Mar 31, 2009

Becoming Free-Surrendering the Ego

MY dear friend Davina sent me a book prior to Wilder's birth, and I've treasured it so much. It's been a big help; the chapters are comforting, especially when the baby thing is so novel and overwhelming. It's titled The Mother's Book of Well-Being: Caring for Yourself So You Can Care for Your Baby, by Lisa Groen Braner. It's split into weeks for your child's first year of life--so they're short and quick!

I just have to share Week 31. Ms. Braner puts the unexplainable into words, and I love it.

So settle in for a read. It's worth it.

"I've become freer since having a baby. I may not get to the movies or linger in conversation with girlfriends as much, but I have tasted a freedom that was foreign to me before having children. It didn't come without a price, mind you, but freedom rarely does. I've learned to abandon my ego and surrender it to two little people who need me more. I wish I could say that I had a hand in this accomplishment, but in fact, it's impossible not to surrender that part of us when caring for a baby. Who can be self-absorbed with a baby in their care? The responsibility always takes you away from yourself, gets you out of your skin. The physical demands preclude our egocentric predilections during the day. There's little time to be preoccupied with oneself when a baby's life requires so much attention and maintenance. Personally, I have very little time to obsess over my relationships, career, or appearance. Having a baby streamlines old anxieties, simplifies what's important, and discards the rest.

What a relief! Does anyone else feel this way? Perhaps it's a secret benefit to motherhood, silently celebrated in the cloistered emotional lives of mothers. I don't have to be eternally eighteen, wear a size 2, make a million dollars, or solve the world's most pressing problems. I still find these things appealing, but really, life is easier when you just live it instead of wishing it were different.

I am content gazing into the eyes of my children. I love them unconditionally, a quality of acceptance I've seldom granted myself. The idea that they might be better in the future or more acceptable when they achieve something is absurd to me. I love them wholeheartedly as they are now, as they'll be next week and next year. Oh sure, I'd like my son to eat at least one vegetable on the planet, and I'd like my daughter to stop standing in grocery carts. But these are the details that curve and twist the branch of our family tree. After all, we are simply who we are.

The ego tells us who we "should" be. It's the voice that asks us to betray our real self, to defy what's authentic for us. It's the antithesis of reason, the worry that keeps us up at night. The ego teases with promises of happiness if we could only be something different from what we are.

My children have shown me that the more engaged in life I am--body, mind, and soul--the happier I am. I have less time to listen to that voice of unreason, its judgmental whisperings. We love our children easily for who they are, and maybe along this road we will find that same comforting affection for ourselves.

It's that last little bit that gets me. Yeah, that part in bold.

And I'm trying.

p.s.--I just had to put that yummy picture of Wilder up; he was so little then...

Mar 30, 2009

It blizzard-ed but they still got married

Shawn's cousin Amy married Dave this weekend & I was able to get some good pictures! Shawn ushered and I did Amy's makeup (talk about pressure)...

Purdy soon I'll learn how to arrange photos differently, so it's more of a collage, for your viewing pleasure. For now, you'll have to scroll, scroll, scroll!

A rare Mommy/Wilder photo! (@ rehearsal)..we have the same eyes!
The beautiful couple
I nearly stole her bouquet!
Sarah and her family!

For dipping into the chocolate fountain!

Flower girls
The Blanton's!
Cute, young, skinny girls
G'ma Dorothy & Drew
Sarah, Katelyn, Steph
Amy received a handmade necklace from one of her admirers, Callie.
Uncle Jim with Wilder (who loved Jim's whiskers)
Reading with Great-Grandma Dorothy
Grandpa Chet bestowing blessings and wisdom. :-)
Pretty Sela and her daddy, Joel
WildMan happy and caught up on sleep the next day; he survived!
Look at that gummy grin! Still no teeth...
Should Shawn adopt this look? Vote now!
A & B--they stayed with us; we had a blast, as true ornery colors come out when I'm around them...thanks for putting up with me, guys!

Mar 25, 2009

It was good and I made a mess.

Mommy traced me and drew my fingers free-handedly...they look kinda like flower petals. For the record, my fingers aren't that chubby!
Testing to see how far my fingahs will fit in my mouth. Yep, it's pretty far.
Oh bless me I'm happy!
I am ready for the desert and I'm not sure why because I'm not planning a trip there anytime soon. I haven't even been past Missouri yet.

Part of my bedtime routine is touching the bright orange lamp. You'd think Owl would be excited for me but his expression never changes. Dummy.
This nice old man came to the house to bring mommy some flowers. He drove a van with the letters M-O-O-R-E on it. Mommy was happy to get the flowers because it means Daddy loves her.

Oh, and I had blueberries & apples for dessert today. It was good and I made a mess.

Mar 24, 2009

You want my two cents worth? No prob!

A friend asked for my opinion on the "when to have kiddos" topic. I was elated someone asked for my opinion--that's one part of my job that I miss; having all these ideas to hash out...

Anyway, I wanted to give careful thought to the question before I responded. Her specific inquiry was whether or not she & her husband should wait 5 years before growing their family, or begin sooner.

Here's my response. Bet your tickled pink to get to a front row seat in my email inbox!

I'm honored you've asked my opinion about the kiddos topic. Loving a child is one of life's grandest privileges. It is overwhelming in so many ways, primarily in that one's heart feels it might crack under the enormous love; it really is a lot.

It is new, old, wonderful, breathtaking, and scary. And it's a lot of work...sort of like running a marathon, with its exhilaration and an end goal, intermingled with diligence and some pain (by pain I really mean the pain you feel when your baby is hurting, or the "pain" of making a tough decision).
It is new because each day reveals an adventure. It is old because your child has always been a part of you.

Do I miss sleeping in on Saturdays? Yes, but I love opening all the windows in the house the morning, then cracking open Wilder's door to be immediately smitten by a huge smile. In the next moment I may have to change a stinky diaper, but it's no biggie. Do I miss romantic dates? Yes. We still go on them but not as often; just requires more planning.

Shawn and I waited 5 years, and I'm glad we did. Not because parenthood is "horrible" but because it is at times difficult and you want to have your partner 100% there with you. Sometimes you'll miss when it was just "you two" but then you look at your child and understand that he is the celebration of you and your partner's love. I've always said that Wilder is the culmination of all my right decisions in life. And he is.

I'm just so thrilled that you & "Fabio" may choose to have children. Your life will be richer. You will be tired, stressed and frazzled at times, but those sacrifices are worth it. It's an honor to be such an integral part of someone's life.

And you can say, "look what we made!"

What do you think of my response? To my mommy readers, how would you respond?

It's hard for me to articulate that parenthood should be approached thoughtfully, prayerfully, not because it is this awful thing, but because it is so wonderful. As much as I thought I was semi-prepared for mommy-hood, I wasn't. And that's ok. Approaching the unknown--that's what makes life FUN!

May you be blessed as you nurture your families, whether it's your hubby, Nemo the beta, or a brood of wee ones!

And if you happen to need a bottle of water or "atta-girl" as you're running the marathon course, I'm here for you, ever eager to put in my two cents.

Mar 23, 2009

My darling

We are together you, and me
Two peas in a pod

You are my darling
My song my love

I bless the Lord
For giving you to me

Mar 20, 2009

I always have time for a sweet treat. Always.

I would love to say I made these:

But, Julie did, for our friend Lisa's baby shower.
(good job, Julie! They were beautiful and delicious!)

Or these:

But Kendra did, for the same shower
(splendid job, Kendra--decadent!)

But I did make these:
Good ole frosted sugars, bright green (& some orange) in the spirit of blarney season, for the Harris household to enjoy, and for anyone who knocks on our door! If one arranges three hearts, they turn into a Shamrock, like so:

It's been awhile since I used my handy vintage Sunbeam upright blender (or is it a mixer?)...mainly because the large bowl broke and I'm stuck with the little one. But the little bowl was just the right size for preparing the buttery, sugary, frosting. So. good.
Here's some random pics from my mommy-only time "out on the town":

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing

Mar 19, 2009

Ori and Wilder out to play

(random pic of Wild in a box!)

Julie and Ori came arrived for a playdate yesterday. Both Wild & Ori were on their best behavior...we treated them to a walk "down by the river" in the beautiful weather and had a splendid time catching up.

Julie, thank you for spending a little of your Spring Break with us; what a blessing!

Our attempts at a "perfect" photo were futile...but these are fun anyway:

Hey, we're almost to Friday! Anyone else as giddy as I am?