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Connecting the Dots

On Sunday, I celebrated my 25th birthday.

I had no grand plans, wishlist, or annoying countdown. For the first time, I didn’t wake my husband by jumping on the bed, shouting, “it’s my birthday!” Don’t get me wrong, I was still just as excited about it being my birthday and went to bed the night before with the same giddy butterflies I always do, but this year, I had zero expectations and was quite okay with spending the day watching soccer and eating cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

On Sunday, Eli and I woke up before everybody and found ourselves sitting out on the deck in the morning sun, sipping hot tea. I don’t know why we woke up or what made us get up immediately, but I had a longing to be outside so that I could reflect on the year and thank God for watching over me and my family. I guess, I just really wanted to be in His presence, while it was still quiet, everyone was asleep and before my phone started ringing.

Birthdays are an exciting time; I always use it to reflect on the things that have happened and plan for the new year to come but this year, I can’t help but feel like I should have done more, seen more, accomplished more, or at least should have been surer of my path, but the truth is, I have probably never been more uncertain of life than what I am right now.

When I was a little girl, my granny told me that when you don’t know what part of the Bible to read, to look at the date and read the corresponding chapter of Proverbs and Psalms (so, if today is the 20th, read Psalms or Proverbs chapter 20). It’s something I still do, especially when I have a heavy heart, am restless or just lack a sense of direction. So, on the 16th of September, I sat out on my deck, sipping hot tea, marvelling in the wonder of God, when I opened my Bible and read Proverbs 16:9 (how fitting!), which reads, “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My gran would probably call it a revelation.

We’ve had so much change in such a short period of time, with a lot being things that I considered to be consistently constant; things I didn’t ever expect to change, especially not all at once. But nothing in life is without change and in many ways, I have always welcomed it. I love the new challenges and opportunity that change brings, and while the last 2 months have been dreadfully scary, I have been comforted by the strangest sense of calm.

I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but despite everything that has been happening, I have found my anxiety and worries dissipating and instead of feeling weighed down by the fear of what is to come, I keep finding confidence in knowing that one day, I will be able to connect the dots and this will all make sense.

But right there, on my 25th birthday, in the warmth of the Spring sun, the dots were all starting to make sense.

For the last 6 or so months, I have been quite vocal to friends and family that I was unhappy. I felt like I was letting my children down and that I was in no way the mom that I had pictured myself to be. In fact, I was the furthest thing from being the woman I wanted to be.

This goes further than your typical mom guilt.

Growing up, I wanted (and still want) a huge family. I want to be old and grey, and to share the same pride and love my gran does for her grandchildren. My gran has 4 daughters, 9 grandchildren and later this week, welcomes her 6th great-grandchild. When you talk to my gran, she doesn’t talk about the hardships faced, or the incredible places her life has taken her, she talks about her grandchildren – how each one of us is so different to the next, and how proud she is of all of us.

A get-together at my family means that there are never enough chairs, but that there is always space; space for each of us, our partners, their families, and anyone else we can convince to join the madness. I want that for my children. I want the huge Christmases, the family dinners filled with awkward moments, belly-laughs, and the cries filled with “no mom, you’re embarrassing me!”

Growing up, I never really knew for sure what I wanted to be and jumped between teaching, psychology and even looked at metaphysics. I might have not known about my career path, but one thing for sure was that I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be head of the PTA and spend hours making crafts, baking sweet treats, and reading books under a tree, in the sun.

Now that I am the mom to two of the most gorgeous boys, I feel like I have failed in so many ways and for a long time, I didn’t know how to get back on track to being the person I wanted to be for my kids.

Until God established the steps.

I always knew that I was getting in my own way of being more like the mom I had hoped to be but I just didn’t know how to walk away from the pressure I put on myself to try to keep up with my blog and online platforms while juggling my own business and a full-time job – all while being a mom. The result was that I spent 90% of the time in front of my computer, and even when I was away from my PC, I wasn’t entirely switched off from work. I am ashamed to admit that I let my kids down and I failed them big time.

Losing my job and forcing myself to step away from the blog and my online platforms has really given me time to gain a new perspective. For the first time in what feels like forever, I am not a bundle of knots and anxiety. These days, my routine is flexible; I might work, I might bake, but if my kids need me to spend the whole day cleaning up their vomit, you can bet that’s what I WILL be doing.

In the last month, I have discovered so many new interests, taken up new hobbies and quite like the life I am leading. I started watching soccer and wear my team’s shirt with pride during every game. (I added seeing one of their games live to my bucket list and really hope to tick it off in the next year!) I also started baking – my husband bought me a freestanding electric mixer for my birthday – and I am pretty good at this baking stuff, so have tried something new every day! Turns out that my kid isn’t a picky eater when I am making him fresh foods each day! Oh, we also started making Halloween crafts for our Halloween party that we’ll be hosting next month – yup, I even tried a new paper mache recipe I found on Pinterest to make our ghost piñata.

During the day, while Axl is at school, I read books, bake fresh bread, and spend the morning soaking up my husband’s company. I call my mom, leave voice notes for my dad in England, and catch up with friends. I meet for coffee, invite people over, and find new places for D and me to enjoy coffee milkshakes. When Axl gets home, we spend time outside, eat lunch and talk about his day, then we make a craft or two before we start with the night time routine of dinner, bath, and bed. There’s no rush to log in to work, or worrying about whether my boss has messaged me – I get to be present with my boys, leave written notes in Axl’s lunchbox, be there to tuck them into bed, and wake them up for school.

I have given up on blogging every day and have no desire to share every single minute of every single day on my Insta Stories. I will post when I have something to share, but if I am being honest, I’d rather be getting my hands dirty while crafting a new DIY, than spend 5 hours writing about a new craft idea that I would love to try with my kids, but probably never will because I am cooped up behind my screen. And I would rather spend my Saturday afternoon braaing, swimming and watching soccer than worrying about the 200 photos I just took that need to be edited down to 5 that are good enough for posting to my grid!

I guess, that life lately has shown me what really matters, and I am choosing to focus on those things, prioritizing my happiness, and rediscovering the person I wanted to be – I am going to make 5-year old Megan proud.

It didn’t dawn on me how much simpler and happier life has gotten until I noticed that I haven’t taken my anxiety meds for almost a month and that despite being hormonal, my skin is clear. I always thought I was just prone to bad skin, but it turns out that my bad skin is stressed induced.

Don’t get me wrong, things are far from perfect, but I always think that everything will only make sense years from now, but that’s not the case. Right now, all of this is becoming crystal clear and while I am still not quite sure of my future, what I am doing and where I should be going, I am at peace knowing that God has a plan, and so far, I like that he is helping me become the mom, wife and person I always dreamt of being. Sure, getting here hasn’t been easy, but I am stubborn, and I guess God knew that it wasn’t going to be easy convincing me to change my course of action.

Whatever happens, I know that one day – it might be today, or it might only be 10 years from now – I will be able to connect the dots and know that everything had to have happen so that I could become the person I needed to be.

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  • Heather
    Posted at 11:30h, 22 September

    Dear Megan, sharing your uncertainties in different circumstances. I am glad you are appreciating the moments, that is what I am trying to do as well.

  • bychereen
    Posted at 16:12h, 21 September

    This is such an incredible post, Megan! I know we’ve spoken before how we both seem to have gone through similar trials this year, so this post was so inspiring to me personally. I also love your Gran’s strategy when it comes to read the Bible – I’d never heard this before, and am totally trying it. Starting right now!

  • An Ordinary Gal
    Posted at 09:41h, 21 September

    Sounds idyllic…..and exactly where you should be right now! That Bible passage though…WOW!