Oh, blasted New Year’s traditions we get ourselves into of our own free will. Since Eric and I have been married, we’ve kept a little notebook to write in at the end of every year. We list events of the previous year, including a smattering of disasters but mostly accomplishments–hard things we overcame, reasons to be a bit proud, and remembrances of how God has been faithful to us.
This year was different. Glancing through the previous years’ submissions, a dazed feeling came over me, and I could only think of one “thing,” one “accomplishment” for this year. Baby, baby, baby. It was the year of Talitha.
This thought overwhelmed me for a few seconds, but then I remembered the intense and even painful love that flooded our lives since the birth of little T-Rose. I thought of the many days at home with her, but also our many road trips and even our recent trot across the globe to visit Guam and Hawaii. I thought of the dedication and determination I’ve gathered (with help from God, Christian friends/mentors, and my husband) to deal with baby blues, to walk confidently in my “different” body, and to eat healthy while watching the scale descend at a numbingly slow pace.
As with so many things, there seems to be a rather jolting pendulum swing when it comes to perceptions of motherhood. One says motherhood means that your old life and any semblance of order and regular ol’ beauty is gone. Embrace the mom bun, leggings, and giant t-shirts every day and everywhere. Showers are optional for this mama. The other says that motherhood doesn’t have to touch you very much at all. Your child is a cute, albeit expensive, accessory. Like a poodle, only not.
While I don’t pretend to know the answers of what the “ideal mother” looks like, I know these extreme views of her are flawed. Yes, we must figure out at each stage and with each consecutive child how to keep our personal and professional dreams afloat and fit in a semi-regular shower, but while death to self does (and should) occur, we must not lose ourselves and our zest for this fabulous and short life. So for me, 2017 was a year of growth, a year of love, and yes, it was the year of Talitha Rose. How blessed am I? Her smile, which she gives liberally, undoes me, and I am so grateful to be her one and only mama. Here’s to a new year full of thankfulness, determination, contentment, and lots of baby snuggles. Thanks be to the Prince of Peace.
Keep the Faith,
Photo Credit: Creationfoto Photography by Barbara Sanders