October 4, 2007

The Shrunken Wool Sweater Gown of Motherhood.


If I wasn't able to contact you personally, I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who swung by to say HELLO yesterday. I am floored and so grateful for each and every one of you- Your words of encouragement stick to me, and I use them to help remind myself why I continue to write when I am feeling like I have nothing new to offer in this crazy web of world wides. Thank You.


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Ezra. Let's talk about Ezra. He is the lighthouse to my rocky coast. Spinning around in bright circles regardless of the weather or the storm. The day or the night.

I feel like I am just now reaching a place where I can say confidently that having him was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I may be late in the game to throw that out there, but I wanted to wait to say it outloud until I could say it without any falsehood. Ezra is the third best thing that has ever happened to me. God is first. Chris is second. Ezra is third. A girl must keep her priorities straight.

For the first couple of years there, I wasn't so sure. I have always loved Ezra with everything in me- from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet, but the reality of what this kid would add to me personally and add to my life didn't sink in until much later. I loved him, of course, but life became so much more complicated after he was born. (Did I just hear a collective "duh"?)

I honestly believe that it has taken two and a half years for me to properly mourn the loss of my old life. My old self. And I think that this is perfectly Okay. Some parents don't need two and a half years to come to terms with their new identities as mothers and fathers. Others might need a bit longer.

That's not to say that I won't ever think back on the way things used to be pre-kiddo and long for a fraction of that freedom again. I will have those days. But I feel like I have recently shimmied my way into the final stage of "acceptance", where motherhood has become more of a well tailored gown rather than the shrunken woolen sweater I felt like I was forcing myself into back in the early days. I can finally put my arms down. I can do a quick twirl and feel like a million bucks.

My gown doesn't look like yours. And I can guarantee that yours doesn't look like hers. Or hers. Or hers. And I think that this is Okay too. This is more than Okay. Who wants to show up to a party wearing the same dress as everyone else?




We are all so quick to agree that every child is different. But we are so slow to believe that about ourselves as mothers and fathers. We are all different. There isn't an age we reach where we suddenly outgrow our uniqueness. If you were to look back and remember yourself as a child, I bet you'd agree that you were unique. In some way, you were different- set apart from all the other kids you knew. It was true then and it is still true now.

We parent with what we've got. And we've been given all that we need. And I am finally (two and a half years later) believing this for myself. I am a mother. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Ezra has made me a better person. A better wife. A better friend. A better daughter. He has shown me deep things about God that I might never have stooped down and paused to see. He has forced me out of many (treacherous) comfort zones and amplified some of my very best qualities.

He likes to sing songs and he hugs all of his friends. He is a picky eater. He likes to try and do things by himself, but he knows when to ask for help when it gets too difficult. He whines. And throws fits. And thinks he's entitled to a new toy every time we go to the store. He gives away his hiding place EVERY TIME we play hide-and-go-seek by squealing with delight when I walk into whatever room he's "hiding" in. He's finally figuring out how to incorporate his shoulders into his dance moves.

He is lovely. And he has changed my life for good.

23 comments:

sufferingsummer said...

this is so true and beautifully expressed.

elixir said...

This is a lovely post. For me acceptance of the mother title came with the birth of the second...while still before the first is 2 1/2...it might have sank into acceptance by then if #2 hadn't come along (yes, planned, but still a big adjustment. Two kids....there's no getting around that...I am officially a momma)

MoMar said...

you are lovely as well ...

meg said...

i enjoy honesty. good on you.

Talia said...

I like how honest you are always! I also like how you placed your child third after God and husband. I may love my children with everything in me, but they are not my whole life. I think it's important to remember this too; it helps us to maintain some identity outside of "mommy", and we all need that.
Children are such a blessing from the Lord, and I can tell that yours is an amazing one. I hope God blesses you each new day in your mommyhood. :)
wow, your son's eyes... I can't get over those!!

Morgan said...

I'm inspired to someday have my own gown of motherhood...

Flo Oakes said...

I really, really understand this.
I felt more this way with Amelie than Sera, and I felt guilty because she was probably already going to get 2nd born syndrome and only have 1/2 a scrapbook and 1/2 my love!
I think it was because Sera had a HUGE personality from day 1, and Amelie sort of...just sat there until now, and now that she is coming out of her shell, I am getting to know her, I am feeling like she is a whole person, and I LOVE her!
You are not alone, and besides, isn't it nicer to have deep love grow slowly, than an instant infatuation that dissolves?

Misguided Mommy said...

I KNEW IT WAS OKAY TO USE YOUR SHOULDERS WHEN YOU WERE DANCING!!!

And Em, we all knew you were an amazing mom, we've just been sitting her quietly while you realized it so we could all let out another collective DUH!!!

Amy said...

Amen.

Hunny Bee May said...

Emery, this post really blew me out of the water. Not because I'm shocked that you have these feelings, but because I recognize them in myself, and have never realized it before. Thank you for your honesty. I saw the truth about myself through it. My pregnancy came as a shock at the most inopportune time, and yet I feel like I am just now becoming myself two years later. The best self I could ever be. I thank God for my awesome little 'oops'. I wouldn't be me without him.

Secret Agent Mama said...

His eyes are truly the windows to the soul! He's beautiful just like his mother.

Laura said...

As you already know this is a perfectly-timed post for me. And I love it.

Rimarama said...

I love the "gown of motherhood" analogy. You are so right - we always do talk about how every child is different, but many time expect women to approach motherhood in a uniform way. AND WE DON'T WEAR UNIFORMS!

Jeninacide said...

Thank you SO much for writing this. I feel as though I have been grieving the loss of my "old" life throughout my entire pregnancy and that NOBODY understands! It's nice to know I am NOT alone!

Now I have to go write a blog about YOUR blog!

XXOO

Anna Joy Photography said...

this is so sweet. I hope i can be as wise and humble as you when I'm a mama!!

Anna Joy Photography said...

this is so sweet. i hope i can be so wise and humble when i am a mama!!

p.s. YES DOWN WITH SHAMU, AAAAAAAAAA!!!

blackbird said...

PLUS he has the most beautiful eyes.
Do yourself a favor and read this again next Mother's Day...

piper of love said...

sweetie, you nailed it!

I felt tremendous displacement after Jackson was born, and for a really long time I didn't know what the deal was. I wasn't prepared for the reality of becoming a completely different person as soon as the little wonder slipped out of my loins. I didn't adjust well.

You are a tremendous mother! The way you acknowledge your feelings of limitations is a triumph. You have to be proud of yourself, you've earned your self confidence and self respect as a mother...there's a lot to be said for that.

Candace said...

one of my posts called mombonding I mention how I loved my second baby like one would love a REALLY good friend's baby. It took me awhile after both my kids to really feel the joy in all of it. Change....fight it tooth and nail "who am I in all of this?" is my common theme. I still struggle with the realities of parenting but that doesn't mean I'm not overwhelmed by my love for them. For me, writing, expressing, striking a chord.... like you just did..... gets me through..

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love that you expressed your confidence in being the mom that God has designed you to be. I've caught on to this truth (after my 4th child was born!!) and see it as an honor and responsibility to share with young, insecure moms who feel the need to live up to some mythical perfection that Western culture embeds in us all. We may be adults, but we're still God's children, and he wants us to honor our uniqueness with out parenthood.
Blessings to you!!
Jen

Tara Jones said...

all i have to say is...
that kid is so lucky to have a mom like you:)

Sharon said...

You are both blessed to have each other. And those eyes!!! Man, he is going to break some hearts!

Stephanie said...

You are a wonderful mother! I think that your feelings and thoughts are normal and completely agree its different for everyone.

And I can't get over how gorgeous his eyes are!