March Forth

It’s 4:17 a.m.

I’m sitting on the coziest of couches in the coziest of rooms, drinking a steaming mug of coffee as I snuggle under a furry blanket.  Lil Mil is on the couch next to me, eyes aflutter, lost in baby dreamland.  Outside it’s a blanket of white.  Snow on the porch, snow on the trees, snow on the mountains I can just make out in the not-quite-dark.  I can’t see the sun, but I know it’s coming.

Morning is on its way.

But for now, I’m enjoying the not-yet-morning.  Those few moments when the day ahead holds every ounce of promise, when it feels like there may actually be enough hours to get it all done.  There is so much to do.  Too much.  But here, in the not-yet-morning, there is no hurry, because the day has not yet begun.  There is still time.

These moments, they end so quickly.  So suddenly.   At some point in the very near future, Lil Mil will wake up. She’ll be hungry, and I’ll feed her.  And while I’m kissing her tiny toes and nuzzling her sweaty little neck, my screen will go dark and my coffee will get cold.   Husband will emerge from the bedroom, and before long, the sun will be up and the day will have begun.  The clock will start ticking.  And before I know it, the day will be gone.

This day.  My birthday.

March fourth.

A date.

A sentence.

March forth.

A motto.  My motto.

It hasn’t always been.  Sure, if you’d asked me, I would’ve claimed it.  At 18, 21, 25.  But it didn’t fit.  Not really.

March \märch\ (v.): to move in a direct purposeful manner; to make steady progress.

Forth \ˈfȯrth\ (adv.): onward in time, place, or order.

I think it does now.

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The day I found out I was pregnant, I bought a blank notebook and wrote a letter to Lil Mil.  It was the first of 253 letters, one for each day of my pregnancy.  I wrote the last one exactly 36 weeks later, on her birthday.  I mention this because I am proud of this.  I am proud of this because I did what I set out to do.  I didn’t miss a day.  Not a single one.

If you’d asked me on Day #1 whether I’d really do it – whether I’d really write a letter every single day of my pregnancy – I would have said yes.  Absolutely.  Bobbed my head enthusiastically.  I would have done this despite the fact that, given my history with such do-this-every-day commitments (and there have been many), the odds that I’d actually stick to this one were slim.  And by slim, I mean none.

I’m not exactly sure where I got this daily-letter-to-baby idea, but I embraced it with gusto. I immediately went out and bought a new leather moleskine (despite the fact that I had no less than five empty journals in my closet). I searched and searched for just the right pen. I drafted my first letter, in which I promised the poppyseed-sized embryo inside me that I would write to him/her every day until he/she was born.

This is what I do when I latch on to an idea I like.  I run with it.   No hesitation, full-speed ahead.   No matter what the context – a night out, a workout plan, the much-needed reorganization of my bedroom closet – I always start big, with flourish and gusto, full of ideas and grand plans.  And enthusiasm!  So much enthusiasm!

Which, in the past, would typically last for roughly the first third of the activity.

Sudden fervor followed by an equally sudden loss of interest.  That was my m.o.  I’d love an idea, then I wouldn’t anymore.  I’d craft a plan, then abandon it.   Race forward, then abruptly change course.  Always on to the next thing, the next idea, the next grand plan.

But then, something changed.  One sunny May morning, I found out that I was no longer alone in my body.   There was a tiny little person inside me, a poppyseed-sized person who deserved more than just my good intentions. A person who, even at poppyseed stage, deserved to have a mom who sticks to her promises.

I wanted to be that mom. I wanted to be that woman, not just for her, but for me.

That desire, more than anything else, was the impetus for this blog.  I’ve talked a lot about the why behind this project – why a book, why now.  I didn’t want to lose my identity in motherhood.  I didn’t want to lose momentum with my writing career.  I didn’t want this detour to take me off track.  I wanted to prove that the journey through Life With A Newborn can be a creative and productive one.

But none of those reasons explain how I got from the why to the what.  Why a daily (okay, not quite daily) blog?  Why the detailed game plan, the rules, the weekly list of tasks?  Why the need for an audience?

Because I wanted to succeed.  I wanted to make the first 12 weeks 100 days of my daughter’s life the best 12 weeks 100 days of mine.  And I was afraid that I would fail.

Not by falling short of my goal, but by abandoning it.  By giving up.  By giving in to the unceasing demands of Life With A Newborn.  By convincing myself that it was too much, too soon.  By letting my fear that I can’t actually do this (a fear I work very hard not to acknowledge) keep me from trying.

In other words, I was afraid that I’d do what I do:  make a grand plan (I’ll finish my novel in the first 12 weeks of my baby’s life!), complete with sweeping promises (I’ll write daily!), and not follow through.

A reasonable concern, considering my history of well-laid but abruptly abandoned plans.

So I launched this blog.  It’s harder to quit with people watching.

But I know now that I shouldn’t have been worried.  Because that poppyseed-sized person who became a seven-pound fifteen-ounce little girl had already changed the game.  She had made this project about something else.  Something more.  And she made me into someone else.  Someone more.

Someone who sees things through.  Who sticks to her promises.  Who finishes what she starts, no matter how long it takes or bumpy the road gets.  No matter where this detour leads.

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It’s 6:28 a.m.  The sky is lighter now.   Lil Mil is awake, snuggled up on a furry blanket, just watching her mama work.  The day has begun.  This day.  My birthday.

March fourth.

March forth.

And so I will.

(If you’re new to Embrace the Detour, click HERE and HERE to read about my crazy plan.  If you have ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!  Feel free to leave a comment, send me an email at lauren at embracingthedetour dot com, or use the comment form on the right-hand sidebar).

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