Thursday, January 5, 2012

for auld lang syne. (a 2012 letter to myself).

i had a whole post reflecting on 2011 and welcoming in 2012 mostly written. and then today happened. and i had an emotional breakdown mixed with a stress cocktail tossed in with a side of heartache. i am not the best at removing myself from the thick of a situation and giving myself some perspective, but i am trying to be better at that. and so, since this is a real and true virtual diary of my life, here's a real and true virtual letter to myself as we begin 2012.

dearest stephanie:

happy new year! another year over, and a new one just begun. first of all, i'd like to applaud you on a few accomplishments i've noticed. one - sometimes you go to bed and leave dishes in the sink. good for you. i know that would be a resolution for some, but for you, it's a good sign that you're learning to let some things go. i'm super proud of you for this. two - you don't make idle threats to burn your house down for the insurance money anymore, so i take this to mean that you're relaxing and learning to accept the "process" that is home ownership. kudos. three - you ate hamburger helper for the first time in your life (courtesy of john) in 2011, and you didn't complain. good girl. pick your battles, doll. some days are hamburger helper kind of days.

before i get into the meaty, thorny stuff, let me be crystal clear. you have made progress with the whole giving up control thing... to an extent. i think you are starting to understand that you aren't in charge of much. i think you are slowly realizing that there are more important things to bitch about than john's shoes perpetually being left in the living room and his coat constantly hanging over the side of the chair in the dining room. i know you're empathetic enough to see that there are people suffering, and articles of clothing strewn about your house are not. the. end. of. the. world. so, before i give you some gentle reminders, let me first say: good job. it's hard accepting that you're not perfect. you're not the best wife there ever was. you're not the most patient person to walk the face of the earth. you're not a perfect mom. you're not the best attorney on the planet. you're just a human being. one person in a world of so many, trying to make it day by day. that's all you have to be. and more and more, i see you accepting this and i see it shaping the things you say and do. and that is good. commendable.

but sister, you're on a journey, and you have roads to travel! you have hills to climb and valleys to forge. you are miles and miles and miles away from your destination, and let me tell you: the path is treacherous in parts. don't worry, though, i've got something better than a flashlight or a canteen. i've got FORESIGHT. and i'm gonna share it with you.

stop worrying about the curtains in your living room. they have been hanging unhemmed for more than a month now, and no one has died (or noticed, to be honest). no, they're not perfect and no, no one cares. if 12 months pass us by and those curtains are still unhemmed... you haven't failed anyone. you've just been busy living. and that's good thing.

stop arranging jack's room in meticulous order before he goes to bed at night. it is a child's bedroom, for the love of god. please let that sweet baby mess up the books and toys. please let him spread out all his lovies on the floor and then pick them up, one by one, and give them goodnight hugs. newsflash: bh&g is NOT coming for a photo shoot, and if they ever do give you a call, you will have ample time to straighten things up. let. it. go.

stop taking work stress out on your husband. guess who shouldn't have to worry about the brief that is due in three days? john. (and for that matter, jack.) john's job is to keep jack alive between the hours of 7 a.m. and whenever-you-get-home p.m. you do your job, and he does his. and guess what? that brief is going to get written. so stop panicking and start writing.

stop commiserating in your head whenever you have a bad day. you don't have it so bad. not everyone's life is easier than yours. suck it up and stop whining. whining is so unattractive and might i remind you... you chose this life. you have everything you ever wanted. and just because it doesn't look exactly like you thought it might is no reason to be anything less than utterly, eternally, on bended knee grateful. you are blessed beyond measure. you know this. so when you are tired, or sick, or feeling fat, remember that you married your best friend on a perfect day surrounded by your family and friends. and you became a lawyer and a firm trusted you enough to hire you. and clients respect you enough to hand you their most intimate problems and ask for your help in solving them. and you made a choice to expand your family, and you were blessed with a happy, healthy, beautiful son who warms your heart every day. and you live in a house that's cozy and comfortable and home. so quit your bitchin'. even if it's in your head, it still counts as whining.

we touched on this briefly, but let's revisit. you cannot control everything. you cannot control a lot. you cannot control much at all. you cannot control the weather. we know that if you did, there would be snow. and lots of it. you cannot control the decisions that the judges make about your cases. you cannot control the facts of the cases you are given. you cannot control jack's health. you cannot control your husband. you cannot control whether and when you're going to have another baby. (so please, spare everyone the mind-numbing agony of discussing it at every juncture. stop with the charting and planning and obsessing.)

this last one is the big one, so it deserves a paragraph all of its own. first, congratulations on your pure and unadulterated love of motherhood. it looks good on you. it's obvious that mothering jack brings you joy and happiness, and that is nothing short of wonderful. it's absolutely 100% great that you want to add to your family and it's even more exciting that your husband is on board. but that's where you need to be... and no further. stop obsessing over every symptom and temperature and premonition. it will happen. and when it does, it will be wonderful. until that time, enjoy the family you have. enjoy the precious son whose tiny blonde hair is getting long enough to look messy in the morning. enjoy your husband and his wicked sense of humor. sit down on the floor and play cars with your son. when you feel like perusing crazy online "ttc forums," read another book to your son. when you feel like peeing on a stick, take a walk. when you wake up pre-occupied with your temperature, roll over and kiss your husband. you are missing it! and that it will never happen again is what makes life so sweet. so please, for the love of all that is holy, and for the sake of your husband's sanity and your son's happiness, accept that you are not in control of everything. and that is okay.

go to bed earlier, set your alarm, get up... and go. to. the. gym. you will feel better about yourself and about your days. you have always loved being active, and have always prioritized your health. you cannot survive on coffee & granola bars alone. drink more water. run. sweat. do some sit-ups. you will thank me. so will your waistline.

be true to yourself. it's okay to say "no." you don't have to be everything to everyone. you don't have to be a part of every group you're invited to join. you don't have to donate to every organization that approaches you. you don't have to be something you're not. you have a really great family, wonderful friends, loyal co-workers. no one will fault you for telling the truth; "i just don't have time." don't be ashamed. remember, you're not perfect. and more importantly, people don't expect you to be.

most of all, enjoy this year. it will go by as fast as the last one did. who knows what jack will be doing next year at this time, but i certainly hope when we get there, you'll have experienced all the in-between instead of worrying, stressing or obsessing over everything else. have fun in florida. don't think about work while you're there. let jack splash in the bath. increase john's candy budget. the world does not stop because you discover stray cheerios under the car seat. get a massage. get more sleep. re-read this letter when you forget.

most of all remember - you're doing a good job! you're one crazy head case, but you're doing it. congrats! here's to a good year!

xo, your voice of reason.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful. Probably my favorite post you've ever written. LOVE it. I think you should see about having this published on a TTC blog, Natural Parents Network, or something like that. It's a great reminder for us all. :)

  2. Thank you so much, and thanks for your words of wisdom last night! :) Excited to see you Sunday and next week! xoxo

  3. i'm so proud of you steph and i'm so happy to have you as a friend.