This post was first written in July 2017 - while I was pretty pregnant and anticipating the birth of my first child. I knew that I wanted to 1 - get back to blogging, and 2 - find a way to share my corner of motherhood. It took me awhile to figure out my format, but here are my first words.
If you know me well, you might also know that I love the number 11. If you are family, and know me super well, you might even be aware that I love odd numbers over even, and will go out of my way to set my alarms, the microwave, or choosing any number that tends to end with either 1,3,7 or 9. 5 works, but can be a bit round, so if it can be avoided, it will be. But again – back to the number 11.
I have loved that number always, it helps that I am born on the 11th of January, so 1.11 or 11.1, depending on where you are from. Even my birth year is 83 (8+3=11). I know, its weird... but when your brain is one that picks apart numbers, and rearranges them while you try to put yourself to sleep at night, you can't help but do the same with very significant numbers like your birthday. Speaking of, I also tend to focus on the number I am turning, and whether it will be a good year or not. 32 – didn't mean too much, but 33... well, since its a multiple of 11, it must be an important year. And that it was... in fact, I want to take you back a little bit. Every year which has fallen on the multiples of 11 have been a pretty circumstantial and important year in my life so far.
Let's start when I was 11. When I turned 11, we had just pulled our car into the great state of Illinois, to make our new home there. I harbored even a bit of resentment because we spent my birthday getting ready for the moving truck to arrive the following morning at our new house in Palatine. My birthday gifts that year consisted of what I could find in Target (at the time Target wasn't big in IL, but we found one!). I got this amazing red sweatshirt pajama dress, and a new Cubs baseball hat. Two gifts that made me happy for years to come. (My husband proudly sports the hat around still today!) I think maybe we ate pizza, but mostly I can remember getting carsick on the way to the house the following morning. The day in itself was ok – but in the year ahead, a lot of things happened. That January, we experienced our first snow days, and finally made it to Winston Campus for the first day at our new school. I met friends there in 5th grade that are still friends of mine now. In 6th grade I started the year with an epic “Student Council President” campaign speech, and won the election. It was somehow a restart, but in a good way, not to say that I even needed or wanted one. I know 5th grade can be an unstable year to take your kid out of class and move them across the country, but luckily for me, I adjusted well, made lots of friends and was happy to settle in this new place. (I also started my period that summer marking my official road to womanhood, had an unhealthy addiction to reading as many books I could get my hands on, and discovered the beauty of exploring the Chicago suburbs by bikes with friends – very different from the AZ I came from)
Jump forward 11 years – and I am 22. Yes, 22, sandwiched between 21 and 23, which are both pretty rad numbers. 22 sounded lame, but again, as the multiple of 11, it had a chance. When I was 22, I finished out my last semester in Winona State University, and really enjoyed myself and the last classes I was taking. That summer I moved my stuff home to Palatine again, and worked away like a crazy person in Panera Bread Company. When August rolled around, I got onto a plane and flew across the Atlantic to Dublin, the first of my family to go – and I was excited as hell. I would spend the next 4 months there, completing my student teaching in Bray, a little town south of Dublin. This semester would change my life forever, especially being that it confirmed my love for travel, it made me fall in love with Ireland, and it allowed me to see what teaching and life could be like outside of the US. I made it to London, Rome and Amsterdam on weekend trips while I was there – and went home in December eager to return. At least by the end of the year, I was a college graduate and excited to take on the world (and continuing to earn extra cash at Panera in the meantime).
Jumping forward the next 11 years... and yes, I turned 33! In the meantime, I traveled, I studied more, I taught, moved abroad, taught and traveled and challenged myself some more... But now, I'm 33! As you can imagine, I had been looking forward to turning that number for most of the time I was 32. On the night of my birthday – my guy, now husband, proposed to me. Funny thing is, that he hoped to do it earlier, but circumstances happen as they do, and fate instead turned it into the perfect kickstart to my year of 33. In March, I was home for a long weekend with my family to celebrate my parents 35th wedding anniversary, and was given the glorious news that my sister was having a baby – and I would be an aunt! Everything went pretty quick from there. We planned a wedding, got married in a lovely town in Italy and then again at a castle in the countryside surrounding Berlin. We finally got away for a bit to Morocco in October, and came home to celebrate the arrival of my niece, Fionnula Margaret, and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series the following week! We had set up a proper home together, gone on some lovely trips and were planning another one to Florida at Christmas. If this year could not have become anymore important... we found out just before the holidays that we were pregnant with our first child!!! 33 brought a new era of homemaking and family building.
So – I am now 34, and I am sure that becoming a parent will be the most life changing event of all – but I will hold strong to the fact that my 33rd year had more than enough to do with that! Our baby boy or girl is due to enter the world on July 31st... 7.31 – what do you get when you add those digits together?... none other than 11! Ha!
Who knows when they will make their appearance, but I greatly look forward to writing more about my pregnancy, and what comes next for us in the months to follow. For now – I leave you with the magic of numbers, and how magical 11 has been for me until now. Do you find magic in numbers? What numbers are the most magical for you??