Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
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Friday, September 30

Ordinary Days, Part 2...

I'm still spinning from the thoughts that hatched with yesterday's post. If you'll allow me, I have more on my mind I'd like to ramble on about...

I think the thing that is hitting me the most with this book I'm reading is that I am suddenly, sharply understanding that all this WORK I'm putting into my life right now is.... essentially.... for nothing.

Wait. I know that sounds AWFUL. So let me try to explain. I guess, in my innocence here as a relatively new mom of only 4 years, it has seemed that every day I am working to refine myself to be a better mom, better wife, better person. There are concrete steps to get there--- feed my kids healthy food, give my kids opportunities to explore and imagine, lift up and support my husband as he provides for our family... And even through the bumps-- a hard pregnancy, a colicky baby, a changed career path-- I have seen PROGRESS. I am able to feel authentic in my daily life, like I am becoming who I have always wanted to be. It has been WORK, but I am seeing results.

Yet.

Katrina Kenison, veteran mama, is telling me, gently, that all too soon, I will no longer be able to define myself so simply. The work in becoming THIS mama will no longer be relevant. I will have to figure out a NEW way of being "Mom" to my kids... and then, even after all THAT work, one day I'll have to figure out how to be authentic as just ME again... Kids gone, living their own lives. So in that, way, I am stunned... and a bit sad... at the revelation that all this WORK I am doing RIGHT NOW is for something temporary, really.

So of course, I KNOW it isn't for nothing. The work I do now is building my own foundation, hopefully, so I can be ready for the next level, and then the next, and the next... Trying with every stage to be authentic and to be the person God wants me to be. And I know that even for my kids, this work I do now is setting them up for success in the next stage--- the disconcerting adolescence that seems so far and so foreign to me right now.

It just brings to me a weight of sadness and melancholy to realize that these days now, with their repetition and their SAMENESS and their routine... these days that seem so endless-- sometimes frustratingly so-- WILL have an end. Ms. Kenison writes,

"...I felt so certain that tomorrow would be just another day, another chance to try to get it right-- followed by another, and another after that, and hundreds more, all more or less like the very day I was struggling to get through at that moment..." pg. 6

And so... it turns out this isn't so. Of course, logic cries that I should have know this all along. But my heart is so entrenched in this daily business of rearing a pre-schooler and baby (and more to come, God willing), that it doesn't have time to step back and understand that one day, these days will run out.

So.

I'm not trying to be a downer. I'm not trying to work myself into a full-blown depression about the futility of my daily work.

But I AM seeing with some new clarity just how poignant and beautiful THIS version of "mama" is. My gosh, it's exquisite, when you stop to think about it. These are the times where hugs are the currency of the day, and sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters can brighten an entire afternoon for that little person... These are the times when there is an answer for everything, and all your kids really NEED is security and consistency and love... with a LOT of fun sprinkled in. When they aren't being torn into a thousand pieces by the bigger, wider, often harsher world, and still only really know the things YOU choose to teach them. When forgiveness is immediate and completely sincere. When WE PARENTS are the ultimate superheroes to our children. What a magical thing. And I LOVE it. I love it so much I don't think my heart can hold it all in.

And I know I have YEARS ahead of this, especially if we are blessed with any more children. I know that for now, the days DO number in the hundreds. I thank my God for this.

But I also now understand that I will miss this. I will miss the "ME" I am working so hard on right now... The "mama" that will have to adapt one day and become "MOM", with totally different requirements and challenges and expectations. I wish.... I don't know... I wish I could keep refining and cultivating THIS "me" forever.

But we are placed here on Earth to learn, to grow, and to CHANGE... and I need to have faith that everything has its season and that there will be incredible beauty and truth in the next levels ahead. And possibly, it will only get BETTER. Wouldn't that be amazing? This feeling I have now, only magnified by more years and deeper experiences?

For now, though, I am deeply, humbly grateful for these thoughts this week. For seeing my present life with fresh clarity.

Because my gratitude for all of it is so sweet I can hardly breathe.

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And thank you, commenters, for your incredible comments yesterday. They carried me through the beginning growing pains these new thoughts have given me. I am so glad this resonates with many of you... that it's not just silly me, being too analytical or emotional or sentimental. Please keep the thoughts coming. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll try to respond with comments of my own if there's something that begs a response... And PLEASE go get these books if you are feeling a connection to these thoughts. Ms. Kenison is incredible at putting the beauty and emotion of motherhood into words. I am so glad I took the time to read her first book, and know that this second book will be a huge journey for me with these ideas of change and how "mom" is defined at different times of our lives. Get reading, and come back and let's talk!!

10 comments:

  1. Wow. You are an incredible writer and you could not have written this at a more perfect time. Your 2posts are just beautiful and so clearly written I feel as though my feelings and thoughts now make sense to...ME! Thank you for sharing and I am now heading over to library to check out those books! So beautiful!

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  2. I had those books on my "wishlist," waiting for the "perfect time" to purchase them, I just did.

    I started following your blog for your photography skills, I have been desperate to take better pictures of my son and bought a DSLR this time last year. I am self taught and looked for resources online to show me the way.

    Here recently, your words have struck a cord with me. I blog to my son about his life, something only my mother would care to read so I keep it private. I write him letters and document his weeks with photos and words, I do this in an effort to be present with him everyday. We had a thunderstorm last night and I sat with him, memorizing each noise he made, each move and curve of his face and tiny body and then wrote about it. Somewhere in my mind, if 10 years from now I go back and read this, I am hoping to somewhat feel then what I felt last night with him.

    I have found, life is in these undertones, these simple somewhat meaningless routines that kick our butts at times, BUT, if I can find the beauty, I also, therefore, can find our life.

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  3. I am going to disagree with you that this is all for naught and I think you would recognize this as well. You are building you. Different types of you, this will change and grow along with you. But I also think that maybe it is a misconception that you will ever be a perfect "mama" and that being "mama" isn't already over or changing or different. Being Noah's mama was different than being Lucy's. Some of the same skills but not the same job. So the fact that one day you will be mom and not mama isn't that different than the fact that last month you were August mama and starting tomorrow you will be October mama. It's all changing but it is the perspective on that change. If anything, I think we are on the exponential part of the curve--things change rapidly now. But between 14 and 18, less change. Between 30 year old Noah and 40 year old Noah, less change. I should draw a graph. I am better in pictures.
    Just my thoughts.

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  4. As we talked about the other day on the phone, I know that if children were to come into my life, I would love them, sacrifice for them, and live for them.

    But--and I know this sounds cynical--this post here is *EXACTLY* why I don't want them. I don't want to keep saying goodbye to personality quirks or dependence or lap-sits or breastfeeding, year after year after year, until finally I'm physically saying goodbye and releasing these children to the world. I don't want my heart to break every time something new happens--because that always means something else is ending. I just can't imagine bearing with that.

    I know it's a very, very small thing...but thank you for referring to "my God." I put up steel walls whenever anyone talks about God, because I just cannot identify with it. I can't be forced to believe anymore than you'd convert to Judaism if they came a-knocking at your door. But when you phrase it like that..."my God..." I imagine YOUR beliefs. And I'm a lot more open to reading about it. So I appreciate it, love. :)

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  5. I think that you were the one that pointed out to me one time that Mom had never been the "mom" of me as a then-twenty-something before... (or you, for that matter ;)

    But we know there's a difference between "knowing" something in theory and knowing it deep in our heart and gut and in practical terms... That's what I think this book and these thoughts have done for you at this moment :)

    It's a deep and deeply felt thing that you share. Thank you <3

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  6. PS-Genny, I don't think cynical is the right word for what you describe. Honest. But too full of love and loss to be cynical...
    Just my opinion :)

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  7. As someone that is further along in mommy-hood and sending my oldest off to college in 3 short years....it is NEVER for naught!!! Everything you do now will have an impact on Noah and Lucy in 10 years and you will be a SUPER PROUD mama....b/c you will have reared amazingly smart, talented, kind, and AWESOME human beings!!! I think you need to put the book down and just live...don't fret about the future...it will take care of itself. xoxo

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  8. Tears over here reading this friend. I so get it. Thank you for the fresh thoughts and perspective. I'll be thinking of them while trying not to loose my temper with M and stuffing my flab in to my pants this week.

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  9. I was chatting with a grandmama at the birth I attended yesterday and she was talking exactly about this subject! She was saying that she remembers so vividly this stage of life her daughter (who was busy in the next room laboring with baby #5) is in, yet feels like it was so long ago now that her own youngest child (she had 8!) is 13. She said the house is so different now and yet just the same... still messes to clean and meals to prepare, but somehow... the trivium is gone. So, I guess she was telling me to revel in the trivium of NOW.

    I'm working on it. :) I think you are such a soulful PERSON (and therefore, a soulful mama) that you would be unable to escape the higher calling of all these days full of trivium. I think it's wonderful that to you, these days and these lessons are meaningful. So many people just plow through the days without ever looking back or reflecting. So awesome as the author may be, don't let her convince you of something your heart just can't believe! :)

    I always come back to thinking about the verse in the Bible where it says that Mary treasured up all the things in her heart about Jesus' birth and the wise men visiting and such. Because she knew that someday all she would have of that baby was her chest full of treasures (get it? Your heart is in your chest... okay, sorry, did that ruin the moment? moving on...). I am trying so hard to fill up on those treasures too.

    One final thought: you're awesome. :)

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  10. I wanted badly to comment on this post, but the novel I wrote was rejected as too long, and when I pasted it into Word it was a page long. Um, wowzer. I will email it to you. Love your guts! :)

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