Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

It’s my birthday today (well, technically yesterday), and it’s been a wonderful one.  I love birthdays – a chance to spend time with loved ones, reflect on the meaningful moments from the previous year, and dream about the year that lies ahead.  I feel particularly reflective lately as I adjust to living in a new state with a different daily routine: more time for writing, reading, teaching, and consulting, and a new schedule of caring only for my own young children.

This post is my birthday gift to myself – it’s not explicitly about parenting or educating young children, but rather, it’s a reflection on life’s fullness in the midst of this season of change.

Bison, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

In the last weeks, our family drove from Iowa City to Northern California leisurely, stopping at national parks, and camping our way through Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  We made the final 9 hour stretch of the drive through the night – kids tucked soundly in their car seats as my husband and I took turns through the northern Nevada desert.  We were anxious to be home, weary of setting up our tent in a new campground every night, and eager for a shower and a mattress.

I love driving at night and on that particular night, a nearly full moon accompanied our journey.  During my early morning stretch from two to four, I watched the moon set over the western horizon, and sensed acutely the weight of this new chapter in my life.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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As the darkness wrapped tightly around our car, I embraced the friends and loved ones we left in Iowa in that grieving place deep within my spirit.

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As the night sky lightened, I considered the items we chose to pack in our truck, and those we left behind.

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As the moon grew large before it slipped behind the mountains, I touched the shadows of our new daily rhythm, still unrealized, but hanging low on my horizon.

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And as our car pulled into our new driveway, I held with gratitude the other sleepy passengers in my car, who will embark on this new adventure with me.