The Power of a Picture

‘Tis the season of weddings for our family this summer and with all that comes the excitement of new dresses and shoes (just a few of my favorite things!). But right now, my postpartum body is definitely NOT my favorite thing. It’s something I’m working on. So…after searching, finding the *perfect* dress, ordering it online (because really, who with a newborn has time to go to actual stores?), exchanging said dress for just a slightly larger size (because I was a little too optimistic the first time), and getting it altered, I had my husband snap this photo real quick to send to my sister for approval.

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We both laughed at our silly goose daughter, still in PJs at 5pm (don’t judge!), wearing my 4 inch heels, and striking an identical pose. However, I thought that the picture probably shouldn’t see the light of day (on social media at least). I didn’t have a shred of makeup on; I had even neglected my lazy day mascara-only policy. My hair was pulled back in my standard I-cleaned-up-baby-poop-all-day messy ponytail, and I have this weird abdominal muscle thing that makes me still look kind of pregnant in certain clothes. But, I shot the photo off to my sister and also a few dear friends, one of whom responded with, “OMG I can’t even with her face looking up at you” and a bajillion heart-eye emojis.

So I stopped, took a second to actually look at the picture beyond tearing it apart for all my physical flaws, and saw my little girl with different eyes. This time I saw her gaze rising up toward Mommy, her hand on her hip just like she saw me do, and a HUGE grin on her face, happy to be included in the moment. I saw pure joy. And I realized, to my sweet 3 year old, that her joy right then was found in simply looking up at me. And up TO me.

Upon deeper reflection of this photo, it hit me SO HARD all of a sudden, the responsibility of being a parent. Sure, I have to make sure my kids are fed and healthy and stuff, but also, there is a huge job in being one of the people my intelligent, curious little girl watches, learns from, asks questions of, mimics. While this responsibility is absolutely terrifying, I also know that it is the most important job I will ever have. She will listen to how I speak to others and myself. She will observe my relationships and how I deal with making difficult choices. She will watch me succeed and just as much, she will watch me fail. She will receive my guidance and also my sincerest apologies when I do the wrong thing.

My greatest desire is that she grow into a confident and independent girl, able to take on life’s challenges courageously, learn from her mistakes and be able to move forward, and treat everyone she meets with kindness. But I know that for her to accomplish these things, she needs to see her mama doing them first.

So I am posting this picture, untouched and unfiltered, to serve as a constant reminder that my sweet girl makes me want to be a better person everyday. What a gift she is giving me.

Currently Reading: IMG_3486Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. My mom picked this book off the shelf in the cutest little independent bookstore while on a tour of our favorite beach-vacay’s quaint downtown area and said that I had to read it. I didn’t buy it that day but it was added to my never-ending Amazon wish list and I finally purchased it. It is told from the perspective of a 12 year old boy in the early 1900s in small-town-still-mad-about-the-Civil-War Georgia. I’m having a bit of a hard time wading through the deeply southern dialect in which the narrator tells his story, but I am loving it so far.

Currently Baking: So I’ve been avoiding using the oven for a couple weeks because it is HOT and the oven just makes it hotter, but we finally had a break with some rain so I decided to splurge. We made these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I used a cup-for-cup gluten free flour and subbed coconut sugar for both the brown and white sugar, mostly because these are the ingredients I had on hand. THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS. And obviously toddler approved. And I’m going to say, kind of healthy-ish, because, oatmeal. You’re welcome.

Currently Singing: The ENTIRE Beauty and the Beast (“with real people” as my daughter says) soundtrack. I am well on my way to turning my little girl into a musical junkie and there is just something about her belting out, “Ever just the SAAAAAAAAMMMMMMME, ever a SURPRIIIIIIIISE, ever as BEFOORRRRRRRRE, ever just as SHHHOOOOOOORRRRRRE” from the backseat that warms my heart.

Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.

2 thoughts on “The Power of a Picture

  1. Katie, I love your writing. This particular article made me cry (not so hard!) and made me think about our responsibilities to the younger people in our lives–how we are entrusted with the molding of their characters. It is our job to show them how to handle adversity and difficulties. Thanks for the reminder. Aaaannnd…thanks for including the photo! What a gem it is. And what a gem Miss M. is!! 💖💖

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