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.
A letter to my dear sweet oldest, who just happens to turn 7 the week we publish this. Don’t mind the old, novice photos at the beginning. 😉
‘I need you so much closer,
So come on; come on.’
-Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlantiscm
It seems like just yesterday I was waiting. Waiting, amidst years of questions and worry, to simply see a positive pregnancy test. But with a lot of medical help + a bit of faith it happened. You. And then suddenly I was waiting again – but this time waiting to meet you. I remember seven years ago right now. That round, swollen belly I adored despite the less than ideal body changes. I busied myself with bread making, dog walking, and many hours on the birth ball trying to coax you along. I talked to you, so did your dad. One night we sat in your finally completed nursery (that you never used, hah!) watching the white noise machines projector display fish on your ceiling, quietly chatting and daydreaming about what it’ll be like to finally see you. It was surreal, and those final days felt like the night before a thousand Christmas mornings put together.
And then one day, you decided to meet us. You decided that so quickly that we barely made it to the midwife in fact. I saw you immediately as you came out, and my first words were “look at your hair! I love you so much!” in between bawling. Your dad and I both cried so much (don’t worry, the best kind of ‘happy tears’) I think we may have weirded out our amazing birthing team. It was like you were with us all along, my love.
And then something happened; waiting wasn’t quite the star of the show anymore. Your newborn self turned 1. Then 2. Then 3. You get the gist. And now you’re 7. Your grandma warned me how quickly motherhood flies by, and only now do I understand how spot on she is. I wish I would’ve listened to her more.
I struggle with wanting to savor every second of these ages, holding onto them just a little bit longer yet I love seeing you mature into such a kind, strong individual. What’s a mom to do? The only thing I can come up with – besides document – is give you a few tidbits I’ve learned over the years (because it’s never to early to listen to your mothers wisdom).
First of all, be kind. See that kid sitting alone at lunch? Imagine how it feels to be her, and do what you’d like others to do for you. Sit with her. Invite her to your table. I already know what a kind, gentle soul you are and I’m blown away daily by the amount of empathy you have for all things human, animal, and even plant. Never lose that. It’ll carry you further in life than most things.
It’s okay, and in fact important, to make mistakes. I see that disappointment over making mistakes is one hurdle you particularly struggle with, but always remember you always learn and grow from a mistake. As Albert Einstein said, ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’ Don’t ever let this fear close doors for you.
Be passionate. If you want to do something in life, believe and know that you can. You are strong and intelligent and never let anyone make you think otherwise. You want to be a veterinarian? Go for it. An artist? Go all in. Work hard to pursue that passion – I’ll always be your cheerleader.
At the same time don’t take life too seriously. Dance in the grocery store (cough cough, despite the fact you get embarrassed by me doing so) without worrying about what others think. Laugh a lot. Smile. Simply embrace childhood and never lose that lightness that comes along with it even as you grow older.
Be grateful. There will come a time when you’ll compare what we have to your friends house/clothes/etc, and feel you want more. Perhaps you have already. But know in the big picture none of this will matter. Practicing gratitude daily – like how we say what we’re grateful for each night at dinner – will make you happier than any new toy or clothes will. There are so, so many less fortunate than us.
Speaking of the above, be generous. Give to others. Whether that’s making a picture for someone to brighten their day or volunteering your time for a cause, this will lead to so much joy. It’s easy to think of what you want, but never forget to think what others want or need. I see how much you do this with friends or your sister, and it makes me so darn proud.
Be happy. You, my girl, have no problem with this. Every teacher you’ve had always comments how bubbly and smiley you are, and I hope you never lose that. Life is to short and fragile to dwell on sadness (although it’s okay to be sad, sometimes, too).
Be you. Never change to make someone happy, or be like someone else. Not everyone will understand you, and that’s perfectly okay.
I’m sure I could come up with much more to tell you, but at this point I’ve likely lost your interest (you are only 7, after all). 😉 But know how proud I am of who you’ve already become, and how lucky I am that I get to be your momma. I love us so darn much. You will indeed always be my baby, even when you’re my age and writing letters of your own. It’s just a fact.
I love you to the moon and back,
Please go to Caroline Cuinet, 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.