The Year I Was 31

Me, on the day I turned 31. Taking Fae to the doctor for her hand foot and mouth. Remember that?

This year I started flossing more than I have ever flossed ever in my life. I don’t know why it is such a hated task, but it is a hated task and I have dragged my feet for 31 years…. WELL NO LONGER.

What else happened to me this year? This year was the first year since 2013 that I was not pregnant nor was I nursing. I just did the math on that and yes, that is true. Pregnant at 27, nursing at 28, pregnant at 29, nursing at 30. 31 = not pregnant, not nursing!

The day after I turned 31, we took our first and only full family trip on a plane! To Miami!

We rented a van, stayed in a hotel on the beach, swam in the ocean, hung out with family, the babies were loved on, and I held a baby alligator!

I do try to be mindful of challenging activities and adventures that scare me. Even if I have less time to do stuff like that, I want to always try. Alligator-Check!

The summer involved lots of celebrations for Claire’s upcoming wedding, lots of get togethers with babies, Fae’s baptism and first birthday! For me that meant party planning, outfit finding, and lots of very long email chains with many many details.

It was a spring and summer of house hunting which was one of the most challenging experiences of my adulthood. It was stressful and emotional and tested all of my “sharing my life with another person” limits. It was 6 months of compromise and arguments and hope and disappointments and meetings and viewings and debate. I spent the majority of the time super annoyed by Kamel, super grateful for our agent Alicia, and completely oxygen deprived from holding my breath for so long. I think Kamel spent the majority of that time completely in love with me, obviously.

And then we bought a house.

We closed at the very end of August and that exact weekend was Claire’s bachelorette party! That I was in charge of planning alongside Maris! So, still covered in paint I hauled my butt downtown to get the party started.

Some of my most fulfilling moments this year have been surrounded by women. Some of the most at peace moments. The times where I feel the most solid. I am so lucky.

It’s really difficult for me to make these birthday posts about MY year and MY growth and not everyone I know’s year, my children’s year, my marriage’s year. It’s hard to remember that along with all of these events there I was … growing and being and experiencing and reacting and feeling.

I am not where I want to be as a human person yet. But I am much closer than I ever have been. I really love who I am, but I want more for me. More compassion, more kindness, more patience, less neediness, more balance. More calm. I’m working on it. Always.

This year I got a legit home office.

With the first desktop I have EVER OWNED AS MINE. The last desktop I had was our family computer when I was in high school! Also my office doesn’t look like that anymore. It has a ton of crap in it. Some to cut down on the echo + sound panels all over the walls, and other crap just because.

Then Claire got married!!!

It was the danciest wedding ever! So fun!

Then Kamel had surgery and that was really hard and upsetting.

It was so incredibly difficult and scary seeing him so vulnerable, and it wasn’t even THAT bad. It was a long recovery, but it wasn’t like he got into an accident or something. So maybe that was just the warm up to the other “in sickness and in health” shit that will inevitably befall us.

And then Margaret and Jeff got married and I went to that without Kamel because his surgery healing was way more intense than we had been lead to believe.

And it was so beautiful and so fun and such amazing food. I’m so proud of both of them.

And then like a week later Kamel, my dad, and I went to Kamel’s cousin Carlos’s wedding outside Mexico City!

It was the year of weddings that were not my own and it was super beautiful.

Trump was elected president and there will forever be a before and after. For me it would be downplaying it beyond reason to say it was a “wake up call.” I actually find that to be incredibly condescending. It created a space for me where I will never stop being angry. The world is a hostile place and something fell off the shelf inside me, to quote Zora Neale Hurston. There is a darkness inside me. Sometimes it fuels me and sometimes it causes me great despair. I am disappointed by the world and its suffering. I am disappointed by the smallness of humankind. By the pettiness. And I have been forsaken by people who hold up mothers as the ideal but so easily throw away women. We are so easily thrown away. I will not be someone’s garbage and I will not allow anyone else to be either.

November also brought the baptism of my goddaughter, Ellen!

Then we spent Thanksgiving in Canada with Maris.

I am so grateful to have a rich and diverse and loving family. People who willingly encourage our chaotic mini families to collide. We are really lucky.

After really putting a hold on travel because we were saving for a house, this last year we splurged on trips. After the election I immediately started planning to march in DC, a city I had never been until January. I am very lucky to have landed Sarah’s couch and to have so many fantastic friends in the DC area who held my hand through the march and squeezed me when tears fell down my face at seeing the immense crowds of people just like me, who had been hurting for months just like me, who were scared just like me.

In February, Kamel and I took a solo trip to Miami to visit our new niece LOLA! We stayed with my SILs, Regina and Lara, and it was so NICE to be there without the kids. I actually really love traveling with the kids, but it is also cumbersome and a lot of work. It was really important to us to be flexible while visiting the newest addition to the family. I didn’t want it to be about our kids (it is ALWAYS about our kids) and I wanted it to be about spending time with Kamel’s sisters and parents and baby Lolita!

I also got to see MANATEES for the first time! They surrounded us while we were in a kayak paddling around and it was AMAZING!!

And! Regina gifted me three more tattoos while I was there. Here are two of the new ones (and two of the usual ones).

In March we started a very unplanned renovation project when our dishwasher leaked all through our floors and into our crawl space. And is still an ongoing journey even today! Weee! (But you know what? It has helped make this home feel more OURS and that has been a major boon.)

March was also all about Gabe’s birthday!

And, of course, Vegas!

And now here we are. That was a year in the life of me. Not to mention: Christmas, the millions and millions of weekend activities and hours spent entertaining the kids, the books I have finally started reading again in the last 4 months, and billions of sentences I have edited, approved, or rewritten for my job in educational publishing. This is also the year I turned my hair blonder! But I am now on the precipice of more hair changes. I am the most fulfilled I have ever been with the fewest amount of down time hours. I continue to feel overwhelmingly grateful.

32. Boom.

3 thoughts on “The Year I Was 31”

  1. Somehow I missed this post around your birthday time… I love this year in review!!! WOW what a busy year you have had! But a great one! I continue to be so blessed and happy to be a part of your life and your family!!! Love you Lauren!

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