my western nest.

I am a person of habit. In the same way I relish my routine, when I find time for a walk or a run…I often find myself on the same route. The same roads, the same houses, the same turns: what is it about that route that is so soothing to me?

When we moved to our home three years ago, I was 36 weeks pregnant with Gracie. I know, we cut it close. I’m my final stages of pregnancy, when anxiety is high and time passes like molasses. I was looking for ways to be active. The apartment gym was no longer an option for me, and so, I started walking outdoors in the evenings after work.

I’d struggle to lace up my running shoes and waddle up the street. I’d take a left, keep going straight, over the small bridge, up the hill and past the school. The hill was steep, a welcome challenge for my swollen, pregnant ankles.

We are blessed to live in a wooded area, and I enjoyed the sounds that these surroundings bring. I learned the order of the houses as I passed: blue house, red house, telephone pole, white house. I dreamed about walking with my new baby on that same route. And on this route, I breathed through, what eventually turned into, painful contractions.

After Gracie was born, our first outing as a family was a walk. We took the same path: down the road, take a left, keep going straight, over the small bridge, up the hill and past the school. I remember feeling so nervous about venturing out with her. She was very over-dressed, with the stroller shade down, plus a hat. I would not let the evil sun harm her perfect, new skin.

And yet, as we walked, I felt myself become more comfortable. We greeted neighbors, we showed her off, and I tackled that same hill. I couldn’t wait to start running again.

Three years later, I have run that route many times. We walked that route on one unusually warm Christmas.I first pushed Gracie, and now Avery, to the playground. Avery will soon be big enough to enjoy it the same as little Gracie!I’ve enjoyed morning strolls with coffee, and endured evenings of frantically throwing snacks at my overly-hungry toddler, rushing to get her home for dinner.

I’ve run exhausted and wobbly, post-partum, and I’ve gotten stronger on the same route. I know each spot where another half-mile passes. I’ve seen homes go up for sale and be sold. I’ve watched seasons pass, and I’ve mourned as once sturdy trees succumb to drought and massive storms.

I love passing the same places and thinking about how far we have come, and dreaming about what might be next.

So when my husband asks where I plan to go, I take pride in saying “the usual!” I like my familiar way. I like getting lost in quiet thoughts…as a mom, those are to be cherished. I’m thankful for this place we call home. I’m excited to keep running and walking that route. As this season of life keeps passing and the only thing that’s consistent is change, I’m just thankful to be putting down roots in a place that we love.

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