I was thinking back to the baby shower for my first born and remembering how much fun it was to have the people that love us and support us there to celebrate the impending birth of our son. Then I got to thinking about all the STUFF that we really didn't need that we got and of course all the stuff that I would have liked to have had. I couldn't help but think (yes, here comes the selfish part!) "there I was, growing this human being inside of me, doing all the work, forever changing my body and it was all about baby". And then the more I thought about it, it wasn't selfish. Growing a human being is hard work!!! So, even though the onsies, booties and bibs are all oh so cute, I would have liked to have some other things instead. Don't get me wrong! I totally appreciated ALL the gifts we received, but we would have been just fine with a little less for baby and a little more for me. :-) I believe that moms need to be nurtured too.
Here's my list of gifts for Mama:
1. Gift certificate for a manicure & pedicure
2. Gift certificate for a prenatal massage
3. Gift certificate to a hair salon
4. Gift certificate for house cleaning
5. Movie tickets and a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant
6. Meals, meals and more meals. Ones that can be frozen. Stock that freezer for her! (don't forget to take into account any allergies or sensitivities)
7. A basket full of her favorite body scrub, lotion, shampoo, perfume, etc…
8. A Netflix subscription for something to do in the wee hours while nursing
9. A Kindle stocked with her favorite authors/books
10. Customized mama jewelry
11. Gift certificate for a spa day
12. And of course… a gift certificate for maternity and newborn photography sessions!
Yesterday was my son Eli's 6th birthday. He is such a great kid and has been so patient these last 5 months. I wanted to do something special for him and see "the joy". If you are a parent, you know what I mean. So I went to Target, bought a bag of balloons and had Drew blow them up with the air compressor. After Eli went to bed, we covered the floor in his room with them. I was so excited! In the morning I couldn't wait to wake him up to see "the joy".
And I did! I saw the joy!!! Such a small thing made him so happy. You see, leading up to his birthday became a time of reflection for me with all the usual questions… Where did the time go? Have I done a good job? Am I a good mother? Will he ever have better aim in the bathroom? Some answers are easy. Yes, for the most part, I am doing a good job and I am a good mother. Yes, at some point he will learn to have perfect aim… I hope. But the question of "Where did the time go?", that eludes me. I mean, I know where the time went, I just don't know how it went so fast! It was filled with fun, happiness, sometimes illness and sadness, building a business, taking care of other family members, trying to have another baby, do some remodeling on the house… go, go, go… and then… it happened. After trying for so many years, with so much disappointment came another kind of joy. I found out I was pregnant. It came at a time when Drew and I had resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn't be having another. We had given up. We had stopped trying. I bought a sports car. I was planning a big international trip. I was making plans. I was in control.
On October 24, 2014 I gave birth to our little girl Violet. It was harder the second time around. I was 42 when I gave birth and had to have a c-section. I forgot what it was like taking care of a newborn 24/7, let alone doing it with sleep deprivation and recovering from major surgery. I could complain for days of all the things that made/make it so hard. But I won't. I can't. Because I know she is my last one. That makes me sad. But at the same time it has given me a unique appreciation for everyday above and beyond my regular gratefulness. This time around I am cherishing the moments more. Even when I am dog tired at 3 am and it's time to nurse, I relish in the moment. I can't help but just stare at her and memorize every little delicious squishy bit of her. She will, after all, only be this small for a short time. When I get peed or pooped on, or I'm talking to someone in public and realize that I have a huge streak of spit up down my shirt, well who cares? I revel in the moments that she grasps my finger with all of hers and holds on tight, or when she wakes up next to me and she smiles at me like at no one else. I am working hard at trying to remember everything and live in the moment because I know that she is my last. I wish I had done the same thing with Eli. In hindsight (I KNOW - it's 20/20) all the other stuff didn't matter. I should have relished in it more. What the hell did I know? I was a first time mom! (I digress)
So what is the point of all of this? Well, it's about the fact that this time around I am practicing what I preach. I am documenting what I can for my children so they have a legacy. They will, long after Drew and I are gone, see where they came from and how they fit in to our little family. We did a pregnancy photo shoot at the beach (thank you Norma!) and had the birth both photographed and filmed (thank you Norma & Francine!) I am also existing in photographs more so than ever before. Yes, I still have baby weight. Yes, I wish I "looked better". No, these aren't the jeans I would prefer to fit in. But you know what? My children don't care. Because I am the photographer of the family, I have to ask to be photographed. I used to get upset with Drew because more often than not he would not take initiative to take photographs of me. I have come to accept that he is not a photographer. This is not his passion. So I have to remind him to do it. But that's ok, because when I do, he does. And I love him for that! And you know what else, it's not such a terrible thing being the one in front of the camera knowing that I am doing it for my children. Later in life they will look at our family photos and know that we loved each other and that we had fun!