I recently read the fiction novel by Laine Moriarty, “What Alice Forgot”. In the novel, Alice, 39 years old with three children and a failing marriage, has a freak head injury and wakes up thinking it’s 10 years prior, when she was happily in love and expecting her first child.
The book was a page-turner. Laine Moriarty has a way of weaving humor and fun into hard story lines. More than anything, this book had me thinking about my own life.
How can 10 years change a person?
In the story, Alice changed quite a bit in 10 years. Her situation was much different, yes, but Alice the ‘person’ was also much different. As she journeyed through those tough days, she learned about the Alice of today and many times was baffled and appalled at what was revealed.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story because it was a great read. Check it out of the library! (I’m a big library buff these days.)
TEN seems to be a number that’s been swirling around me. It’s been 10 years (a little over) since we first moved to Georgia from Pennsylvania. It’s been 10 years since I became a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom. It’s been 10 years to the day that I gave birth to at 10 pound (on the nose) baby boy.
I’ve changed A LOT in 10 years.
Since reading about Alice, I’ve spent time thinking about that. Some circumstances have changed. Some of my roles have changed. But how have I changed as a person? Has the change been good or not so good?
Alice found the person she had become in many ways wasn’t as true as the 10 year younger version of herself. Is the same true for me? I think it’s a bit of the opposite. I think I’ve become a truer version of myself.
I wouldn’t say this journey has all been filled with peaches and roses. It surely hasn’t. I’ve had love, hurt, pain, sadness, exhaustion, laughter, depression, anxiety, drive & rest. I’ve made good friends and lost good ones too. I’ve had thoughts I regret and said words I regret. I’ve been jealous. I’ve compared myself to others. I’ve been over-confident and also highly insecure. I walked away from some friendships for selfish reasons. I’ve felt desperation over friendship. I’ve struggled with acceptance. Sounds like a bumpy, noisy road.
I also have grown up. I’ve had courage to walk away from people and things that are no longer serving me. I’ve used my voice, even in times when it’s shook. I’ve been vulnerable & authentic. I’ve grown in my marriage and as a mom. I’ve found a faith and a trust in a God and Savior that I knew of, but really didn’t know. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have ever said that I had a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. Today, I can say that I do, and that to me, is the best change of all.
Have you ever driven over rumble strips? If you haven’t heard of them, the actual definition of rumble strips are “a series of raised strips across a road or along its edge, changing the noise a vehicle’s tires make on the surface and so warning drivers of speed restrictions or of the edge of the road”. Pennsylvania roads are always under construction (and full of potholes, by the way – blame the snow, ice & salt) and rumble strips were a frequent sound we heard while traveling. I remember a time when I was probably about 10 years old myself. We would travel about 15 minutes north of our home to visit my Uncle, Aunt & cousins. This journey was not far away, mind you, but the rest of my family all lived within 2 minutes of each other, so really, this was a trek for us. There were rumble strips placed off of the exit for Brighton Township, as they were doing construction work. I can see (and hear) my great grandmother, my Nonna. She spoke very broken-English and her ‘R’ sound was definitely a rolling-r. Rrrrrrrumble streep. I loved when she said it. I used to make her say it again. We’d giggle. Oh how I loved my Nonna.
Without driving over the rumble strips, how would we appreciate the silence and feel the contentment of the smooth road?
Yesterday, my baby boy, on his last day of being nine, said in a moment of frustration, “You just don’t understand me!” I broke down – because we all want to be understood. I want to be understood. And more than anything in this world, I want my babies to feel understood.
It was a rumble strip.
Today, he woke up a 10 year-old. A bright smile, soft skin, sweet cheeks, squinty eyes… I felt the contentment of the smooth road.
We have to find thanksgiving in the rumble strips of life. Without them, we wouldn’t savor the joy.
Jeff came downstairs this morning and gave Austin a huge hug and a kiss on the forehead.
“I wondered how different you would look this morning since you’re 10!”
He smiled. Giggled.
He posed for a picture by the big cupcake and cuddled on the couch with me.
If I have one prayer for this boy, it’s that he knows joy.
10 years old. 10 pounds. Hardest day of my life by far. But I had to go over that rumble strip to know the love that he could bring.
Ten years can change a person. The next ten, God willing, will continue to change me. But with my roots growing deeper in the love of Christ, I pray that I can find the joy in the most difficult times.