I’m sitting here at my kitchen table looking out the window at the giant Sycamore tree, full of leaves fluttering in the wind. I’ve been watching this tree grow for eight years. I was training for the Folsom Olympic length triathlon the year the Sycamore was planted. I would ride my bike up the steep hill, seeing the Sycamore as I approached the top. My legs would be weak and my skin salty from sweat. I felt strong that year. It was right before I received the diagnosis of “Infertile” and six months before my mom died. The tree started growing in a five gallon bucket to what it is now, HUGE. Things have changed so much since then. Now it’s late July and within a month the leaves will begin to turn orange. Fall is always an exciting time, it reminds me of my anticipation about a new painting class or about obsessing over projects I want to start. I looked forward to critiques and meeting new artists. I have a collection of work in folders and frames from all the semesters of classes I’ve taken for the past eight years I’ve lived in this house. Many of those semesters I felt I was living a double life, trying to get pregnant and start a family, never talking about it to anyone. Consumed with “next steps” on the road of fertility treatments. When that wasn’t taking over my entire existence I focused on developing my portfolio to get into grad school. Sometimes I would also be training for a 10K. I’ve been working on something, some kind of major project all these years. Last year I didn’t take a class, but felt like I was in school with my six month old twins. I read all the books about development I could and taught the babies everything I was learning. I had to learn all about Fiona’s hearing loss and how to teach her language. I was also busy working on myself, going to therapy, healing from all the trauma I had been through and becoming “Me” again with my new responsibility. Now Jack and Fiona are enjoying spending more time with other kids away from home. In the fall they will be at Early Start three mornings a week. (Fiona’s school for hearing loss, vision loss, and mobility issues) Jack gets to go too, as a sibling. I’m done with therapy for now. I want to take an art class but I looked through every school and art center’s catalogue in my area and found nothing. I am ready to connect with my art life outside these four walls. But maybe it’s not time yet. I will miss that new class feeling this fall and meeting people. I always feel like I need to have a plan, to accomplish something, finish something. Maybe I need restraints and restrictions, somewhere or someone to be accountable to and now that’s me. Life is different today for me than it was when that tree was planted, I’m different now, but I still want to learn and grow. I am learning and growing as a mom though. Jack and Fiona just woke up from their nap. I change their diapers and for now, I will enjoy lunch with my biggest project. We eat quesadillas, three bean salad, raspberries, apples, and chocolate chips. I turn on the wiggles and we sing while we finish our lunch. Next we play, I read Dear Zoo, and later we will take Billy for a walk and continue watching the sycamore tree grow a little bigger and the leaves turn orange.