Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles in our journeys. Through our writings and photographs, we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.
In this post I will share a few images I took of your father and I, through his suggestion. His excitement over my passion truly moved me, which led me to this. I’m also including a handful shots from our recent family photos by the amazing Jocelyn Collins Photography (I literally teared up when I first saw them!).
I want to talk about love for a bit. Not just love between your friends, your sister, or with your father or with me. I’m talking about the love you have yet to think about. I want to talk about the love you see between your dad and me. I want to talk about the love you may someday have for a man, or maybe a woman. I want to talk about the cliches you’ll see, the things that aren’t important, and the things that are a game changer. So much that fills your little brains at this point are what you see on your favorite Disney movies, despite how I wish it’s only the good you see in real life people. In your father and me.
Let’s start with a few basics. First, you’ll have crushes. A special person you think of when you should be doing homework, eating dinner, or sleeping. That’s so darn normal, and I hope you feel comfortable enough to share that with me or your dad. I entirely remember those days, despite how old you may think I am now. The first hand hold will forever be etched in your memory, as will your first kiss. I do, however, hope it’s well into the teenage years. 😉
Second, a crush may turn into what you believe is your first love. A combination of age, hormones and yes heart will suddenly make you feel every song for this person, write in your journal or letters to your hearts content. You may very well believe that that person is the one your meant to be with, start a family with, grow old with. Tread slowly. It will feel intense, and that’s okay, it should. Embrace that. It may, or may not, work out. There’s a lot of songs about first loves for a reason. I remember my first ‘love’ at the age of 18 – he broke up with me after some time – and my mom and aunt played ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ by Cat Stevens for me on a ride home from your great-grandparents house with them. We cried together. I had never seen my aunt cry so hard and my mom so mad at someone. I get it now, being a mom, and I’m beyond thankful they were there for me. Always go to who’s always been there for you, my loves. In the happy, or the sad, times. It’s okay if those kind of loves always hold a place in your heart, even if it’s to teach you a lesson as you get older. A lesson for me was to never settle for someone who doesn’t love you to their fullest. Never settle, my girls. Find someone who loves you to your core.
If that doesn’t work, you may meet another love. And perhaps another. Each time, you should find something out about yourself. Grow throughout those seasons. You may be alone for some time. That’s great, too. A person is not necessary to complete you. A true love should compliment you, not make you. You will always be who you are – hold onto that, not losing yourself to another person.
Then one day, I hope you’ll meet them. It may start out as admiration, or even lust. I know that doesn’t make sense now – it will someday. But after some time of intense ‘I think I’m in love’ and ‘I can’t get enough of this person’ feelings, real life will hit. You’ll realize that person is a person. A person with flaws, a person trying to write their own story as well. They’re a person who makes mistakes and is not perfect, as those early days suggested. That’s when the true test begins.
You will love this person through your first argument; and trust me, you will have some (…side note: if you ever run into someone who says they don’t argue with their significant others, that’s the folks you worry about – they either are fibbing, or have no passion in my humble opinion). You will love them through the amazing times, but also through the struggles. You will love them through the stomach flu, problems at work, completely uninteresting hobbies, and through horrible choices in music. And they will love you the same. They support your weird ideas, hobbies, and career changes. They embrace you through bouts of anxiety, the saddest days, and love your family like they’re theirs. It’s these moments of realness between the ideal moments that make true love, I believe.
Some day, you may get married. You may have a baby. That person should be there, more than ever. True story: I fell more in love than ever with your dad when I had the both of you. Through moans in the shower and intense car rides literally pushing – which were truly my most vulnerable moments in life – he held me up. He said, “you can do this.” He’s always done that with me. Through delivering the two of you to starting a photography career, he hasn’t faltered. I hope you both will find the same. And it’s important you do the same.
I once had someone say to me, “I don’t know a single married person who’s happy and doesn’t fight.” They decided marriage isn’t for them because of this. But I’m here to tell you that long term life with a person you love is soooooo many ups, but it also has downs. Through these downs you both will learn about yourself & how to navigate this life together. You will pave you way through stubbornness (if you’re like me at all, haha) and learn true skills to emotional strength and happiness alongside someone who knows you to your core. They should help you love yourself, and you help them. I can’t stress that enough.
This person will also make you laugh. So. Darn. Hard. They will teach you to not take every little thing so seriously, & to simply find the art of enjoying the moment with them. The art of fun will be perfected with this person. Simply said, they will be your best friend.
I hope this finds the both of you not confused, but feeling more sure whenever you happen to read this (which I assume won’t be for quite some time). My hope is it leaves you with the advice to not be with someone who puts you down, but lifts you up. Supports you, and you support them, 100%. I hope you and your someday loves hold one another accountable to being a good, kind, human beings. That this person makes you laugh, keeps you calm, and inspires you to be healthy and strong. I hope this person still lets you be you, with all your passions and loves, never with a feeling of being incomplete without them. You will always be your amazing self, and they will be the same alongside you.
Please go to Ann Bloom, the next artist in our Artifact Motherhood blog circle and continue through all the artists until you get back to me! To learn more about Artifact Motherhood, click here.
What a gorgeous post April!! Gave me goosebumps, so much love here, didn’t want it to end! And wow the images are absolutely stunning, you guys are perfect together, I can feel your love for each other, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that❤
Ohhh April!! This post is priceless and TIMELESS!!! Your girls are so lucky to have you and Brad and your wonderful example of realness….
I really really loved reading this! There were some bits I went back to read again. Gosh you really hit the nail on the head with the realities of marriage and what love can look like long term. It’s beisgijfk but it can also be a struggle but ultimately it’s so worth it! These images are gorgeous and I love that you don’t introduce your girls in the images until the end. Beautiful post x
I just love how you demonstrate to your children what it looks like to be in a loving partnership. I feel it’s so important for them to learn first hand about respect, partnership and that there are hurdles but they become so much more manageable when you face them with someone you love. Beautiful images too, you must be so pleased with them.
What a wonderful message to leave to your girls April, and beautiful images to go with it! Best advice my Aunt gave me many many years ago was: “don’t look for a man who wants to make you happy, look for the man who wants to let you be happy”, not sure that translates perfectly from Spanish but it echoes what you say here <3
This is brilliant. I couldn’t help but feel like I was also reading bits and pieces of you and your husband’s love story, woven into this beautiful letter to your daughters. Such wisdom and love in your tone and words. Beautiful friend.