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“Becoming a mother changed my life”.

Such a simple thought, but one, I am pretty sure every mother that has ever lived has uttered a thousand times.   Well my statement tonight is a bit more specific than that.  Emily my sweet, amazing, angel of a daughter changed me from the mother I expected to be, into the mother I was meant to be.   Emily changed not only my life, but how I forever choose to live it.  She changed more than just my life, she shifted my perspective, my goals, my priorities and my whole world as I knew and saw it.

Jayden was my first born, he will forever hold that title.  He made every thought I had about motherhood become a reality.  He arrived promptly on his due date, being born by cesarean after the obligatory agonizing 13 some hours of painful labor.  When I became a mom, of course my whole life changed, but “how” I mothered, was almost involuntary.  I had read every book.  I had rented every DVD on the topic.  I did everything I “thought” I was supposed to do.  Fed him on schedule, pumped breast milk on schedule, counted ounces, dressed him in proper layers, took him to every pediatrician appointments with all required shots given when I was told, fed him only Gerber approved foods all “stage approved” starting the day after “solids” were supposed to be allowed to be introduced.  I wrote down every wet diaper, every poop, every feeding, every wake up.  I weaned him from the breast, and then the bottle, as soon as the AAP recommended.  I watched everything he did, and if it was something I hadn’t seen before, well… I consulted my research.

Then came Emily.

The little girl I had forever dreamed of.  The daughter that was all I had ever wanted, who’s named had been picked out when I was 12 years old.

She came on her own time, early as it happened.  She screwed up my meticulous birth plans and sent me into a whirlwind the night she decided she wanted to be born.  I should have taken it as a sign of things to come.  I was so “mad” that night at having my plans uprooted, that it was hard for me to even be excited about finally getting to meet her.  The irony was, I only thought I knew everything.  I only thought I knew best.  The minute I heard that very first cry as she met this world (the first one I had ever heard, because I was asleep for Jayden’s first)….  the greatest lesson of my life began.

Unlike her brother who had screamed from basically the day we brought him home from the hospital, Emily slept non stop for the first 3 weeks of her life.  It was almost like she knew that I needed to recover, really really needed it.  She would wake up, look around see that life was still hectic and close her sweet little eyes again and go back to sleep.   Emily ate when Emily wanted to eat.  The was no schedule to be had, no routine to get her placed on, because the bottom line was she would let you clearly know when she was hungry, clearly know when she was not, and instead of crying day and night she barely made a peep unless she needed something which made it pretty darn easy to guess what that was.  As soon as the need was met, back to dreamland she would go.

Four weeks old, I took her for her 1 month pediatrician visit.  I had concerns about the shape of her head, something looked off to me, and for the life of me I couldn’t pinpoint what.  I was still that same mom you understand.  I was still the same patterned, over anxious, stressed about every little thing mom.  I had spent no less than the last two years being just that kind of person, my PPD had made me almost obsessive about every little thing relating to childrearing.   I noticed details, because I lived in the details, shit, the details consumed me!  The doctor and I fought over whether there was any cause for concern.  The doctor called me vain, told me I was overreacting, told me I was paranoid, explained how I was going to hurt my baby if I put her through tests she didn’t need just to appease my need for her head to be “perfectly shaped”.  She said if by 4-5 months it didn’t fix itself, we’d look into it then.

Emily sat in that carseat, and looked up at me with those enormous brown eyes, and for the first time in my life, I felt what “mommy instinct” truly was.  I knew I was right, just as sure as she was siting there.  So I pushed, and the doctor caved to my desire for a head CT for my little baby.  I drove with tears streaming down my face to the hospital doubting every decision I had ever made, wondering if I was harming my baby with this test, praying even that there was no need for it and that I was all the things the doctor had said, because the alternative meant that there was something actually wrong.  I wanted to be able to embrace how stupid, and paranoid and everything else I must be for not being able to listen to reason.  After all, doctors were telling me she’d be fine.  I was just a mom, what did I know?

That 6 second CT was perhaps the last time I really truly doubted my parenting, or instinct ever again.  Scaphocephaly.  A surgical condition that should be dealt with as early as 6 weeks old (two weeks from then), and far less fixable after 12 weeks old…… I know I have told this story so many times before and I am worried about repeating myself so I am going to sum up the next 12 weeks of my life by saying this about it:

when your look into the eyes of an angel, and you see true love then you know “your world” is exactly how it should be.  Every time I looked in the eyes of my sweet Emily, I knew love.  You just know that everything is the way it should be, that your heart has everything it could ever need.  When something happens to threaten the existence of that, when some doctor looks you in the face and tells you that they are going to need to surgically cut into this ball of love’s head and remove her skull?  Yeah, your world, that foundation of love that feels so incredibly strong to be standing on?  It gets ripped out from under you in a sentence, hell in a single word.

Whenever your world collapses, you get faced with a choice.  Collapses can happen over anything, and can bring you to various levels of pain, suffering, and despair.  Anything that threatens your life as you see if can be seen like this.  Illness, death, divorce, moving, losing a job….. point is, anything that rocks your foundation provides you with a choice.  Do you throw yourself in 100% and do what needs to be done to tackle the obstacles that lie ahead, or do you freak out, run away and hide from the realities that are staring at you?

For this collapse, I had no choice.  Being stripped of that choice made it easier actually.  I needed this baby in my life, I knew that with as much conviction as I knew I needed to breathe.  I knew that no matter what I had to go through, no matter what this all was going to do to everyone (stupid things like hours of research, drives to where ever had the best doctors, appointments, consults etc…) NONE of that mattered.  Nothing seemed as necessary as this innocent little child placed in my care, she completely depended on me and nothing, I tell you NOTHING but her safety and happiness were of any importance at all.

Emily underwent surgery at 12 weeks old.

My perspective on what was important in this life, was forever altered.

Life is not about what schedules we keep, or the activities we do.  It is not about the size of the house you live in, or the material things you own, or how perfect your children behave.  I realized it is not about how many “mommy wars” you can win by being the best homemaker, or the most “together” mother.  It is about loving your children every moment, it is about appreciating what you have in front of you at the exact moment you have it.  Jayden made me a mother, he brought me into the world of motherhood and taught me what having kids was all about.  My greatest lesson however, the lesson that my sweet angel of a girl taught me was just how much I could love being a mom, and just how deeply a mother’s love can truly be.  There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my children.  Not because I “have” to, not because I am “supposed” to, but because having them in my life is the single greatest gift I have ever been given, and their lives are the most precious existences in the world.

I threw away the books.  I started to trust my mommy instinct more and more.  I nursed 3 times as long as I had with her brother, I let her take the reins and listened to her when she told me she was done with that part of our lives, I no longer cared if she had a lick of a lollipop before the age of 2, I didn’t bat an eye when she took the normal tumbles and didn’t freak out when she pooped all over her clothes, or grabbed food off the table when it was clearly not “approved”.  I relaxed as a mom because faced with the stress of almost losing her, not one single thing that followed seemed to carry that much fear, or even that much importance.  She was here with us, she was happy, and if there was something that she could do or experience that made her even happier or enjoy things more, then dang it I was going to let it happen.

My lessons from her translated into every aspect of my life.  I stopped worrying about if my house was perfect, if my hair and makeup were flawless, if my clothes were matched.  Some people might look at all that and say I became lazy, or let myself go.  I would say it was the opposite.  I let go of the things that tied me to things I only used to believe were  important.  I grabbed on more tightly to those things that mattered more than all others.  The way we love each other.  The people in our lives that we choose to surround ourselves with us love us no matter what cars we drive, or how we look.  Those people who truly care about us, who love us with our flaws.  The people who can see past the spit up on your shirt, and the chocolate on your child’s face, and laugh with you through your tears, or make you laugh through your own tears, those are the people that matter, that is the stuff that counts.

I understand now what it is like to live like there is no tomorrow.  Of course there are days we all feel like we are just surviving.  Of course there are times where whatever happens to be going on in our lives makes us dissatisfied, or presents us with challenges we wish we didn’t have to face.  Of course there are times where we all feel like throwing up our hands and walking away from it all.  There are times where life gets hard, sometimes even where it feels too hard, and we can not seem to remember how amazing it is to be on this earth.  Times like that I am so grateful for my little girl who still lets me rock her to sleep at night if I can find the time, who cradles my face in her hands and tells me that she loves me, tells me that she “likes” me too, and does so without having any idea how incredible those words are to hear.

Emily has a soul of an angel.  She is strong willed, and defiant, and headstrong and sometimes difficult.  I am convinced all of these things are part of who she needed to be.  She sailed through that surgery (what feels like a lifetime ago) with such a smile on her face, and such strength in her resolve that from that day on she seemed to adopt the same sort of attitude to life that I did.  Nothing was that big of a deal, nothing was that much of a problem.  She takes the world in stride, she seems to know that she is lucky to be here, and that so many people are grateful that she is.  She loves.  She loves with all her little heart, and lives with the passion that I had almost forgotten to have.

As I sit here scanning through pictures, putting together a slideshow that I will love to watch tomorrow, that she will no doubt watch and laugh at with me, I am reminded of how much fun it has been to be her mom these past three years.

Emily, to you my sweet daughter, my love for you knows no bounds and only gets stronger every day.

Thank you from your momma for being you.  Thank you for giving me the gift of your life, for being my every dream come true, and for allowing me to become a better mother through knowing and loving you.  Words can not express my love for you sweet child, you have given me more joy in the last three years than I deserved in a lifetime.  I thank you for reminding me everyday that each moment that we get to spend together is a gift, and I hope you feel how much I love you, and never doubt that for a second.

Happy Birthday my baby girl.  You are my great

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“Life breaks everyone, but some are strong in the broken places” — Earnest Hemingway

Life has broken me a bit lately.  I have had to face myself in ways that are unpleasant and look at myself much harder then I am used to doing and it has brought me to many conclusions and places in myself that I didn’t really realize existed.

For a long time now, I have tried to force myself to be happy.  I made choices, we all do right? and I figured that the way life works is that you make your bed, and then you have to lie in it.  You do not get “re-do’s” you do not get second chances to get it right, you do not get to make choices and then play take backs……

so, that is what I had resigned myself too.  That was the only existence I felt was deserved.  There is this book that I love, it is called “The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe” by Andrew Boyd, and in the first pages he says that the ” Bleary- eyed, caffeine-dazed monotony of the interstate of life may often feel like an endless bad dream……”

I feel like I have been living that bad dream.  I am traveling on that interstate of life, just getting by, throwing coffee cups on the shoulder and looking for the next rest stop, but I think that I am driving in a daze.

I am not looking at the street signs, I am not enjoying the scenery, I am only focused on the destination, and I get so lost with driving blind, that I forget all to often what and where that destination even is.

If you do not look at the signs, if you do not read the map, if you do not look out the window, you will lose your way every time.

I have lost my way on this trip.

I need to pull over and pull out a map.  I need to take a break and reassess the travel plans.  

If you followed that analogy, you will enjoy the rest of this blogging…… If I haven’t lost you yet, then I suppose that is a good sign.

Here is the thing.  I think that I don’t want to know where I am going anymore.  I want to be free to wander a bit, and see where the universe takes me, but I do not want to set a destination point, I do not want to know the outcome,  I think in life, you can not be lost if you do not know where you intend to be going, I want to walk, and look at the scenery, and enjoy the breezes of life, and not really know if I will get through whatever is in front of me.

that is where I am.

ok, so clearly, anyone who reads here knows that I have all but abandon this blogging project and left it for dead on the side of the road.  I have been stuck.  In a virtual writers block position where I have wondered what really is the point of the blogosphere….. Is this just a place to post cute little updates on the children, share some stand out moments in my photographic adventures, and be a family newsletter of sorts?? or could it be more??

could it be my outlet? my creative release for the inner genius that begs to be let out.  A place for my inner psychopath to let out the demons within, a place to indulge in writing and thought, and the therapy that comes when you get it all out.

I think that is the path that I am going to try.  So this is the warning.

Warning:   If you do not want to be involved in the innermost workings and thoughts of Mian’s brain, if you are just looking for small updates on Jayden and Emily, if you liked the mild mannered slight glimpse on my opinions and thoughts but could care less to delve further……… stop reading soon.  Walk away, no hard feelings, and know that I will update my photo website when I can and get you some small blurbs about the daily goings on……

but I need a place to release, I need a place to unload, and if no one in the blogosphere reads it that is ok with me, I think it is going to be the process of getting it out that is therapeutic, not necessarily the responses of those unlucky few who might stumble upon it.

Love, Love, LOVE this piece of writing.  TOTALLY rocks! Had to share…..

I am a slacker.  Go ahead and make fun of me now.  I have tried to remember to blog only to find out that when life gets hectic and awful, I get uninspired.  It has been a SUCKY few weeks.  However, spread out in that mess there have been some sweet moments.  I will come back and talk about all those moments when I can, but thought I would post a few pictures to get you smiling… above was yesterday at the new playground they set up in the backyard.  I think the children approve!

I like this shot for some reason, I love the lighting…..

that is it for now.  I have a TON to do today, but I will update tonight, I swear it.

Oh Happy Day!

What a day.  What an incredible, amazing, historical day.  

First, personal history.  Emily’s first snowstorm hit Charlotte and it was also the first the Jayden was really old enough to appreciate….they LOVED it.  Well, Emily kinda loved it, and then fell hand first in it, and hated it too. 🙂 it is so funny to me, miss Northern girl to see these children so amazed at the sight of snow.  I couldn’t put the camera down, they were ENTHRALLED.  Jayden took all day to learn the concept of a snowball, and I realized (as I tied the plastic bags over my children’s shoes) just how funny it is that in this house you have to search for anything the resembles boots, or looks like a warm hat.  I thought about the fact that my kiddos do not need to own a sled, and while I can not say that I do not love the weather down here, because I do, that thought made me a bit reflective.   I think we may need to find an ice rink in Charlotte to make me feel better.

But, of course, the snow today was just the icing on the cake.  Today was according to Jayden “Obama Day”!!!! WOW, I can not even describe the emotions I felt all day today.  I was (and am) so incredibly proud to be an American today.  Watching Barack Obama take his place as the next president of our country swelled me with Joy, and watching it with my children made me feel like there truly was a monumental moment in history that I could share with them.   I could go on and on, but in a nutshell, I was felt happiness, amazement, pride at this moment.  I was the cornball who took pictures of the clock on the VCR the moment that he became president.  I wept like a baby during his speech, I cried like a little girl at the benediction.   I laughed at the wardrobe choices (loved the hat Aretha, only you could have pulled that off!) and I crossed my fingers and prayed to something for his safety when he walked in the parade and I felt he was “exposed”.  I was scared this day would not come, I was cautious when it did.  Now that it is here, and done, I am happy, proud, and hopeful for our future.  One man can not change the course we are on, One man can not “fix” this nation….. but One man CAN inspire a nation to rebound.  One man CAN bring a country together, and help heal broken spirits.  THIS man, CAN and HAS done that today.  I am proud to be a mom, an American, and someone who voted in this, our most historical election.

now for some pictures of the day, since I am crying like a baby all over again.

First, the snow day……

that fall ended the love affair with the white cold stuff…..

Jayden’s first look–

after many attempts…… he got it, and gave it a try…..

and here are some shots of our “Obama Day”

this is during the speech, Jayden listened to the whole thing, I was so proud of how captivated he was!

all in all, a great day!! Happy Obama Day to all….. I am so glad Bush is out of office…. and so happy that the future is in front of us!

Emily’s new Jewels….

just had to share some pictures of Emily showing off her new Amber teething necklace, this thing is supposed to excrete oils into the skin that have great anti-inflammatory properties, and be great for cutting teeth, and with her molars coming in, it is not a moment to soon to try this out!!

I also happen to think it brings out her eyes wonderfully……

what a little sweetie!

adding a little attitude to her pose….

close up of her jewels…..

you wanna know what the sweetest thing is?? she LOVES wearing a necklace.  She is such a girly girl…. yesterday she brought me a hair tie, and pointed to it, and said “this” and I put it in her hair and she IMMEDIATELY went to the mirror, smiled and giggled out loud…. it is really cute!

and this is just thought was funny, because this is the way Emily watches tv…… where did she pick this up??