yesterday was trick or treating at andrew’s office and our little lion could hardly wait. we had been practicing the good ol’ “trick or treat, smell my feet!” saying and she was quite eager to give it a go and fill her basket with all the lollies. on our way downtown, i decided last minute to swing by the river market to snap a few shots on our favorite stretch of cobblestone in the city. i was only able to get a few pictures in before it started to drizzle, but what i captured was worth more than a thousand frames. all snuggled up in my wool socks and white robe, i looked at the two images later that evening. i was not prepared for the emotional affect they would have on me. that second photo, you guys. her expression says it all.
i immediately showed these pictures to andrew and we both got teary-eyed sitting there on the couch. we didn’t have to say anything to one another in that moment because this particular expression of our little girl’s said enough. our hearts felt immediately heavy for her.
although stella was already tucked in bed, we could not help but tip toe in to snuggle with her, trying our best not to make our old floorboards creak. with my head sandwiched between a stuffed elmo and an easter bunny doll, i felt a few tears drip down the side of my face and soak into the pillow. we all needed this so badly. the three of us laid there for what felt like not nearly long enough as stella snored softly and we looked on adoringly, each of us on one side of her warm little body. it was a beautifully bittersweet moment that set off a swirl of emotions.
sometimes i feel like i could be better mom. i know better seems so relative, but i feel like there are times i am not giving my very best, blaming it on being tired, hungry, or just plain old cranky. knowing this frustrates me. and now and again, i can’t help but feel like there is more i can do to bring happiness and joy to my little one’s lives. i could be more selfless. a better listener. more patient. honestly, there are moments sprinkled throughout the day that creep up on me where i feel like i’ve failed my girl in some way. i am sure most moms feel this way time and time again, but it does not diminish its worth nor does it discount these feelings in any way.
seeing that faint smile hiding in her oversized lion costume it hit me with full force: our sweet stella needs to know that she has not been forgotten. that she is still our little girl and we love her more than ever.
these last few weeks have been hard on our stella bear. although we have cherished our time so far as a family of four, there have been some challenging days for us. as a means of gaining control as the reality she once knew slips further and further from the familiar grasp of her fingertips, she has been throwing monster-sized tantrums, neglecting to nap, and not acting like her normal self. this has made some days feel endless and some hours utterly exhausting. given this new dynamic, we are all taking each day as it comes and doing what we feel is best in each moment. but i still can’t help but feel there is just more i can and should do.
as hard and embarrassing as it is to shed light on areas of one’s life that are in need of improvement, it can do tremendously wonderful things. after all, one can not grow unless first acknowledging areas that need watering and the presence of sunlight. this innocent lion picture, though naively darling to many, means so much more to me. i will never forget that knowing, sad smile. and when in the future i feel like i could do better, or like i want to pull my hair out from being stretched like a rubber band in more than one direction, i will think of it and use it as fuel to be more present, calm, and thankful for this gift of motherhood i have been given.