Thirty-four years new

I’m celebrating my thirty-fourth birthday. As a parent, I love watching my kids enjoy their birthdays. They’re thrilled by all the “new” that is coming their way: Five means getting ready for Kindergarten; thirteen means you fit in that teenager category, no longer a kid; and sixteen means new independence and the possibility of driving.

So what’s so new about thirty-four?

Those big milestones I dreamed of as a child? They’ve happened. I’m married. I’ve bought my first house (and second). I’ve birthed and adopted children. And now I’m quite settled in all of those areas. I’m in my one and only marriage, my one complete family, and we feel called to living in this one house in this one neighborhood for as long as we can.

But I’m a new-chaser.

I suffocate in routine. I hardly do anything the same way twice. If I’m not dreaming about what is to come and seeking the new, then there’s a good chance I’m feeling sad and despondent.

Is it possible to grow deep roots and keep firm lifelong commitments and not lose that ache in my soul for wonder and delight, adventure and surprise?

I have to believe that the new is still right in front of me. Maybe it’s underneath and inside everything beautiful I already have.

In my marriage, there’s another person who I will keep discovering and learning about each day. We’ll keep growing up and growing back together and daring to believe that inside the other there is still mystery and depth and a well of love to be explored.

In motherhood, well, there are never two days the same, but I still must determine to see the gift in each day, to see the new in the ways I’m able to love them and the ways I can learn from them. It’s easy to harden as a mother, to develop a stuffy disposition with the disappointments and the fears and the hurts that come at us. Yet these challenges are also the very points where I can be made new, where I can learn to see them a little better, to love them a little deeper, to step into a fuller, more complete version of myself as their Mom.

And in my neighborhood? This little patch of earth where I’ll spend my life investing in community? Maybe there are hidden gifts here, too.

I took my Sunday walk this weekend, a rhythm I’m learning to embrace, as I’ve slowly caught on that there’s new in the ordinary. As I entered the bluff trails, coming around the bend that would reveal the valley below, spring surprised me. The sun had found its way through to our Spokane winter, and the earth had thawed and was making room for new life.

There was new underneath my feet, just waiting for me to notice.

Lauren Goldbloom makes a life as a mother of six, wife of one, and neighbor to many. She practices the art of neighboring around her big dining room table, where there’s always room for more friends and more stories.

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