working mom

Zebra Stripe Blinds

When I sit down at my home office for our daily work check in, the light comes through the blinds creating zebra stripes on my face. I try to move the laptop camera to remove the shadows, and still the sun dances through the gaps. While the team Zoom call is short, only fifteen minutes or so, I find myself quickly giving up on my attempts to create a steady flow of light on my reflection.

Searching for beauty feels these days feels a little bit like living through the blinds. Christmas and New Years passed in a blur. We spent time with family, juggled a baby and her gear between houses, and intentionally rested. Last week was only the first week back sending emails and coordinating, and I was quick to move towards overwhelm. On Sunday, during another failed nap time, I wept about all of the things my old-self would have accomplished. The shadows of shoulds seem to be drawing lines, keeping me from fresh morning light.

Yet still, I’ve been ruminating on the joys of baby being witness to the mundane. Piles of burp clothes and bottles in the sink feel less than glamorous. However, the noise makers on the floor mix with tiny socks and colorful books, reminding me of the gift of a child so many others long for. How quickly these days will pass. I want to be present for them when I can.

A friend recently shared how passing into a new year used to fill her with melancholy. The aches of what could have been and fears of what might be in the year ahead shaded an attitude of possibility and creativity. On December 31st, I wasn’t feeling sad for what could have happened in 2022. We packed in a lot of life in those 365 days. I did, however, feel a bit of dreadful wonder at what may be this year. There are many unknowns on a clean slate. I’m so good at filling blank pages with catastrophe.

Much like the mixing light on my face in the mornings, I want to approach 2023 with an openness rather than foreboding. I didn’t set a resolution. Instead I’ll be focusing on the mantra, “Uncertainty doesn’t mean bad things are going to happen.” I’ll hold space for the negative possibilities (Hello. My name is Katie and I’m prone to anxious and catastrophic thoughts). And I’ll also intentionally move to let more light in.

When responding to a birthday invitation I recently sent out, a friend shared, “Thank you so much for including me. One more step back to “normal.”  Feels fun and also weird, doesn’t it?” 

Choosing to live in the light is fun, and after the last few years, it is weird!

So here’s to more time in the ball pit my baby received for Christmas. More invitations for brunch. More connection. More reminders that hospitality and caring for one another may be more important than promotions or the next big project. Here’s to reviving the sourdough, playdates in the park, and hugs for our childcare providers. Here’s to redefining the possibilities in uncertainty and in the handholding when things feel shaky.

Here’s to the continued search for beautiful things and the reminder that letting in the light, despite the shadows that may come, is a beautiful thing.