I have never been happier to be a mom than I am right now.
I think I always pictured having kids when I pictured my future, but never as my main focus. Never as a stay at home mom, and for sure never this young. I always thought I'd get a degree and a creative job with crazy hours, do lots of traveling, be on my own for awhile...and then maybe settle down in my 30s. Yet here I am at 24, with a 3 1/2 year old and almost 5 years of marriage under my belt. (But I'm pretty glad God's plans overrode mine.)
My focus shifted after I realized I was going to settle down so young, and for awhile I kind of lost my identity in the process of becoming a mom. I know it happens to a lot of people! Regardless of where you're at in life, having a child changes so many things at once. It's impossible to adequately prepare for. As I feel like I've mentioned before, I'm just recently coming to terms with who/what God wants me to be, and I'm more content than I knew possible. I'm still on a journey...but I'm really living vs. surviving.
One of the things I have a newfound passion for is making the best life possible for my son. Yes, of course I've done that in different ways as long as he's been alive! But I mean really putting an emphasis on it. When he was younger, we had to focus a lot on his physical health, or that of our close family members. And for a long time, my greatest desire was a sibling for him, thinking that would make all of us happy. But when I finally surrendered to the fact that I am where I'm supposed to be, who I'm supposed to be right now--I was finally able to embrace and grow the relationship I have with him. We are all better people because of it!
While visiting friends & family recently, we were able to take a little detour to the beach. We didn't have a whole lot of time, and the weather wasn't obliging, but all of us really wanted Abbott to see the ocean for the first time. It's just one of those experiences every one should have! Even though we had to adjust plans and expectations, his reaction didn't disappoint. I loved seeing him take it all in.
As fascinating as the ocean was...the puddles left by the morning's storms were equally (if not more) fun. He took the liberty of splashing in each. and. every. one. I shot away and looking through the photos later, I was so glad to see how many really captured the "essence" of who Abbott is right now, and memories I hope he'll keep forever.
Here are some stories for my Abbott:
I want you to remember being silly. I hope that stays a part of your personality! I hope I remember to take a step back and just let you do you sometimes...even if that means running after seagulls yelling, "QUACK QUACK!!"
I want you to remember the carefreeness that is so fleeting in childhood. Here, you aren't worried one bit about the people staring at you a few feet away; or the fact that you don't have dry socks/shoes to ride home in; or even what nasty germs lie in that rainwater. You're just enjoying life. I want to keep you that way as long as I can.
Sometimes it's just not feasible to run wild and splash in puddles, and you need to act appropriate and obey. But I love when you give me that look, as if asking permission for something you know you might not be allowed to do. I love when I get to say "yes" and you grin even bigger. I hope these little moments teach you that I only say "no" because I care. I know you'll be way older before you fully understand, but I hope you know that I only want the very best for you.
I love watching you explore new things. I missed out on so much because I was so nervous and afraid of things growing up. I hope moments like these keep your natural curiosity alive and thriving. I don't know what was so interesting, but I love watching you find out.
I want you to remember me and Daddy joining in on the fun, too. I remember the first time I realized that (some) adults seemed so disenchanted with the world and bored. I don't want to be that way. I'd like to think that's something you can teach me! Some of the most fun moments with my mom were moments she shocked us by acting crazy right along with whatever we were doing.
I'm trying to be a better photographer, to capture better memories and tell better stories. Not for my own sake, but for yours. I want to capture the kind of photos that make you feel things; that refuse to just be uploaded to Facebook and left alone. Because if they make me feel something, maybe they'll do the same for you. They can capture an emotion I can't express, but one you can understand.
I also want to show you the way I see you.
I'll always try to tell you how smart and kind and brave you are; how perfectly created, how capable of anything. I know that you'll think I have to say that because you're mine. But if I could show you the way I see you and how strongly I believe in you from my very core...I think that would be the key to you doing great things. Perfect love casteth out fear; and I want to love you so well you're fearless.
I want you to be able to see me how you see me right now, too. I'm going to make some mistakes. I already have. One day we might argue. We might struggle to understand each other and cause hurt and disappointment even with the best intentions. I hate the thought of that! But if I do...I want you to remember how much we love each other. I want to have worked on our relationship so much when it's "easy" that we have something to hold on to when it's not.
I want you to know how happy I am to be your mom. To be something I never planned on, but needed to be so much. I want you to find the joy in being in God's Will, and how it dominoes into all aspects of your life. I want you to see how wonderful life can be, even when you're in the middle-not the end-of your journey.
I hope you remember splashing in these puddles. They're so much more than just puddles to me.