January 2010

I’m 27. I’ve been out of the pharmacy for almost a year, subbing for the school district and working for an eye clinic doing reception and data entry.

We’ve recently moved upstairs from the tiny apartment we lived in all our married life into the house Andrew’s dad and his family recently vacated. Becky and Cole, freshly married, either just moved in downstairs or are about to.

We’re about ready (after nearly six years) to start a family. I just know I’m going to love motherhood. But real quick before I do that, I want to get healthy [read: get skinny]. I decide to consume no solid foods for the entire month of January. (Spoiler: this did not work. I did it, but I lost a nominal amount of weight, which I promptly regained. Do not recommend.)

We’re a few months out from the existence of Sprout (who became Jenna).

I’m heavily involved in our church’s Saturday night service, on worship team, coordinating nursery, all the things. We narrowly avoided cancellation a few months ago, and we’re about six months out from our actual last service.

I recently turned down an invitation to a friend’s wedding on principle: she was marrying a nonbeliever and I didn’t want to somehow affirm this choice by my presence. (I’m sorry, Rhonda. That was crappy.)

Andrew and I have a little Canon Powershot that mostly he uses as he’s the only one with any photography training. Ninety percent of our photos involve a fluffy bear of a dog named Kannon who’s about a year old and hasn’t yet grown into his enormous paws.

I am annoyed by the preponderance of personal blogs. As if everybody and their mother wants to read the random thoughts going through your head.

Everybody owns a smartphone but me.

January 2020

I’m buried in a pile of children we made in the last decade. Nearly suffocating, in fact. I found out motherhood is actually a crap job and it’s horrible for my mental health, but they’re (mostly) delightful small people and they make it worth it.

I‘m not skinny—four kids later, I’m about where I was at the beginning of January a decade ago—and that weird juice fast was the last diet I ever attempted. My body and I have reached a treaty that we abide by most days. She’s done a remarkable job in the past decade of growing five children and birthing four. (Clarification: the one not birthed was an early miscarriage. I am not pregnant now.)

I have my own blog (obviously) with some 200 posts that everybody and their mother decidedly does not read, but some do. (And hello! Thank you for giving me your minutes!) I’m also on the team of a delightful collaborative blog for mamas that strives to bring grace and wisdom to the trenches. I podcast with them regularly and the five of them have become my people. All of us are meeting up for a weekend next month. I will be meeting two of them for the first time.

I got, learned to use, and outgrew my first DSLR and am getting ready to start a birth photography business with my new “big girl” camera. I’m learning from Sarah, who, ten years ago, was just starting out and hadn’t yet become my photography hero (and then photographer and then friend). The dog I used to take pictures of died a year and a half ago under maddening and tragic circumstances.

I’m homeschooling most of my kids as planned, but one of them is in public school and I’m not sure how long any of it is going to be true. Apparently I meant it when pre-parenthood Robin would expound on the decision to do what’s best for our family, for each child, each year. (I don’t know where the commas go in that sentence.)

Speaking of pre-kid Robin, that girl knew an awful lot. If only she’d talked less than and remembered more now.

I’m at the same church, though it took me three or four years to not feel some sense of weirdness over being “new,” except not at all. Now there are a litany of new challenges because we’re all sinners and we all kind of suck.

I no longer worry about whether I’m legitimizing or affirming someone else’s choice by being kind. If I use my relationship with Jesus as a reason not to be kind, then I apparently don’t know Him very well. Also? Nobody is looking to my behavior or attendance at an event to decide whether their choices are okay. (Except my kids, probably. And actually, evidence says even they don’t care how I feel about the choices they make.)

We’re still in our house and it’s gotten FULL. Andrew’s dad, who used to own it, died tragically a couple of years ago and we ended up buying it after the dust settled. Beck and Cole lived downstairs a while, had two kids, moved. Our new tenants are a sweet young couple that remind me a little bit of us 15 years ago.

the point

My life looks almost nothing like it did. The things that remain are Jesus, our house, our church, and Andrew. (I realize this is a great deal more than remains stable in a lot of people’s lives.)

My friends are different, my hobbies are different, my family is a lot different. I’ve been to a lot of therapy in that decade, dealt with a lot of crap, become somebody 27-year-old me would not have expected.

I have this tendency, even now, to believe that what I see is what there is: this is how my life is and also how it will be forever and ever. It’s bizarre and not supportable. The Lord is working in my heart to complete the work he started in me (long before 2010).

Your heart is also under construction. I’m interested to learn who we both become over the next ten years.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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  1. I LOVE THIS AND YOU and: (1) I’m sad that I missed the first six of the past ten but (2) so happy about knowing you in the past four and (3) am feeling inspired to remember my blog password and write one of these myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is awesome. Makes me want to do it. I realized very recently that I actually lost nearly everything when I got married and moved. There are no common denominators between my life now and my life then, except Jesus. Not even my country is the same. And since EVERYTHING changed all at once, and has been changing kind of constantly since then, I hadn’t ever taken stock of what a great loss I experienced. Masking it, too, was the fact that I married a really great guy who makes me super happy, and have a trio of girls who give me inestimable joy many many times a day. With all this happiness, it felt pretty myopic to spend time lamenting my old life. But now I’m thinking I probably need to. I’m seeing ways I seem stunted and hard, probably self-protecting, and this is probably somewhere in the roots of it all. The main symptoms are (1) I don’t feel loved by God and (2) I don’t feel love for other people, outside my family. So those are pretty significant, especially when you consider how I used to live. I’m now wanting to get counseling to help me crack this nut, but I have to find a counselor who is somehow licensed for overseas skyping.

    So… I guess that’s your mini-blog from me, haha. Thanks for yours! Love, Kori


    Liked by 1 person

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