I have been thinking a lot lately about growth. I realise a lot of that has to do with the fact that my face, arms, love handles, and butt are all growing at an alarming rate. for some reason my legs have stayed exactly the same size. I am cursed with chicken legs forever as the rest of me grows large enough to fill a small house. but physical growth makes me think of other types of growth as well. My family is growing, my life is changing and growing in new and amazing ways. Am i growing emotionally and mentally enough to keep up with it? I have an awful tendency to get stuck in a year, or a time, or an experience that I really loved and enjoyed...and then try to live in that particular moment long after the moment has passed. am I doing that now or have i actually grown? am i still in the process of growing? Have I grown ‘up’ enough to actually handle the responsibility of motherhood and real adult life? Or does the fact that I still daily want to move to Australia and open up a hostel mean that I am still irresponsible?
poised with those questions, i am reflecting back on the last 9 years. Since February of 2000; what have i come from? have i changed? have i learned? have i really grown?
At this point I am still in High School...woo hoo Metro Christian Academy! Whilst I really have no idea exactly what happened in February, I do know that the late winter/early spring was one of the most challenging times of my high school career. Now I look back on the time with a smile and a slight shake of my head, thinking, really Kristina? was is that big of a deal? Then I thought my world was over. My boyfriend who I had dated for the better part of 3 years, whom I was convinced I was in love with, broke up with me that spring. We were seniors, we were supposed to go to prom, it was suppose to be the best year of my life. But no, he dumped me and started 'dating' my chemistry lab partner. WHO WAS 14! Man talk about an awkward time in chem class. But to make it even worse, whenever he was confused about what to do with her, where to take her etc.. he would call me and ask me for advice. on his new girlfriend. yeah, it was not the best time. vodka became my friend. we were good friends. it was not a healthy relationship.
My first year of college. Ah, good ole' JBU. I loved it. and i am well aware that what I am about to write will make me sound even more pathetic considering the last February was also about a boy....but this February i was dealing, not very well mind you, but dealing with another break up. This was a break up that most definitely should have happened. this was not the best relationship for either one of us. But what made that hard for me to realise was that when we broke up, HE said that we should not talk. I DID NOT respect that in any way. I thought it was a stupid idea. I thought he was stupid for suggesting it. and instead of dealing with it and moving on. well, I was stupid. I made a big deal out of it. the situation divided our friend group for a while. and I immediately moved on to another relationship. the ex's accountability partner. hmm. nice choice eh? I also thought it would be a good idea to shave my head in rebellion to all boys. yeah, cause that is always a good idea. I wimped out at the last minute and ended up with hair cut above my ears. not cool. so looks like not a huge amount of growth in those two Febs...
Sophomore year. a great year. I loved this year. I was living with Jacki at this point, eating at Market Place at least twice a week, chick-fil-a probably more. Stef and I became great friends this year. I was teaching Sunday school and realising even more my love for little kids. This was a good February. It was this time I was growing my love and appreciation for rugby, the sport that would 3 years later bring me to my husband. I remember this February as a time of great self realisation, great joy, great peace and some real growth. I was actually feeling strong in who I was and what I was supposed to be doing. This February resulted in one of the best summers of my life to this day. thanks Tara.
Hmmm....this was an interesting time. They always warn you; they always say to be on your guard because when you are truckin' along, lovin' jesus....you will be attacked. and i was. and i failed. miserably. this was one of the hardest and most life changing years of my life. I remember exactly what happened in February of 2003. I will not share the details, but lets just say that vodka became my friend again. i still had not realised that it would never be a healthy relationship.
A good year. a good time. senior year. February of 2003 led to the 'growth sprut' in the summer of 2003. Which led to a fantastic senior year. a fantastic February 2004. Lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of rugby. and independence. that is the most crucial that i remember from this February season. no boy to fall back on, no vodka to befriend. my, Jesus and my friends. it was good. maybe I am growing after all.
Grad school. my first year. This February, the 11th to be exact, I booked my tickets for New Zealand for the summer. This February changed my life. I declared my official thesis topic. I picked my direction. and I was headed to New Zealand. completely alone.
back in New Zealand. I wish there was another way to describe what New Zealand was for me other than 'life changing' Sadly all the ways i can come up with to explain the two trips down to the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' sound cheesy and cliche. It changed my life, I truly found myself, I discovered my independence, I found what I was made for, I was truly happy for the first time...and on and on... But all of those sentences are true. It was fantastic. It was amazing. It was full of reflection, self analysation, tears, sweat, laughter, reading, praying, journaling and growth. I am who I am today because of New Zealand. February 2006 gave me a huge piece of myself that, writing this now, I feel prepares me for the child I am about to bring into the world.
Tulsa, engaged to Rhys (thanks New Zealand) planning a wedding. teaching adorable little preschoolers. hanging out with Brandi. Loving everything there was to love about life. this was a fun February, but a neutral February. I can remember nothing of note, nothing of huge significance that makes this full of strife or full of growth. It was normal life.
the 18th of this month was my 6 month wedding anniversary. Living in London, learning how to be a wife, working a 'real' job, commuting, meeting new people,...it was hard. it was like I was a new pot of play-do, who was being poked and prodded all the while being made into something great...but I was only feeling the pokes. Rhys and I went to Frankie and Bernie's for our anniversary dinner. It was great. I knew, even though it was just 6 months of married life, that Rhys was the most perfect man in the world.
So here I am. this month. today. the 25th. Have i grown? Can i look back at the past 9 February's and see what I have come from, what I have come out of? Granted this was probably not the most interesting thing to read, but this little 'reflection exercise' was quite beneficial to me. It is interesting to look back, see the pit falls and short comings of the past years; see what I had a tendency to fall back on. and now...now I can see what I have to look forward to. thank goodness I now have inner strength and self assurance. That I no longer rely on the outer circumstances to make me, me. But thank goodness I had those experiences to get me where I am today. From high school, through college, grad school, and several countries....I am now here. preparing to be a mother. and i am ready. I can look back and know. I am ready. But more than that, I am ready for the rest of life. I know that I can handle it. and that is a good feeling. 9 February's behind me.