Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dear Eisley, I promise I won't always catch you when you fall...

Tonight Eisley slipped and hit her chin on the coffee table she was holding on to.  She bit her tongue as she fell, then hit her poor little head on the floor.  It was horrible.  I saw it all happen like it was in slow motion.  Then the screaming and crying, and my baby's mouth was full of blood.  Her sharp little teeth had cut into her tongue.  As I held and rocked my baby and whispered calming words into her ear, I couldn't help but think about all the times that lay ahead of us like this.  All the times that she will fall, both literally and metaphorically, as she grows into the lovely woman I know she will one day be.  She is bound to stumble, to fall, to get hurt as she learns new skills and as she grows and matures.

And it's scarier than I'd like to admit.  

Sometimes my motherly urge goes against what I know will be best for my daughter in the long run.  The urge to catch her every time I see her beginning to slip.  To shield her from all forms of pain and suffering, to hold her close to my breast and whisper constantly in her little ears that everything will be alright.  That I will always be here for her.  That I will always protect her.  That I will never let her fall.  

The thing is, I know that would be detrimental to my beautiful little girl's development both as she learns simple things like how to stand on her own and how to walk, and as she learns complicated things like how to navigate love and a broken heart.  My own heart literally aches as I think about Eisley hurting in those deeper ways someday, but I also know that I cannot shield her from life.  I cannot catch her ever time I see her slip.  I cannot refuse to let her learn that she is, in fact, perfectly able to stand on her own.  Well, not completely on her own.  She can stand strong in Christ.

You see, as counter-intuitive as it seems sometimes, we have to let our children fall, fail, get hurt, and just plain mess up sometimes.  Let the reader understand- I am NOT in any way shape or form saying that we shouldn't protect our children from real danger, and I am certainly NOT advocating negligence here.  I am simply saying that if we refuse to let our children experience pain, disappointment, and failure that we are actually robbing them of something amazing.  Something vital to their success in this life.

We are robbing them of the ability to see that they can pick themselves up, dust themselves off, have a good cry if they need to, but ultimately learn that they can overcome obstacles and pain.  We steal from them the vital skill of learning from their mistakes.  Because if we never let our children make mistakes in the first place, there is no way for them to learn from them.

So Eisley, this is my promise to you.

I promise to protect you from the things that would hurt you deeply as much as I can, but I also promise not to stand behind you like a shadow in your life, like a protective talisman to ward off all ills.  I promise to let you fall sometimes, both literally and figuratively, so that you can learn that you are strong, resillient, and perfectly capable of getting back up and moving forward.  I promise to teach you, to the best of my own broken ability, to put your faith in the strength of your Heavenly Father before your own.  You see, sometimes we just can't pick ourselves back up in our own strength.  You are bound to experience times like that, but the Lord will pick you up if you let Him.

Sweet Eisley, I promise to let you learn unhindered by my constant worrying.  I don't want to be the thing that holds you back in this life.  I want to cheer you on, encourage you, guide you, be there for you... but ultimately I want to instill this one thing in you-  no one can live your life for you, and you cannot live in fear.  So as terrified as I will inevitably be the first time you decide to run full-tilt down the hallway, I will cheer you on and stand to the side.  Even if you stumble over your own inexperienced little feet and fall.  I will try my best to give you a minute before running to save you so that you have the opportunity to brush it off, pick yourself back up, and continue running your race.  As scared as I may be to drop you off for your first day of school- where I can't watch you and help you and teach you throughout the day-  I promise not to hold on to you in a desperate hug if you are ready to walk away into your classroom, confident and excited.

There are so many things that I could promise in this life.  There are so many responsibilities that I carry as your mommy.  It is a terrifying and awe-filled thing to raise you knowing that one day you will walk away from my arms for good, a confident, strong, Godly woman.  There is so much to consider and pray over, but for now this is what is on my heart for you.

Lovely, spirited, hilarious Eisley-  I will do my best to help you without holding you back.  But remember this my love, I am learning too.  I will fall and slip up and screw up more than I would like along the way.  Please try to be patient with me as I try to be the best mom I can be.  It's not an easy thing, being a mom, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

So as painful as it was for me to watch my daughter fall and hurt herself, I need to stop and remember that this is a part of her journey, one of the ways that she will discover who she is and what she is capable of.  Fear is a learned behavior-  Eisley proved that to me when she immediately pulled herself right back up after I finally set her down.  Instead of picking her right back up again so she couldn't fall once more, I just watched my daughter try again, and I quietly cheered her on from the sidelines.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wait... it's been 11 months already?

My daughter is 11 months old.

Please give me a second so I can pick my jaw up off of the floor.

This is the last month of Eisley's babyhood.  Yikes.  I can't seem to wrap my mind around this.  I keep looking back on photos from the day she was born and I feel like it was three weeks ago.  I remember so vividly being pregnant, watching my stomach move and wave, feeling the braxton hicks contractions, and the beginning of a whole new kind of love.

Oh my, I need to get some more sleep because here I am getting all choked up about being pregnant with E and her first year of life.  I used to be able to cradle her tiny head in one hand and her tiny little booty in the other and she weighed next to nothing.  Now I have to cradle her head in the crook of my arm and put my other arm under her bum and legs.  She's huge!  Her legs dangle and everything!

She is just so much fun right now.  I love this age.  Well, honestly I've loved every age.  She is such a goof ball.  She loves to scrunch her nose up, part her lips into what looks like a snarl, and breathe loudly through her clenched teeth.  She thinks it's hilarious to stick her tongue out.  She loves to dance and shake her little booty, and she's standing up all the time (to the point that the kid doesn't sleep because she'd rather stand at the side of her crib and scream bloody murder in protest of bedtime).  She likes shoes.  A lot.  She really  likes to chew on shoes.  Speaking of chewing, she likes to eat everything.  I literally haven't found a food that she won't eat (which is awesome!)

I told myself three months ago that I would have her first birthday party planned by now, but do I?

I'll pause for dramatic effect so you can take a wild guess here.

I have done nothing.

Oops.  Time to get cracking.

Please ignore the disaster that is my house in this photo!  It's been a long week... ;)
I just can't believe my baby is going to be a toddler in a month.  I can't wait to see how she changes and grows in this next month, and the little lady she is becoming.  She's as beautiful as ever, and I am just as in love as ever (ok, well maybe even more so!)

I look at Eisley and she is changing.  Her legs are getting longer, her cheeks no longer cover her neck.  Her torso is elongating, and her face is thinning out.  I look at my baby and she is starting to look like a little girl.  I look at my daughter and I just can't believe that one year has brought so much change.  I'm a little scared to see what this next year will bring.  She's going to go from a toddler to big girl.  Oh my.

So I have three more weeks to enjoy my baby while she is still a baby.

Oh Eisley, you will only be a baby for three more weeks.  How you've grown and changed and turned into such a funny little one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I've dropped off the face of the earth, and other holiday happenings

Man, I pretty much missed the major holidays completely, didn't I?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years... gone in the blink of my very sleepy eyes.  Oh well, such is the mommy life, right?  

I've admittedly been preoccupied lately.  New business ventures (Mary Kay), plotting how to revive old ones (portrait photography!  yay!), and lots of time enjoying my babe (who will not be a baby much longer, eek!).  I'm going to be better about posting this year.  New Years resolution.  *wink*

So in a nutshell, here's what is going on with me right now.  I'm fat.  No really, I am.  Don't feel like you need to post a comment telling me I am not.  I'm totally not being self-deprecating here, I'm just being honest with myself and all of you.  It is, sadly, a fact.  SO.  What does that mean for me this year?  It means I have a lot of work to do, because the hubs and I would like to start trying for baby number two probably some time this summer.  And I don't want to be ridiculously overweight while I am pregnant.  Not fun.  At all.

So my goals for this year (notice I am calling them goals and not resolutions...  who the heck ever sticks to their resolutions?  Not me!) are to get my eating habits (and sometimes lack of eating) under control, and to exercise way way way more often than I do now.  Which is to say, I am going to start exercising.  Because I stepped on the scale this morning ladies, and while I am not quite honest or confident enough to admit the number, I will say that it is not good.  Not good at all.

I almost peed myself.

SO.  Today begins my new lifestyle.  I'm going to juice fresh fruits and veggies, eat whole and healthy foods, and take Eisley for lots and lots of walks when the weather is not too frigid.  It's probably going to suck completely at first.  Let's be real here.

But I don't want to be a horrible example for my daughter as she starts to become more and more aware of everything I do.  The child watches me like an adorable little hawk, and I see her taking it all in.  I don't want to pass bad habits, poor self image, and most of all poor health on to my daughter.  Not the kind of legacy that I am looking to leave.

I would love to hear your success stories, tips, tricks, and motivational anecdotes (as well as any awesome juicing recipes).  We could all use a little encouragement sometimes, and I am sure I'm not the only one in this boat.  We can do it ladies!

Now wish me luck, because this is going to be a long hard journey, though completely worth the struggle.  Someday, hopefully some day this year, I will step on that scale and not have to fight the involuntary pee-myself reaction.  Someday (soon!) I will be able to shop at whatever store I want for clothes.  Someday (starting today!) I will have more energy to be a good mom and chase my little princess around.  Here we go...

OH!  And should you want to make some of that delicious looking juice for yourself, it's super easy.  Just juice two oranges, two apples, one big carrot, and about a cup and a half of spinach.  Yum!  That was my breakfast this morning, and it was amazing.