We have a photo wall in my house of black and white pictures from different important stages of our lives. I love the pictures, I love how the wall looks, and I stare at it often. It’s on a wall between our 3 bedrooms and the laundry room, so let’s just say…I pass by it…a lot! Sometimes I take a moment to really look at it, not just fly by, and I usually just look at the kids but the other day I stared at my face in each picture. No idea what prompted me to do that, I hate looking at myself in general let alone analyzing a photo of myself but each face told a story and this is how it went.
My Wedding Day:
I was ecstatic!!!!! It was hands down the best day of my life. It started with the usual stresses, but the wedding was immensely fun! The picture is of me with my husband during our first dance. I’m beaming with a smile ear to ear…I’m truly happy. We had no time to choreograph our dance, we were barely in the same city, let alone the same room before we got married. But I didn’t care how lame we looked just holding each other and swaying like teenagers. I was married to the love of my life and I was the happiest girl in the world!!!! Plus I felt like a princess in that wedding gown!
The Birth of Thing 1:
It was exactly 7 days after he was born, his Bris (a religious circumcision ceremony). Probably the most stressful event for a new mom. In the picture, my husband and I were holding him and kissing the top of his head. I look terrified! A complete look of self doubt and uncertainty. Am I holding him too tight, too loose, is he okay, will he be okay, what happens if he cries, what happens if he doesn’t cry, is he too hot, too cold? I literally was worried about everything and felt responsible for every single emotion he may be having. And I was certain I was going to mess it all up!
The Birth of Thing 2:
The pictures were taken 2 weeks after she was born, Thing 1 was 2.5 years old. My husband and I had a house, a mortgage and 2 kids and I felt like a real grown up. We could actually afford a fancy studio photographer, and fancy birth announcements. I now had 2 little people counting on me… and I was… exhausted. In this particular picture of the 4 of us, I looked impatient. I looked like I had a fake smile and I remember thinking, please everyone just look at the freakin camera…just one decent picture. Hoping my naked baby does not poop on me. Hoping Thing 1 doesn’t tantrum and refuse to be in a picture, hoping we can get the perfect birth announcement…..Thinking: Just keep it together people….!
So then I thought what would my current self tell my past self:
On My Wedding Day:
Remember this day and this feeling forever! The love you have will literally carry you through some dark times. You will be challenged, beyond the point you think you can endure and you will doubt yourself… a lot. Some days will feel like it’s too hard to keep going. You will walk through fire, sometimes alone, sometimes with your husband by your side, sometimes him holding you and sometimes you holding him. But you will come out the other side holding each other and completely in love! You are stronger than you think.
The Birth of Thing 1:
You have so many doubts, everything in you is unsure and worried. That’s okay, your son doesn’t see any of that. He doesn’t care if you nurse him or give him the bottle. He knows you love him with all your heart and loves you right back. You’re his rock, the one he comes to when things go wrong and you figure sh*t out and tell him it will be okay. And he believes you ’cause you’re mom. You got this, and…You are stronger than you think.
The Birth of Thing 2:
The next couple of years will be tough. You will feel like you will never have your sh*t together… again…like ever! Your kids will get hurt and you will feel like the worst mom ever. Sh*t gets real. But things get better, they always get better. You walk through fire again…and again…and again, but you get through it, stronger everytime. You will meet many guardian angels throughout the way. In many different forms, just be open to it, to all of it. Life is messy and unpredictable and so hard for your controlling personality but you gotta let it go girl! Just let it go and enjoy these fleeting moments. They don’t last. Be present and don’t worry about the perfect picture, the memory behind the picture is so much better….Oh…and you’re stronger then you think.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think- Winnie the Pooh