I was well into my 20th hour of labor when I heard this voice for the first time. It was my own voice, but much older, more confident, calm and self-assured. The type of voice that you don't question, just trust. It came at a point when the escalating pain had begun to pop the seams of my concentration. I could feel myself on the brink of unraveling completely. It said, BREATHE AND COUNT. So I did. And then it said, IF YOU CAN JUST MAKE IT TO 20, YOU'LL BE FINE. And when I made it to 20 the pain started to dissipate. And with each contraction it would pipe in, OK, 25 THIS TIME, with the authority of a football coach and the gentleness of a mother. And off I'd go a counting...on and on for hours. Until finally, FINALLY I heard the cry of a baby and buried my face in my arm and thought, holy crap, I just survived that. 

I had a similar sentiment pulling into the driveway a couple of weeks ago. It was late. The end of a Summer-long road trip across the country and back. Me, my cranky, pregnant self and my hyper little two-year old stuffed into the back seat of a Chevy Suburban for days upon days. This was completely voluntary and self-inflicted and let me tell you what...If you would like to know the exact length of your patience rope, as they say, you should totally give this a try. 

So many hours spent in that back seat thinking, I would rather scratch my eyeballs out than play with these dress-up doll stickers for one more second. And then holding her chubby fingers between mine while she fell asleep thinking, what a beautiful, vibrant little soul packed into that perfect little body. And waking up in a hotel room to the sound of her rummaging through the lollipop bag and I'd say, Stella, not right now, and then watch the proud look melt off of her face and a loud, ugly cry take its place. And I'd think, this is exactly how I wanted to start my day. And waking up in another hotel room to the sound of shoes being clapped together inches from my nose. I'd open one eye and say, What in the world are you doing? And she'd say, I just killing a spider or something mom. It's freaky. And I'd roll over and laugh and think, thank you God for a two-year old in my life.

It was the ultimate exodus from the warm, boring little comfort zone I had nestled myself into. And this is what I'm all about. Pushing my limits. Taking myself to the brink of unraveling, breathing through it, and emerging a stronger, more confident person. Someday to become that older, more self-assured version of myself that graciously shows up periodically to help me limp along until I get there.