Today was my last full day in Melbourne and I was lucky enough to have lunch with a treasured old friend from high school. It had been 16 years since we had last seen one another and try as I might, I could not recall our last meeting or the reason we fell out of touch.
So much has happened in both of our lives during that time and although she remarked that I had not changed a bit (*blush*), in some ways I am not the same person I was back then. For instance, when we were friends, I was a teenager and not a mother - a role that has become so intrinsically woven into the fabric of my being I have trouble peering behind it.
Having given birth to my first child fifteen years ago at the tender age of twenty, it is difficult to imagine a time before I became 'mum'. Seeing my friend today and recalling some of those lovely, lighter moments made me realise that there are entire chapters of my life that I have left behind in the dark to gather cobwebs. As life moves forward and we 'grow up', change paths or have children, we inadvertently risk leaving behind those aspects of 'self' (both good and bad) that we may have once taken for granted.
For instance, having children actually forces you to put the needs of others before the needs of yourself - it changes you - and overtime, the self can become neglected, lost or forgotten. Life has taken me on some strange and interesting journeys and planted me a very long way from the self-centred class clown I was back in high school. Perhaps because of that, I have always felt like my life truly began with the birth of my first child.
It's funny, because being a parent is hard work and it never gets any easier (yes, really) and yet no matter how challenging the experience has been, I have never regretted it - not for a second. For me, being a mother is the thing that I am most proud of and for fifteen years it has been the biggest part of who I am. Today however, I am grateful for the reminder that there are other parts of me, waiting patiently in the shadows for the light to get in.
*Image taken by Jaiden So*