I’ve done a couple “one little word” projects for the past few years.

In 2015, it was “simplify,” after I read Marie Kondo’s book and really started to pare down our possessions and schedule.

In 2016 my word was “grow,” and that was the year I became a mom, and perhaps the most physically and emotionally growing year of any other year in my life.

In 2017 my word was “play,” as I knew play was where the magic really happens for babies, and I was playing for most of my days. Ironically, halfway through that year I went back to work, but as a pediatric speech therapist, so much of my work is play, so it was fitting.

In 2018 I skipped a year. We had just bought a house, we had an 18 month old, I had a very full plate, and for some reason I didn’t feel the pull to have a guiding word that year. Retrospectively, I would say my word for 2018 was “active.” In May I started a workout challenge with a group of friends, and I decided to run two miles or walk one mile, every single day, and I was going to only do it for a month, but I felt so good that I kept going. I made it all the way from May 1st to December 1st., every single day. The consistency of it shocked me. There were months in the summer when I was clocking two miles daily, in sunny, 6am weather, and months in the rainy fall when I was so sick from pregnancy and could barely limp one mile, but I really think the activity helped save me from even more severe morning sickness like I had with my first. Even among the toughest circumstances, even on long travel days, I prioritized my health and somehow got it in. It was the single biggest game changing factor in my mothering, work, and overall life and I am so proud of that season.

My word for 2019 is “present.” I get to welcome another baby this spring, and I will get to spend a good chunk of next year on maternity leave, and I want to be so present for all of it, because I know how fast it goes. I want to be present in my conversations, present in my friends’ lives, present at home. Really listen when Trey or Daniel tells me a story. Soak up all the baby snuggles. Know that I’m in the exact right place for me at this moment. And a spin: I know this baby is the biggest present we could ask for. I know how precious these little lives are, and what a gift it is to carry them and raise them. I have walked through too much baby loss with close friends in recent years to not “unsee” this. I get it. It is a total, gracious, undeserved gift, and the most challenging and rewarding role, to get to mother.

Happy 2019, friends. Thank you for visiting this space.