a puzzle we didn’t realize we needed.

We debated some more, we considered our long-term future and we discussed what a move and this choice would mean for EVERY member of our family: Dad, Mom, Baby.

There would be drawbacks for Dad and Mom, but baby would benefit so much and the drawbacks for us were manageable, and possibly could even be remedied over time.

So we jumped. We made a decision and we haven’t looked back. We made this decision, like we do all decisions, as team with full acceptance, happiness and nervousness. I’m sure some may not or can’t understand it, and again, that’s OK. We have felt and seen so many wonderful and positive experiences already, including but not limited to:

  • More dates together which means conversation, alone time and reconnection.
  • Our son is building deep relationships with other people who love him: grandma and grandpa, papa Jason, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins. The more people around, the happier our little guy is! He was being such a HAM at his first birthday because he was surrounded by so much love!
  • Eric is having a wonderful school year! Co-workers, students and parents are showing him tons of appreciation for his work. I am so proud of him and glad that he’s hearing what has always been true: he’s an excellent teacher who offers so much to a learning community. I can’t wait to see what else this school year brings!
  • We are feeling the effects of living in a community: Eric’s students see him on his runs and wave as we take walks in our neighborhood, we’ve made friends and can walk down the street to hang out, we attend the Friday night football games and we had such a great time attending the local community festival and rodeo this fall! There’s still so many more ways we can begin to connect in this community and that is an exciting prospect

ALL OF THIS, my friends, has been so rewarding and proof-positive, that this “crazy” decision was the right kind of crazy for us. We can literally feel the difference in mindset and daily life. We are happier, healthier and our son is blossoming. Life is far from perfect, there are still ways to improve and continue to be more purposeful, but this HUGE change has already given us some HUGE payoffs.

I don’t write all this to say everyone should do what we did. On the contrary, I think everyone should look at their life, consider what they may need and do what they believe is best for their family. Then, I think we should all cheer them on for living THEIR life the best way they can.

The life we have chosen and are building looks very different from most people in a variety of ways: living with family, owning one car, eating the way we do, etc. It can seem limiting and hard to some and possibly unhealthy or weird to others, but it’s actually so freeing to us! We feel free from debt, excessive possessions and our bodies feel cleaner. It also feels good to be living with family and feeling the daily love and community. Next up on the blog: The benefits and consequences of multi-generational living. My mom insisted I share about this soon! (Living with family is probably the thing we get asked about/judged the most!)

Thanks,

BK

Blog challenge failure?

Well, I didn’t make it to 30 days of blogging. So I guess that’s failure…

BUT, I did make it 23 days. That’s pretty dang good! I shot high and while I didn’t get where I wanted, I got farther than I ever have and I rekindled my love for blogging and writing. That, to me, was a win!

Since moving, I’ve really tried to set some goals for myself to help me kind of take back my life. Not that I lost it, but having a kid, quitting my job and moving was a lot of changes and I want to take back time for me.

I’ve made progress on all of my goals – however, I haven’t yet reached the optimal level of achieving and making continual progress. I know this will take time! So I’m definitely not beating myself up… it’s just hard to focus on all of them at the same time.

For a while, my gym time and blogging were happening daily, It was awesome!

Now, I’m doing really great at food prep, cleaning, laundry and all things home – that’s awesome! It feels good to be helping my family in such a tangible way – truly! It brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment. I’ve been able to make my husband’s signature chili – I’ve made the last 5 batches for him! This means more time for him to enjoy time with us instead of being in the kitchen. (WIN!)

I’ve also been reaching out and trying to make new friends. I planned a few events on a local moms facebook page – I got to meet 7 moms. One of them is pretty cool – we have another playdate/hangout this Friday. It was a good vibe and she lives close, so it’d be sooo great if we became good friends!

I’m ready to keep moving forward though and bring blogging, crafting and working out back in to the weekly routine. Blogging and crafting are really important for me to reflect and relax. I love working with my hands and creating something – so stay tuned for that. If all goes well, I’ll definitely be sharing this new craft I’m tackling. BUT, no promises.

Another big win has been podcasts! I FINALLY took the plunge and started listening to one. It’s called The Ultimate Health Podcast, and I’m really loving it. They tackle tons of health topics and bring on experts to discuss their books, things they’ve learned and ways to improve your life and health. It’s uplifting, enlightening and encourages me to seek more information and think deeply about my health and life. I LOVE that! If you’re looking for something like that, you should definitely check it out! I will definitely post more about what I’m learning in another post soonish. 🙂

So, did I fail my challenge? Yep. Am I still a winner? Hell yeah! Just by taking it on and truly working towards it makes me a fighter and a competitor. I’m proud of that.

The truth is, I struggle as a new mom often. I struggle with myself, my husband, my son, my chores, my goals and sometimes I just plain struggle with all of it at the same time. Some days are hard and some days are THE BEST. I often feel like I should be doing more, handling it better. Other days, I feel so good about the progress I make.

We have a friend, who is also a stay at home mom, and her instagram is amazing. She posts gorgeous photos, promotes products, draws, runs her own business and manages to just seem like her life is bliss. I know that I’m not seeing the whole picture, but it sure can make me feel so inferior. I hate that! I want to be happy for her and use her success as an encouraging thing. I was telling my husband about, “I have mom jealousy honey.” He laughed and listened and validated and ended by lifting me up with positive words. (Gosh, he’s great!) It was really sweet though and it helped me to change my mindset. He said, “Babe, if you really stuck to something and gave it your all, you could be doing exactly what she’s doing.” He continued by affirming that we’ve made some parenting choices that can be limiting and hard, but that we believe in them and he is so ready to support me chasing those goals and dreams in any way he can. (Did I mention how in love with this dude I am?)

He’s right though. When I decide to do things and I really go after it, I make things happen. Right now, I still don’t know what that THING is, but I know I’ll find it and when I do, it’s going to happen for me.

One more thing, before I sign off… I was listening to new podcast. They were talking to a yoga teacher, who’s also from Kansas, and she was talking about social media and our society’s obsession with likes and reactions. She totally gets that as a business you have to have not only an online presence, but more importantly a social media presence. But she hates it. She hates that she sits and thinks about what she should post, what will get the biggest response. So she’s stopped doing that and only posting what she’s proud of and truly into.

I want to be like that! I want to blog about what feels real – not what I think others want to hear or what will get people to read my stuff and react. I’m looking to embrace that and be me. Me is enough.

Thanks,

BK

Day 22: Breastfeeding success

This past week was National Breastfeeding Week. YAY!

It was awesome to get to celebrate breastfeeding. As I blogged about earlier, breastfeeding has been so rewarding for me in too many ways to count.

An old friend from high school told me about an event happening in the area for breastfeeding mamas to come together. While it was a bit of a drive for me, I am really glad I went to be a part of it. Even though I only knew my old friend and that’s hard for me (to be in a huge area and know few people) I am still really glad I went and got to see just how many women have committed to breastfeeding. A local photographer organized the event and offered photos for every mom to get with her little one feeding. I opted not to do the individual photos, but I did get to partake in the group photo.

Here’s the whole group picture from the event:

breastfeeding event 2017

Look at all these mamas! I am so encouraged by this group! After the picture, the photographer asked questions to get some stats about the group. Here’s what she found:

There were 124 mamas, 127 babies and 1 baby in heaven.

Youngest baby: 6 days
Oldest: 5 years
Youngest mama: 19
Oldest mama: 44
Tandem: 4 mamas
Donated milk: 44 mamas
Exclusively pumping: 2
SNS feeding: 1
The most babies one mama nursed: 7
Farthest distance traveled to attend: 2.5 hours

Wow!! I love the diversity and the commitment by so many women to attend and to give such a beautiful gift to their babies.

Breastfeeding is natural but it’s not always easy! It takes dedication, hard work, perseverance and often times sacrifice. With the right support and knowledge, most women can have a successful journey. I think support is probably the biggest key though; finding women who have been there and are ready and willing to share what worked for them and why they chose to breastfeed.

While I blogged about having a pretty easy breastfeeding journey (which I am so grateful for), there are things that are still hard sometimes. I think it’s OK and normal to admit that it’s not always easy. For me, it’s been the dedication to always be available to my son for feedings. He’s a quick eater and he’s a snacker. Even now, at 11 months old, he wants to eat every 1.5 – 2 hours. Most babies his age go longer stretches, but that’s just not what works for him. He eats when he’s hungry and he stops when he’s full. It works for us, but it can be limiting in terms of my schedule and my plans. I can always pump for him, but pumping is sometimes a bigger pain in the butt because it messes with my supply. I start to over produce and it can just be annoying to keep up with it. (However, pumping would allow me more time away and now that’s he older, I have considered starting to pump more.)

I’ve always just enjoyed feeding him and since I was around, I didn’t build up a huge stash of breast milk. I don’t regret that because that takes a TON of time and dedication – and I didn’t want to do that. BUT, I do think I will start pumping at least once a day, so we can some milk on hand.

Another thing that’s hard is that we decided to not introduce a pacifier. We read a lot about it and how it could interrupt our breastfeeding relationship, his weight gain, my supply and it could be a huge pain in the butt to get rid of later. So we didn’t do it… (We did try to give him one when he was around 4 weeks old because we could NOT soothe him at night for like 2.5 weeks straight. We were trying anything. Lucky for us (if it’s luck?), he spit that pacifier right out when he realized no milk was coming out. So he’s never taken a pacifier and I became his human pacifier – which is essentially what breasts are for. As the La Leche League says, “The breast was the original pacifier…” BUT, being a human pacifier is not always easy. Most days I’m 100% fine with it, but there are moments, when I want to take a break and he needs me. It’s on those days that I remind myself, there will come a time when this season is over and I so desperately want to relive those moments. Oh motherhood… when you wish for one thing and then change your mind as soon as it happens.

Regardless of the obstacles and challenges when breastfeeding, I am still so glad that I made the decision to gain knowledge, find support and keep troubleshooting as issues arise. I love the gift I’m able to give him and I am so thankful for the way it has solidified the bond I have with my son.

Happy National Breastfeeding Week!

BK

Day 21: Pick me!

The other day, I was reading our local newspaper’s free 2 page weekly that every household receives. It’s mostly ads, a few stories and just general information. I was curious though… Since I’ve just moved back home I’m trying to learn more about my community now and what’s changed.

First, it was really fun to read it – I love reading ads! You always get a few really good ones you know? Like so bad, they are good.

Anyway, they had a help wanted section. I like to keep my eyes open for part time jobs, and possible gigs. I love being a stay at home mom, but I am always interested in picking up jobs that could bring in a little money for my family. Well, there was an interesting posting: Regular part-time sports writer.

Boy was I excited!

Not only was I one of the editors of my high school newspaper, but I also attended the University of Missouri: the number 1 journalism school in the country. While I decided being a newspaper journalist wasn’t my dream job, it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss reporting, writing, editing and designing for a newspaper.

I loved the fast-paced work; how the energy in the newspaper could shift at any moment if or when a hot story came in. I loved designing 1A; picking out the font, the perfect picture layout and writing the headlines and subheads. I also loved the banter between the designers, copy editors and reporters as stories were edited and proofs were being looked over before sending the final product to the printer. Simply put: I miss it.

Studying and being a journalist was a very important time in my life and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned so much and I still apply a lot of that learning to my life.

So when I saw this job, I felt that rush of excitement to be a part of a newspaper team agin. It’s part-time, I could take my son with me to the games and events and I could get paid to write. It’s perfect!

I called and then drove up there to fill out an application. The application was clearly old and hilariously offensive due to it’s age. They had a section that asked if I had any dependents other than my wife and children… hmmm. I can get over the application – although if I’m hired, I’m definitely going to bring this up! It’s not hard to print a new application… oh, small towns.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard back, but I’m persistent. I plan on heading up again and seeing if I can talk to the editor in person. (This is a super small paper and I’d be curious to see if there are any other applicants.)

So keep your fingers crossed! Maybe I’ll be the new part-time sports writer in no time… maybe not, but it sure would be fun to practice my journalism skills again.

BK

Day 20: I miss movies

I used to be a huge movie fan – especially really bad movies. From Justin to Kelly, anyone?

Seriously though, I love movies. When I was in middle school and high school my parents and I had this tradition of going to Blockbuster on Friday night. Each one of us got to pick out a movie and then we all watched them together. We would easily spend 30 minutes going down the aisles. I, of course, loved the new releases and my mom would always find some old movie that I just had to see! My dad made sure we checked out the action movies. It was a really fun tradition and I still miss it and Blockbuster!

I’ve used Netflix for movies, but they never have exactly what I want and I really do miss strolling the aisles of Blockbuster and discovering a really old classic. Aww… oh well.

BUT, I write about missing movies now because I have a baby. My husband and I have decided that we are “those” people who are serious about limiting screen time for our kid. At home, it’s pretty much zero. Occasionally we will show him a picture or video of himself and he used to facetime grandma before we moved. However, that’s it. We don’t watch TV and we certainly don’t watch movies. (When we go out and there’s a TV on, Lochlan is pretty interested initially, but he actually grows bored and moves on. Especially since we aren’t interested.)

Moving away from TV has saved us a lot of money and opened us up to have more conversation and time to do other things. We actually can’t imagine watching TV now. However, we do miss movies.

Sometimes you just want to sit down, cuddle under a blanket, munch on some snacks and watch a feel good movie. It’s fun and cheap: WIN!

We haven’t seen a movie together since he was born and there have been some movies released that I really want to see: Beauty and the Beast is the first that comes to mind, but I know I’ve heard of a few others as well.

My husband and I were actually talking about it the other day and we are going to try to sneak some movies in on the weekends after we put our kiddo to bed. (It’s tricksy and exciting!) Hahaha.

I guess this is life with kids and the choice to restrict screen time. We will eventually introduce media to our kiddo and we are super excited to share movies with him, we just feel really compelled to stick to the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on screen time and media. Click here to check them out if you’re interested.

Anyway, here’s to catching some good movies cuddled up to my hot husband! Send me your top picks of movies we should check out!

BK

Day 19: Catching up!

Well, I missed a bunch of days in a row…

I set out to do this 30 day blogging journey because I wanted to write more. I have definitely written more: so goal achieved! I’ve also found myself thinking of things to write about all the time. So that’s also really awesome!

However, writing every day in addition to some of my other goals proved to be difficult. My sleep was taking a major hit along with my energy, attitude and basic ability to put my attention and love where it is most deserved: with my family.

I am going to try my best to catch up and really do this 30 day thing. I have several blog ideas ready to go: I just need some time to get it done. It’s hard to blog during the day because my husband is heading back to work which means I’m on my own with the kiddo and he is so crazy obsessed with my computer.

He doesn’t get to see it very often, so maybe that’s why he’s so into it? The only thing it does for him is play kids music. Which he loves, but I can’t sit in a room and blog while he plays because he has to touch it, hit it, lick it. Of course, he’s not gentle with it either.. So I can basically blog during naps (if he lets me leave, I’m a pacifier) or if I get up early or stay up late (not ideal for every day).

I’m glad I missed the last few days because my energy and attitude needed a reset. Sleep was a tremendous help along with real time with my guys! They are so important and while doing something for myself is also important, I’ve been missing them with all the other stuff: meal prepping, going to the gym and trying to be better about cleaning up around the house. That stuff is great, but it shouldn’t be the main focus of my life. So, I missed a few days. Don’t worry though, it’s coming!

Have you ever loaded your plate with too many goals/ambitions and then realized you needed to step back and rethink it? I hate when that happens, but I’m glad I don’t force things that don’t feel right… it’s a conundrum.

Thanks for reading,

BK

Day 18: Goodbye Netflix!

So, I’m saying goodbye to Netflix. Maybe forever, maybe just for right now… I’m not sure.

I love Netflix. I have watched so many tv shows, documentaries and movies on there. It has kept me sane on lonely nights and helped me kick boredom while cleaning or doing other random menial tasks.

However, it’s not particularly helpful as a way to enrich my life. I use it while at the gym, or when I’m Tula-ing my kiddo to sleep for naps or bedtime (I then proceed to lay there and watch it for too long). It’s not really bad that I do this, but I want to break my phone addiction and start thinking more and distracting less.

My husband has encouraged me to find some podcasts that I might enjoy. So I’m on the hunt for those. I love learning things and hearing people’s opinions on things, so now I’ve just got to try a few out and see what I think.

I’m actually pretty excited for this adventure – I think it could be a really enriching thing for me AND it could be a great conversation starter – sometimes I have trouble making conversation. I don’t watch a lot of TV (besides Netflix – and I always watch old stuff) and I don’t know much about the weather. I have noticed that when I’ve watched a documentary or read an interesting book or article, I really enjoy discussing that with people and it can be a great topic to get conversation flowing.

Do any of you out there have favorite podcasts that I should check out? I’ve googled (like I do all things) and I’ve found some that sound interesting, but again, I’m a weirdo, and I’m not into the heavy crime stuff, over the top comedy or random blathering – which is what many of the websites were recommending. (Some of the recommendations really seemed to be super liberal, “I’m smart and real” bullshit. Maybe it’s good – it was just a bit off-putting.) I’m thinking self improvement, money, health, parenting, etc.

Thanks,

BK

Day 17: Shared experience

One of my big goals for my life is to create and connect in a community of people who not only support me, but also understand me. It’s a lifelong goal that will require stepping outside of my comfort zone, giving friendship and support when it’s not convenient and working hard to maintain relationships.

Something my husband has talked about a lot is shared experience. Relationships need that he says and he’s convinced me that he’s 100% right.

There are five women in this world that I count as best friends; D, M, M, E and K. They’ve all been best friends of mine at different stages of my life, but their friendship feels special and important and I will forever count them as some of the most important friendships for me. (I’d like to make a note about some of my great friends too. With more time and a different circumstance, there are several who would have undoubtedly become a best friend. I am lucky for all of my friends – truly.)

With that being said, the intensity of those friendship connections have waxed and waned over the years. The culprit behind the wanes? A lack of shared experience.

Phone calls, texts, keeping up on Facebook are all great ways to maintain a connection initially, but without true time together and that shared experience, the connection and understanding fades. It sucks.

I miss these friendships and I so value the moments when we can reconnect and spend time together to get back to being us. I’m lucky that I still do get time to connect with these ladies. We find ways to plan get-togethers, lunches and dinners together – we catch up on life and kind of reintroduce ourselves – the ever-changing woman navigating all of life’s joys and obstacles. We do change and because our time together is less, those changes can be hard to understand or sometimes not noticeable right away.

And sometimes, even with the best friends, you grow apart. Even with shared experience, sometimes life takes you on a different path and the ways in which you used to be compatible aren’t there anymore.

That’s sad and normal. It doesn’t make me upset though because it’s not like anyone is choosing to leave the other friend or that it’s happening out of anger. It’s a very normal part of life: to find yourself, grow and move forward. Sometimes friends travel with you, sometimes they visit from time to time and sometimes they simply disappear.

I’m really glad that none of my fab 5 have disappeared. I know I could call up any of them and have a conversation.

However, life has moved me around (both in location and emotionally). So right now, I’m kind of lacking a best friend that completely understands who I am in this moment and lives close enough to be available.

That bums me out, but I’m on the hunt. Could my Fab Five become the Stellar Six?

I sure hope so! I’m looking for a friend to parent alongside, who gets some of my parenting choices and can support me and share similar experiences. I want to be able to call her up when shit is crazy and I need a break and I want someone who values my friendship and time to be able to seek help and solace from me as well.

I know I’ll find that, but I’m a different bird and it takes me awhile to completely open up and find a true friend. So here’s to waiting, getting out there, opening up and taking a chance on meeting and finding a similar human!

BK

Day 16: Lonely only

I’m an only child. (I have two half sisters, but we didn’t grow up together, so for all intents and purposes I was raised as an only child.)

There were definitely benefits to that. I’m very close to my parents and I consider them best friends. I can be real and honest with them in ways that a lot of people can’t be real with their parents. It’s really cool and I love that.

BUT – and it’s a BIG but – there are definitely downsides to being an only. For me, the biggest is feeling lonely without sibling relationships especially as I’ve gotten older.

When I talk to other adults who grew up with siblings – they have tons of stories, memories, inside jokes and really like second and third lives because of those relationships. They have people, besides their parents, who grew up with them and understand them in ways that only a sibling can.

I don’t have that and I think that can leave me feeling extremely lonely. I know there are onlies out there who might disagree with me. They could talk about their extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles or friendships they cultivated while growing up – the girl who became like a sister, etc.

I don’t really have that either. I do have cousins of course and both of my parents are from large families… it just always worked out that I was kind of left out.

On my mom’s side I was smack dab in the middle of all my cousins. I had 5 older cousins who were 8 – 12 years older than me, then I had 7 cousins who were 6 to 12 years younger than me. There I was – all by myself. I annoyed the shit out of my older cousins (I’m sure) and my younger cousins initially annoyed me. Two of my younger cousins, R and C, did become like sisters to me. Especially when I was in middle school, high school and college. I spent a lot of time with them and on my breaks home in college, we always had movie marathons and just a really good time together. However, they are older now – in college and graduated from college and life has taken each of us on different paths.

On my dad’s side, I had 3 older boy cousins and 2 younger cousins. They were all way closer in age to me, but they lived in Nebraska and I only really saw them once or twice a year. It made bonding hard and we never really crafted that cousin relationship…

So it’s been me. I’ve enjoyed family get-togethers and I LOVE my family so much – but I’m still missing that sibling connection that I think is so special and unique.

The loneliness seems especially hard sometimes because my parents are divorced. All the memories of us being the three amigos are beautiful and lovely – but that’s over. We can’t be that anymore and it’s not often that we all get to be together, just us three like it once was. I don’t wish they were still together; sometimes I just want to sit around together and relive memories that only the three of us shared. We had so many good times together and I treasure those memories.

Alone. Only I can treasure that.

It’s OK. I don’t often spend time thinking about this. It’s only in moments every once in awhile, when I’m already feeling lonely that I reflect on it. I will say this feeling makes me want to give my child siblings – to give him a friend to know and love for his whole life. I hope and pray that my (future) children grow to be best friends and share a deep connection that is separate from the one they share with my husband and me.

I’ve talked to people from big families and I’ve often heard them say, they only want to have one child. They felt that they missed out on participating in activities because there wasn’t the time or money. That’s hard too… I get what they’re saying, but I don’t think they appreciate what they have, but I bet they will someday. (I could be wrong – just the opinion of a lonely only. haha)

Regardless of my situation, I know I have a wonderful family and life. I am thankful for the relationships I do have and I am excited to keep developing friendships and growing my community to help me feel just a little less lonely.

BK