It’s that day of the year that I like to celebrate the moms who were the catalyst for portraits over the previous year. They pull aside from their busy schedules because they know how fleeting time is and long for a marker of the people they have invested so much into. Some know all too well that tomorrow offers us no guarantees. I know the hurdles moms have jumped to make what you see before you happen and want to give them a shout out of their favorites and mine.
As I have shared portrait time with you, so often it has been so much more than that that we have shared. We’ve shared the mothering journey and I hope I have cheered you on as you shared with me about the ones most dear to your heart. Today, I thought I’d share a bit of what's been swirling around in my heart as a mother lately. Very often thoughts that have been prompted from our conversations.
Enjoy these gallery blocks by clicking on the portraits to have them advance to the next one (because it's such a large collection.)
Remember those lists in all the baby books…you know the ones that told us if we had the 35 items on “Bringing Baby Home” we were ready to be mothers?
Well, if you’ve walked the path of motherhood for any time now, you know the attempts to prepare you for how your life will alter were likely about as useful as starting a diet at the Cheesecake Factory.
How does one begin to prepare you for the life-altering role of becoming a mother? By gifting you with a wipes warmer? I know seems crazy now, right!? But remember how vital and exciting the pile of baby gear we gathered up from our showers seemed at the time? It was the powder scented doorway to a utopia that Johnson and Johnson promised in their commercials that made us weep.
Try as we might to conjure up those same moments for ourselves, they refuse to appear on our schedules. Instead, they tenaciously appear when we least expect them. Seemingly a reward for those staying the course through the constant and often wearying work required of mothers.
Those moments of unbridled belly laughter, spontaneous and unprompted hugs and kisses, tender crayon written notes proclaiming you are the smartest/pretties girl he knows and he’ll love you forever, all your children laughing together over a joke book, tenderness offered to another child….all help to fuel this journey as a mother and invigorate us to make our daily deposits into their little (and not so little) lives.
You can try to hold onto these moments, but most moms find they prove themselves pretty elusive, fleeting and unpredictable so we are constantly on the look out trying to be ready. Around our house the most amazing moments I grab for my memory bank typically have bickering about some trivial matter following hard on their heels. All a reminder that my work is not done and my sufficiency is in the Lord to rise to this very daunting task of being Momma to three little boys.
There’s no crystal ball to alert you to the moments your children will move you to tears, the good kind or the bad kind. You just have to be ready with a love that bears all things and celebrates the blessed ones. It’s why their portraits break our hearts in two, because time is stopped and we peer into their souls. We see them for all we hope they will become in that moment. So many of you have told me that I have seen your children through your eyes and that is priceless to you. Thank you.
When I survey your families and mine, I wonder what that checklist would have had on it if it weren’t material things? Would we have believed it? I guess we naïvely believed the lists we read that told us we were ready to be mothers ---why wouldn’t we---it’s a road you can only know when you’ve muddied your toddler chasing sensible shoes on its path. Today we realize the absolute absurdity of believing that 35 material things on a list could ever really mean we were prepared to be mothers.
Instead we realize that checklist should have had things like:
· Have a heart ready to break in two a million times in your life as you constantly question your decisions meant to grow the best in the little person who you’d do anything to protect.
· Have a brain that won’t be overly puzzled by the child who you rocked in your arms as he inches up past you in height in what seems like the blink of an eye.
· Have friends to surround you with cheers that you are rocking out this motherhood thing even when doubts lace your every thought as your child has hit another kid/thrown a tantrum that’s gotten you banned from the store/stolen/lied/informed you they hate you as they storm off (this list could go on forever)
· Have an ability to laugh at yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes like meticulously packing a diaper bag for your first outing and then realizing at the worst possible moment the one thing you left out of the overly stuffed diaper bag was…diapers.
· Have a belly ready to expand with a trail of lines marking the spot that grew the life that has forever changed yours.
· Have a face ready to bear the marks from a lifetime of smiles, worry, frustration….
· Prepare for a bladder that’s weaker and a heart that’s stronger.
· Have a tenderness towards other mothers who are all wrangling some beast, no matter how put together/much of a mess they seem.
· Have one or two friends you can trust who you can open to about your fears for your child and who will relieve you of the pressure to get everything right for her everyday.
· Have a rule that says laughter every single day is a necessary requirement in your home, along with forgiveness and remembering family is forever.
· Have a relationship with our loving Father God who has promised we can cast all our fears and anxieties on Him (even when those fears and anxieties seem ridiculous to everyone else).
We cry with them, we cheer them on, we nag them, we teach them, train them, discipline them, draw with them, play tag with them, embarrass them with our love, all with the goal of helping them to realize all they have been created to be loved and they have a Father God who cares for them more than we could possibly comprehend. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.