Monday, June 23, 2008

Who is that girl?

I have a picture of Cameron and I from last January on my desk at work. I look at it every single day and am often reminded of our engagement since that is why we had them taken. I also have a picture of us on the top of a double decker bus for Karyn Mann's birthday party back in 2006... long before the word marriage (or nairn) ever came up in conversation between us. Most of the time those pictures just bring a smile to my face, but the other day I looked at them and thought, "Who is that girl?"
It's not the bangs or even the swelling belly that made me wonder. It just seemed that I almost didn't recognize her. It hasn't been that long since these pictures were taken, but a lot has happened since then. I got married, turned 30, celebrated a 1-year anniversary and will become a parent in less than 6 weeks all in the span of about 16 months. That's a lot of big events in a short amount of time, but not something entirely novel in life considering all the big events that take place over the course of a lifetime. However, as I look back on the person I was only a short 18 months ago and the person I am today when I look in the mirror... they seem like 2 different people.

I loved dating Cameron. It was so much fun. I loved visiting him at Homestead where he worked and I could eat as many peanut M&Ms as I wanted while we watched movies on the big screen, played pool or games with friends. Sometimes I slept on the couch while Cameron worked just so I could be near him. I loved taking him to work on occasion when he changed jobs and started working downtown. I would meet him on the platform at 96th street and ride downtown and walk him to Cut 'n Run. I would leave him at the door dreading turning around and walking away because I wasn't sure when I would get to see him again because he worked insane hours. I loved being engaged because it was so easy and lovely. There was no one I would have rather been with on any given day than Cameron... I still feel that way. There may have been some moments of stress while we were engaged, but for the most part I enjoyed every minute knowing that it was only a short period of time. Once the engagement was over, there would be no return to that part of our life.

I loved being a newlywed, moving 3 times in a month, setting up house, going running in the park, never being very far away from each other and still loving being together as often as we could. There was no transition period from single to married because it all just happened so naturally with such ease. I have often contemplated whether starting a family so quickly was really the best choice or if we should have waited and enjoyed just being together for a little longer, but at the end of the day we did what we both felt was right because we knew something was missing from our little seedling of a family. So when I look at that girl in the picture, I see someone who probably had things planned out a little differently in her mind. She might be a little surprised to see herself 18 months away with a baby on special order scheduled to arrive before the end of the summer. When I look at that girl in the photo I see someone who had plans for a lot of things in her life, but when she looks back at me in the mirror I know she has grown up. That doesn't mean that she gave up her plans but only that unexpected possibilities and gifts have fallen in her lap and caused a change of course.

I am a worrier by nature. I worried about being pregnant, but I seem to have made it through so far with little drama or crisis. I worry about labor, but it's an inevitable end to the pregnancy whether I like it or not, so there is no point in wasting energy worrying about it. I worry about being a mother and parent and trying to teach and take care of this little person the way I want to and know I should but what new parent doesn't? I worry about whether I will be able to handle the demands of motherhood, being a good wife and best friend to my sweetheart, working and still maintaining some sense of my unique identity. I worry about how things will change and whether I am really prepared for such a change, especially with the love of my life. He knows it's not about nairn or being excited for his arrival. Cameron knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He knows that it's just hard to let go of that girl from 18 months ago and embrace the one in the mirror.

As we walked in the park last night enjoying one of New York's finest summer evenings, we stood near the Conservatory Garden looking up at a tree lined grassy hill watching all the fireflies lighting up. They are truly one of God's most magical creatures and seem to make any summer night romantic and calm. They remind me of happiness, and as we watched these little creatures of gold flicker on and off, Cameron reminded me that the girl in the picture is still the one standing next to him. She's the one he fell in love with and married and falls in love with every day. So today when I look at that picture on my desk, I recognize her. Sometimes I miss her, but as happy as she looks, she has no idea how happy she's going to be. Sometimes life just happens so fast that it seems I have forgotten to be a participant. But this is my life, and this is all my choosing. And as much as I love where I have been, I am more interested in where I am going.


whitney williams said...

you always find a way to elequently say the things I feel sometimes. I love reading your blog and especialy this post. Thanks! You will for sure make the best MOM...and don't worry everything just falls into place, and you will find the strength and love within yourself that you never knew existed!

Sarah said...

Nikki, you write what I am thinking and can never articulate. You are really talented. I loved reading your thoughts. Thank you for sharing. I completely relate!

Heather said...

you need to write a book!!! that was one of the sweetest post i have ever read. maybe i am hormonal, but that i needed to hear that. you are too cute for me! i often look at pics from the good old days in nyc, remember the 4th of july @ chinks house? that seems like forever ago. good time!!

Beth, Cody and Morgan said...

Great post. It is amazing how fast life can change and how your "plans" for life can change. I'm so glad you guys found each other and that you are getting ready for the next big adventure together. I know you'll both be fantastic parents!

familia Bybaran said...

That is a beautiful post. I often do that when I look at pictures of myself before marriage or children or whatever. It's amazing how much life changes you in ways you didn't expect or plan. I am glad you and Cameron moved into our ward so that I could get to know you. I know that you will be a wonderful mother.

Sarah L. said...

Oh honey it has only just begun. Kids change you more than anything else in this world. They have just the right "gifts" or personalities to push you to every limit and then you have to learn to be a better person. It is the best because it is all done with love. I'm excited for you.

Thanks, I'm glad you like my new house. I have loved working on it and we still have soooo much left to do. Doing projects are double hard when the kids are around. And after you deliver the baby, you will be so tired from not sleeping and from the recovery. My advice would be to just relax and get done what you can now and then just enjoy your baby. Then when you get around to finishing the stuff you can. Your first is so special. You will love it. I miss you. Good luck with the labor and delivery

Stephanie said...

I love this post, Nikki! And I love the girl I see in every picture. Dating all the way back to the days when we had to pose on the front steps of the clubhouse on Lake Michigan in our Tuesday night dinner dresses. xoxo

McLeod Clan said...


thank you for this post. I needed to hear some of the things that you wrote in it and the way you wrote it is just perfect. You are truly an amazing writer.