Sunday, October 15, 2017

September Self Portraits

I'm always the most clothed person in my house. #thingsiwanttoremeber

On my Birthday the year my daughter was born I had a photo taken with my two
kids and my Birthday cup cakes.  Every year since, on my Birthday I have
continued this tradition and now have a collection of 12 years of photos
starting when my youngest was 6 months old and my eldest was 2 and a half.
This photo along with their hand made Birthday cards are the two things that
mean everything to me.

For the one that flew away.

Most days, I don't realize I'm only in my mid-twenties... Being where I am in life, I feel ten years older than I actually am. I'm married to a man with a very stable career, I'm a stay-at-home mom with two kids, we own a home, live over a thousand miles away from our families, and most of our friends are at least 5-10 years older than us. Ever since meeting my husband, our lives have been on the fast track. We became parents as teenagers and we've worked our asses off over the years to make it where we are today. I took these on my birthday and I feel so incredibly thankful to have these two crazies in my life! I wouldn't have it any other way.

Last week my husband and I found out we are pregnant. This baby has been planned and loved and wanted before it even existed. 
And yet this has been such a bitter sweet time for me. 
I had two babies when I was very young. No one celebrated. Some days I felt that I was the only one who loved and wanted those babies. I raised them totally alone, and now they are big kids and I am so proud of who they are. 
But this pregnancy has been somewhat of a grieving process for me. I have grieved for what my babies missed out on. I have grieved that they didn't have a daddy around to want them and love them and guide them and share the joy of their existence with me. I have grieved for my former self and how tough she had it back then. Some moments I feel almost guilty about how good this baby has it. 
Is that okay to say out loud?

Genevieve Williams
One of my very favorite things in life is being at the pool with my kids.
My 4 year old had my go pro at the pool as we were packing up tonight and asked if he could take a picture. Sure, kid.
Looking at this, I laughed at first. Funky angle, postpartum belly. But look at that smile! I had to edit it and save it, just so I could look back oneday at the joy I felt, soaking up the evening at the pool with my 3 crazy kids.
I hope this is the view my kids remember when they looked up at me. Smiling and full of joy.

Elena Pendell
The first day of school.

19 weeks and 19 months.

A few nights ago, I was searing a roast in a pan for supper. It somehow slipped off my fork just as I held it up to turn and it fell into a pan full of oil and drippings. It splashed all over me. My face, neck, arms, and chest were instantly covered by grease (luckily I wear glasses, so my eyes were miraculously spared) and the burns and blisters were immediate. 
The next morning, I was looking at my battle wounds in the mirror and started crying a bit. I was feeling embarrassed of how I looked and was nervous about going to the school pick ups and drop offs and being seen by a bunch of people with a face like this.
Just then, my five year old daughter walked into the bathroom and saw me looking at myself. I was nervous that I looked scary to her and I was about to apologize for how I appeared and tell her that I didn't have to walk her up to the school playground if she didn't want me to...but before I could say anything, she gasped and said,
"Wow, mom!! Now you REALLY look like Wonder Woman! She got roughed up just like that when she tried to save the world from war! You are JUST like her now!"
Where I saw ugliness and shame, my amazing daughter saw strength and bravery. I walked my little hero straight up to the school doors every day this week despite my scars. My girl thinks I'm a badass. I can dig it. I'm so grateful to be raising our girls in a time where women are viewed as strong and courageous and that their mirrors reflect superheroes. And I'm grateful that my girls aren't ashamed of their mom who can't cook a roast with out seriously injuring herself…"

Conversation with my 4 year old daughter the day after I came home from the hospital with her baby sister: 
MJ: "Mom, can I see your tummy?"
M: "Sure" Lifts up shirt to show her my stomach
MJ: Runs her hands over my stomach and analyzes the size and shape. "It's not big anymore, cause the baby is out...well it's a little big." Said very matter of fact. 
M: "Yup, when mommies have babies it takes awhile for their tummys to go back down because it took awhile for them to get big." 
MJ: "But your boobs are big"
M: "Why do you think that is?" 
MJ: "Because you have momma's milk in them!" 
M: "Yup, so your sister has milk to grow up big like you."
MJ: Still staring at my stomach, tracing the stretch marks with her tiny fingers...
M: "What do you think about all that?"
MJ: "It's beautiful"
Out of the mouths of babes.