It has been a little over a month of living in Orange County, and it's just finally starting to sink in. We have been back and forth between San Diego and then spent a week in Hawaii, so this was really my first week up here without anywhere to be or anything to do.
A few weeks ago was our first time at church because we've been out of town every weekend and I was teary-eyed from the moment we were parking to the moment I left. (Ok, I've actually been emotional all day.) It hit me that this is real. We were searching for the toddler classroom to drop off Brighton, looking for a new place to sit, not recognizing any faces, and it hit me that this is our new Sunday routine. Then Pastor Rick did an incredibly moving tribute to the Veteran's in the room and that made me even more emotional. I mean seriously, any military tribute can make me cry. After church, we went to lunch at a ramen place (which is legit and amazing), but that made me emotional because Sundays are usually when my family gets together for lunch. In the evening, they face timed us and they were all together and I had major FOMO. #emokid #copeland
To be honest, this transition is rough. Becoming a stay at home mom, in a new neighborhood is not easy. And plus, 16 month olds are ROUGH. Don't get me wrong, Brighton has seriously been a dream child. She is happy, a great sleeper, eats well ... but this age is just non stop. She is fussier than usual, and constantly wants my attention. Anytime I try to do anything, she is right there, tugging on my legs and whining. Jon has been out of town this week, so by Friday I found myself feeling extremely alone. As I was driving to meet with a friend, I was listening to a podcast and the host was introducing her new cohost who was sharing how she has a 16 month old who is "there all the time." She started to share what an average day for her looks like, and I breathed a sign of relief as I remembered that I'm not alone, and my 16 month old is not the only one who is a little extra needy, testing the boundaries, and makes me feel like I say "no thank you" all day long.
Man do I need grace for myself in this new season. Grace to say, "I don't need to be and do it all." I have never been a stay at home mom before, and I don't need to have it all figured out in 1 month. I also need to give myself grace if I'm not the crafty mom, or the the homeschooling type mom, or the mom who has every day planned to a T. Every mom is different, every baby is different, and I have to give myself grace to discover who I am as a mom and not who I think I should be. I need to give myself grace to fumble through this new learning curve in motherhood. I need grace to fumble around creating an entirely new community (which, by the way is extremely difficult when you are introverted and your days are determined by your toddler). We all just need more grace. More grace for me, more grace for you ... and you get grace, and you get grace and you get graaaacceee (channel Oprah here).
While we were in Hawaii, Brighton was watching something on my phone while we were at dinner (something we never allow) because her body clock was off with the time difference and she was losing in at the dinner table. And honestly, we were just trying to enjoy our last meal on the island. Of course, we hardly enjoyed the dinner because iPhone or not, we still had an exhausted and emotional 16 month old and on top of that I was feeling like a terrible parent because she was on my phone. But I had to remind myself, "this is not the norm, she's not on your phone all the time." And I thought of all the parents I silently judge because their kids are on screens and realized I need to give them grace too.
Being a mom is really hard work. I spend the entire day trying to entertain and keep a human alive, and then when Jon comes home I just want to shut off, but I need to get a second wind because now, I need to be a good wife to him. I'm not complaining, I honestly love it. I love being a mom and I love being a wife, and I want to be good at both. But it's just reality that it's exhausting! So right now, I'm learning to have grace for myself and learning when to say "no" so I can say "yes" to the right things. And when I think about it, we are ALL trying to figure life out no matter what stage we are in. To the newlywed, you go girl! You figure marriage out and give yourself grace because living with someone isn't easy! To the mom with multiple kids, you go girl! I'm exhausted with 1 so I can't imagine 4, so more grace and more power to ya as you figure out carpools and extra circulars and your own personal sanity. Grace grace grace.
This is just the beginning of a really exciting adventure. But adventures are still messy. Adventures have twists and turns and ups and downs. They have their grapevine on the I5 going through Bakersfield when you want to turn around and they have their accidental side road discoveries full of deer and orchards. So right now, even though I feel like I'm driving through mud, I just have to keep my eye out for the little bits of magic that are revealed each day, and remember that this is just the beginning, and there is so much in store.