These images showed up at the end of a roll I shot at a recent newborn session. It’s only fitting as they are the perfect representation of an important realization I came to during the shoot.
Allow me to explain. About half-way the session, it was obvious to me that this sweet new mama was getting anxious about how well her little darling was cooperating. I could completely relate. Over the past eight months I have become well-acquainted with having a specific vision for something that turns out differently than I’d planned.
I shared with her the honest truth that in every single opportunity I have had to be photographed with Mae, there have been various specific images in my mind that I wanted to capture together. Well wouldn’t you know that not one time have we ever been able to get the image. But what we did get is just as deeply precious to me as any of the pretty pins I had my heart set on.
So I told her that. I believe my exact words went something like, “I know you had your heart set on something specific and that things have not worked out that way, but try not to let that upset you because what we are getting is beautiful and I would not want you to miss that by focusing on what we weren’t able to.”
As soon as the words left my mouth I wanted to fall on my knees.
That is exactly the advice I needed to hear. I have spent too much of Mae’s life wrestling with the challenges we have faced and grieving the loss of my idealistic expectations of motherhood. Sure, we have had a rough start due to her feeding/digestive issues but there is beauty hiding amidst it all and I know that is where my focus should be.
Since I have been prayerfully pursuing this new perspective I have seen Mae transform.
Her passion for everything in life is astounding. Whether she’s thrilled by seeing a dog walk by or angry about not being able to climb any higher than my shoulders, she expresses everything with gusto. Her laughter is intoxicating and her smile could warm the coldest heart. She crawls all over the place and has the happiest feet anyone has ever seen. I am not kidding, if we hold her in the air she runs in place a hundred miles an hour. If we balance her arms she prancercises across the whole house. She can climb completely up the stairs by herself but she stops every few to look back at you with the proudest grin she’s got. Then giggles with glee when she reaches the top.
She absolutely loves to make sounds and music. She’s mastered “dadada” and often says “ha” although we don’t know if she’s meaning “hi” or if she just thinks we’re funny. She blows raspberries like its her job and can play her little piano with every part of her body. She still won’t cuddle but she will crawl into our laps and remain there as long as we are offering some sort of entertainment, of which we creatively deliver as long as we can just to keep her there.
She still knows how to charm anyone but there is no one that lights her up more than daddy. She has become a source of beauty in our lives and I know that we will grow more proud of her every day.
Sure some of these transformations come from age, (and we have seen vast improvements since working out her feeding issues) but I believe much of the joy that I am beginning to experience comes from letting go (daily) of what I thought motherhood should be and instead embracing what it is.
“Joy is always a function of gratitude and gratitude is always, simply a function of perspective” -Ann Voskamp
Perspective has such power. These moments, these days, they are not a means to an end as I once believed. They are not to be wished away for a day when things will be easier. God’s plan for them is much sweeter. I will leave you with this passage from my favorite devotional, My Utmost For His Highest
“Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.
God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.”