The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
For this last installment of the Sling Diaries Vol. 7 I sat and tried to think of what comes to mind when I think about the word “discovery” and felt like there was so much to say, so where would I even begin? Of course I was thinking about Brighton discovering the world around her and how beautiful it is to watch and see my own world with new eyes. I thought about my trips to new cities, and new countries, where I discovered new food, new people and new cultures. But what I kept coming back to was the discovery of myself.
Before I was a mother, I thought I had life figured out. It’s not that I had my life put together, and I knew I didn't know everything, I just thought there wasn’t much more to discover. I didn’t think there was much to me, or that I had much to offer anyone. I figured I’d just move from job to job, hopefully doing something I loved if I could ever figure out what that was. Self confidence was a thing of my past; a quality that I left behind in high school before the harsh realities of life beat me down and new insecurities emerged. I became more fearful in my adulthood. I became cautious, skeptical, and unhappy with the person I was. By the grace of God, I found a man who saw through all of that and loved me still.
Marriage was an eyeopening, soul wrenching, beauty beholding mirror that I never expected. My flaws were on their greatest display and yet, the beauty I didn’t see in myself was also exposed. And then, motherhood. Where all the cliches are true. I quickly realized I had a lot more to discover about myself and the world around me than I previously believed.
As quickly as Brighton learned to walk, she learned how to tear things off the counters. She learned how to say “mama” and “dada” and now “there she is!” And “no, mine!” She will learn how to share, how to do her times tables, how to love and serve others, and some day (God help me) how to drive. She will discover new things with every passing day about the beauty of nature around her, and how to get us to laugh. As much as I wish I could prevent it, she will discover what heartbreak feels like, but she will also discover the joy of seeing new places and making new friends. The growth and discovery doesn’t stop once you’ve learned your vocabulary and how to do long division. The discovery just goes deeper. As a mother, I’m learning more about my own emotions and how to handle them in a healthy way so that my daughter will learn that too. I’m discovering that so many of my insecurities are based on lies and some of the things I care about just don’t matter. I’m discovering more about how I’m made, and what I’m truly passionate about.
A friend of mine recently turned 40 and I remember her saying she felt like she was just hitting her stride. She explained that in our 20s and 30s we have no clue what we’re doing and like a fine wine, life just gets better as time goes on. We begin to let go of the baggage, and accept ourselves for who we truly are. I turn 30 this month and I know that despite how much I’ve already learned about myself, I have so far to go. There is so much to discover in the world and I’m reminded of that every minute I spend with Brighton as she examines rocks between her tiny fingers and tastes the sand stuck on her cheeks.
Another friend of mine, while being interviewed on a podcast, was talking about the adventure of curiosity and how he wants his mind to be addicted to new experiences and being curious about the world around him. His theory is that the reason time flies so quickly in adulthood is because we stop discovering and our brains go into autopilot. We see the discovery and curiosity in our children every day; everything is new, nothing makes sense, the world around them has endless possibilities. Remember how summers as a kid seemed like they would never end? Time is slow because our minds are taking in everything around us there is to discover. I hope in my 30s I can slow my mind down to make the joy of discovery of a priority, and slow time down just enough to be present and learn.
Somedays when I think about turning 30 I feel like Rachel in “The One Where Everyone Turns 30” - desperately trying to turn back time to when I could drink Oreo shakes with no consequence and see movies without having to find a babysitter. But those days are gone and as I look ahead, I know it’s just going to keep getting better. Sure, movies are nice, and so is not having to squeeze into your jeans, but I LOVE being a wife and mother. What a privilege it is to experience life alongside the two of them, discovering all the world has to offer.