my morning started how many of mine do: thinking of an instagram post and caption. not just ANY instagram caption. my baby is six months old today!! possibilities felt endless. should i post a maternity photo? a birth photo? a current photo of us TOGETHER? and then there was the caption. short and sharp, or sappy and sentimental? my thoughts turned to all the things i have learned over the past six months.
i have learned that motherhood is hard. growing up, i remember a particular sunday sitting in church on mother's day. i was maybe eight or nine. my young eyes silently observed the congregation, noticing that many eyes were filled with tears. homegirl KNEW that all the moms would get a chocolate bar and pretty flowers after the service was over, so why were so many of them crying? i turned to my own mother for answers, and she responded, "mother's day is a hard day for a lot of moms. being a mom is hard, and having a whole day dedicated to celebrating it can sometimes make moms feel like they aren't doing good enough". it made sense (somewhat) at the time, but now i understand this on a whole new level. the mom guilt is SO real! i have especially felt this from working at home. i LOVE my job as a freelance calligraphy artist; i love creating and creating something FOR someone. i love that i can do it at home. but this also comes with a price. if i'm not working on an order, and i'm snuggling with storie on the couch watching netflix, i feel unproductive and lazy and like i'm not contributing financially to our little family. if i AM working on an order, i feel so bad for neglecting storie and not loving on her any second. it's an ongoing battle. i'm not sure i'll ever find the balance. what was i talking about? oh yeah, instagram captions.
i was thinking of how i could possibly convey how much i love storie and how grateful i am for the past six months in my instagram caption. my thoughts then turned to what i have learned about storie since december fifth:
1. she has to have something in her right hand when i feed her. otherwise, that 'something' will become my hair. *ouch*
2. she loves having her face stroked.
3. she thinks it's HILARIOUS when brandtly juggles her diapers (don't ask how we know this haha).
4. she loves sucking on landyards. and remotes. and the tags on clothes!!!
5. she HATES snuggling. HATES IT!!!! she has to be looking and observing and seeing everything and so she hates being cuddled into my chest. *sad face*
6. her favorite shoes are her shiny copper-colored sandals.
7. she loves arching her back and looking up to the right when i am changing her diapers. this can make the whole process fairly difficult.
8. she rubs her eyes first, and then her ears second when she is tired. that's how brandtly and i know it's time for her to go to bed.
9. she HATES getting dressed. but only when i'm putting a onesie on her. and only when her head and one arm is through. before and after that, she is totally fine.
10. she likes playing with crinkly things the best.
11. when no one is paying attention to her, she will give these adorably pathetic little coughs so that someone will look at her.
12. she loves side-to-side motion.
13. she hates laying down. she'll strain to sit up if we put her on her back. again: she loves seeing everything.
14. loud noises don't bother her at all. i actually think she prefers lots of noise to silence or stillness, and the crossfit gym we go to is probably responsible for that. she's used to loud music and banging weights!
15. she loves bathtime, except for when it's time to wash her neck.
...i could go on. as i mentally formed this list, i noticed how interesting it was that i know so much about storie when she has never spoken a single word to me. i can see her face or hear her voice and know exactly what is wrong and how i am supposed to fix it. "how is that possible?", i thought to myself.
then it hit me: we come to know someone best when we serve them.
along with that, we come to love someone best when we serve them.
of course i know how to soothe storie's tears. i have been doing it literally every second since monday, december 5th at 8:57 AM. and of course i know what makes her laugh: i was there for her very first twinkle of a smile.
i've heard a lot of moms say that they "lose themselves" when they have children. i can understand this. your time really isn't your own; you are constantly putting others before yourself and you don't think of yourself very often. but i feel like i have FOUND myself through having storie. a better version of myself. a version that is always hugging, feeding, snuggling, playing, comforting. a version of myself that has her patience tested every day. a version of myself that has a vision of something more. something greater. through losing myself to the service of my daughter, i have found more love and joy than i ever knew was possible.
this blog post has been a little scatter-brained and all over the place (which is why it is a blog post and NOT an instagram caption hee hee), but i love storie so much. i am so glad she came into my life six months ago and i am SO GRATEFUL that i can be a mother. happy half, my little stowie muffin!