Ten years can change everything

Once I had a life.

One where I had never even heard of the words Graco or Evenflo.

I felt every bit of pain to my core, every bit of bliss to my toes.  I was free.  I was irresponsible.

I was alive.

I remember nights at the age of 22 when my friends and I looked at each other and exclaimed, “it’s four in the morning!  How did that happen?!?!”

Did we go home?  Hell no.  Why go home when you can have steak and eggs?  Eating at 4am qualified as breakfast then.

We’d walk out of the IHOP as the black night yielded to the blazing sun, painting the sky pastel.

Back in these carefree times there was a boy named Jeremy.  He broke my heart.  And I let him.

I smile when I think of these days.

Now there is an ocean of life between me and that foolish girl.

There isn’t much to miss about her – she doesn’t fit me anymore.

Last night, sitting on the porch at magic hour, I watched my baby play in the garden.


Breathtaking babe.


My focus has shifted from me to family.  My deep insecurities pale in comparison to the fierce love we share.

When I am with these beings we created; when I hear them laugh, when I watch them sleep, when I sing them songs, I am released from the fear that I am not enough.

Once I had a life.  Now I have so much more.


This post was written in response to a prompt that asked:  What music album would be used for a movie about your life?  I chose Ten by Pearl Jam.

What album would you choose?


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

55 thoughts on “Ten years can change everything

  1. Oh, this is just lovely. I love your stripped away style here. I also love both versions of you (me)– the foolish, insecure (since I am so over that now) and the mom surrounded and cocooned by love. You have captured something so great here– the transition and the upwardness of it all. Up to more love, more connection, more family, more you. And the picture is perfect. How is it you have a garden? Is there anything you can’t do? Generous writing as always. Thanks for the soul peek.

    • YOU are the one who is too generous! How is it that every time you weigh in on my writing I see so much more than I could alone? Thank god for my Christie-colored-glasses. PS – it’s actually my parents garden, I can’t even keep a house plant alive. But all that exposition had no place in this post.

      I’m not sure we ever get “over” the insecurities, we just need to let them be swallowed up by the family that is all our own. Though if any body has the potential to get over them for good, it’s you with that amazing Saturday post.

  2. Beautifully creative post. My husband and I love to reminisce about our child-free live together. It seems so removed from now. Though I like to remember, I don’t want to go back. Well, maybe just for a night or two :-)

  3. Can I tell you a secret? I got an email back from Yeah Write this morning that said my essay was rejected. I tried to console myself by saying that it must’ve been over 500 words (it wasn’t), but deep down I knew I had missed the mark somehow. After soothing my bruised ego I thought I’d go take a look at how my friends had done…. OHHHHHHH. I get it now. Carinn, this piece?! LOVE IT. I GET IT NOW! Slam dunk, my friend. Your writing teaches me so much, and inspires me to be better. So thank you for that….and can I just say, we TOTALLY would have been friends at 22 😉

    • Can I tell you a secret? I love how you took that awful form letter from the yeah write no-reply email and took another look at your submission, read other submissions on the grid, then reworked your entry and gave it another shot. Very well done. You’re the only one to resubmit this week. I’m very proud of you.

      • Oh Erica, I’m probably not supposed to admit this publicly, but every time I read your comment it makes me cry. In a good way. Thank you for taking the time to give me that feedback. Your encouragement reinforces that writing is a journey, and that the learning process is more important than the essay sometimes. I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to learn from all of you!

  4. Oh, and btw…my sad freak-out post that I wrote today about struggling in the blogging world, was written BEFORE I saw your post! It wasn’t about you!!! (I promise!)

  5. I can very much identify with this. I love the 10 years ago me, but not as much as the mommy me of today. Not exclusively because of the addition of motherhood, but due to the progression of happines and wisdom. You captured it perfectly here.

  6. I loved that album & it brings me back whenever I hear a track from it. Maybe we even heard it at some of the same parties? :) Great job weaving it into your post.

    • So happy that you come visit me here – it’s means a lot. Especially when we are reminiscing about a great album and the days before we knew each other even though we could have totally known each other!

  7. So much imagery created by very few words..incredible. I had no idea what album people were referring to and although someone mentioned Pearl Jam I was still clueless. Guess that’s wha tI get for being a country girl.

  8. I find the bolded text appealing from a visual standpoint. I squinted at the page and followed the contrast. What can I say? I think writing is a visual art so I can’t help but look at the positive/negative space. I’m a nerd like that.

    I also liked the clean prose and the way the story progressed. Very nice.

  9. “Why go home when you can have steak and eggs?” This reminds me of me back in the day when breakfast at 4am happened on the regular. Wouldn’t trade back, like you said. Love, love the precious picture and the simple style here is stunning. I get this!

  10. Lurrrrrrrrrve Ten! And I love what you did here. You used a “schtick” but it didn’t get in the way of what you had to say. The post rings so true too. Motherhood is this unbelievable anchor in all the good ways and all the bad ways. A release from insecurity is a great way to describe it.

  11. That was fantastic! What a clever way of weaving all the song titles into your post! It flowed so well (LOVED the Evenflo ref, by the way). Oh, and I adore Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.

    This line had me totally choked up: “Once I had a life. Now I have so much more.”

    As a mom looking back over 13 years and two kids, I couldn’t agree more.

    Well done, mama.

    • Thank you! I had the hardest time with Even Flow – I wasn’t sure I would get it. Oddly, the story came to me in reverse order with the last songs on the album coming to me before some of the earlier ones. It sure was fun writing.

  12. As much as I think about the me before motherhood – I never wish I was back at that point. The positives of life now definitely outweigh the negatives. HOWEVER – I am SO happy that my kids DO finally sleep through the night :)

  13. Brilliant!!! I love the sparse writing and the intensity. I especially love the last three lines – gorgeous. I relate to the foolish girl and wouldn’t trade the IHOP days either – though I’d give my right breast for a stack of buttermilk pancakes delivered to me right now! Great job!

  14. I love the feeling that because you lived that old life to the fullest, you are now free to live and love in this one. It’s as if, had you NOT had those 4AM mornings, you would not be as open to the person you are now.

  15. I love your use of “ocean” serving as time… it makes me wonder is it literally an ocean? Graco and Evenflo Ha! Damn Mom words!! 😉

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