I have never had a good long term memory and it has always astonished me when my sisters can recall some obscure memory from our childhood in which I draw a complete blank on - unless there was a photograph or a video of it, or unless I had written something about it down in my journal - I got nothing. Now that I have my kids, it is actually a little terrifying to know that someday they will ask me about that one time when they were little and I may not have the memory stored somewhere. That is why I have write here, and why my iPhone storage yells at me daily, and why I have always kept some kind of a journal (gratitude or otherwise). It is also why my digital photo albums contain pictures like this - because it is a snapshot of what our life looks like today. I don't want to forget that there was a time that most of our day looked like this.
Maybe because of my journal writing and then later reading, I have this somewhat deep thrill of imagining that I could speak to myself at different time periods of my life. Like I could go back and speak face to face with Tabitha at 16 when she was worried about a fight with her boyfriend Brandon and I could smile and tell her, "Hang in there honey; you just wait and see how this whole thing turns out."
Or talk to Tabitha at 21 and hug and her and say 'Thank you, I am so proud of you.' because she was the Me that applied to and accepted a move to New York City with Teach for America, that has been one of the defining moments of our life.
And maybe me and Tabitha at 22 can go back together to Tabitha at 16 and show her the engagement ring that Brandon just gave us and we could all hug and scream and jump in a circle together.
Even if I could go back and see Tabitha at 27 and whisper in her tired, in-the-middle-of-the-rotten-8-first-weeks ear and tell her to snuggle with tiny baby Greyson and smell that sweet neck as much as you can, because he is going to wiggle out and run the whole day through so soon. 'They were all right, honey, you'll blink and it'll be gone.'
There is a solace in me to know that as much as my life has changed and the things that were important to me has shifted or moved - I look back on all the versions of Me and still recognize her as a friend. Someone who I'd like to catch a drink or dessert with and laugh and compare notes with. Someone who could maybe help me remember the memories that are still yet fresh in her mind but under a few layers of dust in mind. Maybe because I think of Teenage Tabitha often and her big sweeping emotions and that belly full of butterflies - maybe that's the reason that I tend to look at my current life still with a hint of those swells and hills of feeling. (thank you for that Teenage Tabitha).
So for a future version of Me, or maybe a past version of Me that needs a reminder that things will work out - here is Tabitha at 29 and a half's current life.
Our life is very messy in all facets. We made a huge list called "THE To do List" and we have it filled up to currently 88 tasks of things that have weighing our on mind that need to get done. Things ranging from (87) take a daily vitamin to (16) refinance our mortgage to (57) clean out the chest freezer to (28) figure out iPhone storage. So far we've crossed off eleven in two weeks.
Every decision I make related to how my own time will be spent - it is weighed and measured. Will I get up early to write a blogspot or get a jumpstart on work? Should I fold these clothes (that have been sitting here for 2 days) or jump in the shower while the baby is napping?
Actually, if we're being honest here, I have not taken a proper shower in 4 days, outside of the 'hose down' after swim class two days ago. It just has not seemed an efficient use of time this week with B working such long hours.
During dinner (after the kids have thrown enough of a fit about being done), Brandon and I sit at the table to finish while the kids run around the table. Grey has always done this and now Gem has started doing it.
In the first shelf of the cupboard to the left of the sink in the kitchen I have a spare toothbrush for each kid, vitamins, lotion, and band-aids.
There has been a packing-tape road mapped out on our kitchen rug for the past 6 weeks and a box of toy cars stationed under the kitchen table. They occupy the kids at least once a day for 30 minutes - nothing else can sustain that amount of occupied-child time, except Netflix streaming on the iPad which may just be the saving grace of our current life.
Gemma is only happy if I am holding her and standing up between 5p-7p everyday. She will eat blueberries and grapes to the point that I am concerned about her poor little belly. She has a sweet tooth and if she sees someone eating sweets, she goes directly over to them and whines until the give her a piece. The girl wants what she wants and if she doesn't get it she throws a full tantrum with arms up, back arched, and a shrill scream. But when she smiles, oh my, when she smiles - you have never seen a more beautiful face than that. Even her big brother is overcome when she smiles at him, and he runs over to her and touches her cheeks softly and giggles, "Oh Gemmi girl, you're a sweetheart." She can say, Mumma, Bowl (Bullet), Booboo, Baba (Abba), Gigi, Di-Do (thank you) - but she is very best at saying Dada which introduced me to a smile on Brandon's face that I had never seen before. He walked upstairs last night after work and Gemmi happily shouted, "Dada!" and I watched Brandon's heart endure a small explosion in his chest.
Greyson thinks that skeletons and scarecrows are both called skeletons. He calls marshmallows 'marshmuffins.' He still says "Hold you" when he means he wants me to hold him. He said to me the other day, "Mum, hold you because I love you so much." He still has sleeping issues with being afraid. We've exhausted all of our efforts and have resolved to lay with him until he falls asleep and then succumbed to him coming into our bed sometime in the middle of the night. Most mornings I wake up with his foot puzzled-pieced into my neck. He knows all the curse words and will call us out if we let one slip saying, "Don't say that, its a curse." But he knows to whisper or giggle one out himself if he is in the presence of his Dad and Uncle Jonny - nothing gets them laughing like a 2 year old cursing or announcing that he has "balls - big balls." He frequents horrible growing pains in his knees where he cries, "I don't want to grow, Mumma, I don't want to hurt." Which tears at my heart because he has so much growing and hurting to do in his life.
We are tired. We are so so tired. Both from work and kids and life. For the first time in our life we drink coffee twice a day - once in the morning and again before dinner. We struggle nightly with not falling asleep with Greyson in his bed. I lost that battle last night and woke up at 1:30a only to Brandon sleeping on the couch. At 2a I was unloading and re-loading the dishwasher while B took out the garbage. Then we stayed up in bed talking about the day until 3a only to struggle again to get out of bed in the morning. It is a vicious cycle.
Brandon can still make me smile when I'm tired and make me blush with a kiss to my neck.
It is a messy and tiring life -but we recognize that it is our life right now. And with each new phrase that comes barreling out of Greyson's mouth, "We don't fight for money - we fight for HONOR!" and with each new milestone that Gemma overcomes, like sliding down the playground slide all by herself - we take a gulp that this messy, annoying, overwhelming, and very lucky life is floating by at speed that appears sometimes too slowly but more often too quickly.
Somewhere there is a Tabitha at some age yearning for this life because she can't wait to grow up or because she wishes it wouldn't have passed so quickly. I strive to be the Tabitha actually living this life that appreciates it as fully as she should each day.