A few Saturdays ago, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) snapped this picture of Cancan and me:
It was only a couple of weeks after we’d moved in to our new house. Although you can’t see it very well, the kitchen counter behind me lay stacked with bowls and cups and plates; beyond that, another eight or nine boxes sat dormant, contents wrapped in cellophane, awaited placement. Because there is nothing speedy about the moving and the unpacking and the settling process in general, especially not when two miniature humans have decided to make nest in your home as well. Instead, it takes weeks, months, years, perhaps, to make a house a home, to usher into place where everything should land.
That particular day we’d trekked two blocks up Wesley and then another three down MacArthur to the farmer’s market. Cheap Scot that I am, we’ve continued to made do with a single-seat stroller: Baby Brother sits strapped into the real seat while Cancan balances precariously on the Bob’s front triangle. Frodo kicks him mercilessly but we call it a massage, and Big Brother somehow trusts in the health benefits of an eight month old’s deep tissue kneading ways.
When we enter the market, we meander the crammed and crooked aisles, tasting strawberries and sampling the Cara Cara oranges. We stand in line for a plate of hummus and greens and chips, because it’s one of the only meals we can successfully share between adult and tinies. We hand our dollars over to the teenager at the bounce house religiously, week after week, because of the joy one climb up and another slide down produces for one such two-year-old boy.
And after we’ve wandered and tasted and seen the grit, the beauty, the life of this little slice of our neighborhood, we trudge back up the hill, babies screaming and Mama sweating.
And then I make the Great Escape.
That day, I went to Nordstrom Rack to purchase new unmentionables and to find a shirt or two I could wear on a daily basis that wasn’t already covered in spit-up stains. I mailed a package that had been sitting in the car for a week and I stopped in at Starbucks for an afternoon Frappuccino without having to run circles around the tantalizing display of five dollar dried fruits and nuts. I may have even read for a few minutes in the car before heading home, before returning to the chaos, before opening the door to pleas for chocolate chip cookie making time.
And that’s when this picture was snapped.
When I still didn’t feel like I had the patience necessary to be a good mom.
When I felt down on myself for yet-to-lose baby weight, when Ugly seemed to carry more weight than Pretty.
When I found myself wearing my husband’s undershirt because I didn’t have any that fit properly.
When all I wanted to do was refuse my son’s pleas for time together, for stirring and mixing and creating, side by side.
But I’m beginning to see this picture differently now.
Because I think it’s in in these moments of inadequacy that we discover our true selves – we discover that Beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places. We see the way our son holds his taste-tester spoon, eyes gleaming, beaming, alive with delight and spirit and spunk. And we see ourselves, maybe, potentially, actually, as we are truly seen.
As wanted and desired and embraced, as is, not as will be, not as was.
I’m rewriting what the picture actually, really is, instead of what I sometimes feel that it is.
I’m listening to the Voice.
What picture needs to be rewritten? What story are you believing that you need to let be redirected today? And for all those mamas out there, when and if you’re ever feeling down on yourself for the weight, for the lack of patience, for the desire to return to All Things Normal, hang in there. You are not alone. Not ever.0