Last month I did a shoot and shared a recipe with local online men’s magazine, Classfare. We prepped and shot my favorite Corn Chowder, and despite the nerves I always have before cooking in front of the camera, I could not be more thrilled with how the photos turned out. James perfectly captured the moody light in my old farmhouse kitchen and what it feels like to hunker down in there on an overcast morning and just cook. Which is, no doubt, one of my very favorite things to do. Even Cash got his moment in the spotlight, which was so special to me because he is always underfoot while I’m cooking, hoping for a scrap. I love that his handsome little mug made it into the article. You can read it here.
The other thing I love so dearly about these photos is this little slice of my life they are capturing. This first sweet, quiet year on the farm. The fleeting bit of solitude before we are joined by another little human this winter. The finding out about and preparing for a new season of life.
I’ll never forget the morning we learned of our newest family member. Sitting at the kitchen table in this very same light, eating breakfast together, drinking coffee and exchanging smirks, wondering if it was real.
I’ll never forget the first few months spent napping daily on our soft, gray-green couch, learning to co-exist with the exhaustion that comes with creating life. Peaceful days spent with enough time and space to know my own mind. Simple days filled with morning walks, puppy snuggles and usually, a good deal of just thinking.
I’ve done a lot of work to get here.
Spending the better part of the last two years listening, learning, reading and researching. Preparing my heart, my mind, my marriage, my body. Doing the work to understand myself so I can perform the maintenance that needs to be done to keep things running healthily. Determined that I wouldn’t be caught off guard by motherhood the way I was when I became a wife. Even though this babe was a bit of surprise, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the timing of things. We’ve done our time, put in the work to get to a place where we trust each other, and ourselves, enough to move forward and here we are.
Here we are in this place that has felt, from the beginning, so very personal. Despite the fact that my dearest friends have all gone through this experience in the last few years, and such a large majority of the female population gives birth, from day one, it’s felt like there’s no one but the three of us in this whole wide world. We kept our sweet little secret until a sibling’s wedding plans prompted the news around a third of the way in, but I think I could have happily kept my mouth shut until folks started to wonder whether I’d eaten one too many doughnuts.
Having just crossed over the halfway mark, I think I’ve finally given myself permission to believe this is all real. I’ve had a tsunami sized wave of that silly thing they call “nesting” and no corner of this old house is safe from my sponge. We’ve slowly, verrrry slowly, started to gather tiny, little things and make lists of to-do’s to get done around the house.
It seems I’ve also finally given myself permission to feel a little something. For the longest time I had such a hard time answering the question, “Are you excited?” I didn’t feel excited. I know what babies entail. Labor, healing, rigorous feeding and sleep schedules, and overall physical and emotional exhaustion. Excited just never seemed like the right word to me. I wanted people (and probably myself, too) to know I was being practical about this whole situation. That I knew what I was getting into. Excited just didn’t cut it. Rather, there was this warmth. This quiet happiness buried way down deep in my heart. I couldn’t find the words to describe it, I just kept thinking of this verse:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19
For the longest time, I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to make plans. I didn’t want to share with people. I didn’t want to buy stuff. I didn’t want to read about pregnancy, labor or birth and I didn’t want any voices in my head besides my own. I just wanted to store up every moment and ponder it in my heart. Really, truly live in the moment and experience it as deeply and genuinely as I could.
I really wanted to be able to write about it. At least, I felt like I should want to write about it. Writing is my therapy, clarity, perspective. But I just couldn’t. I felt like words would cheapen my experience. Like I couldn’t possibly put into words this like monumentally life-changing thing that was happening.
But now, I feel like I’ve finally settled in. I’ve finally gotten comfortable in this place that I’m in, at least internally. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it feels like a corner has been turned. I don’t know if it was seeing that little 20 week old for the first time on the ultrasound screen, or starting to feel the flutters as he/she kicks and squirms and moves around in there. Maybe it was the first time Taylor felt a kick against his hand as it lay on my stomach. Whatever it was, I’m finally making peace with the word, “mama,” and entertaining little day dreams of what my life will be life this winter, fully immersed in a newborn haze.
I probably still seem pretty shy about this whole thing to the outside observer. I do feel a bit self-conscious about my ever changing form. And I always feel like I disappoint people who approach me with questions, having to answer “we’re not finding out. we’re not sharing names. we don’t need much.” I’m not overly enthusiastic about teeny baby clothes, nursery decor, or even the word “nursery” really, and much to the dismay of many, have begged to avoid the seemingly universal experience of a baby shower. I’ve put off buying much maternity wear, trying to hang on to the things that make me feel like myself and I’ve tried to stay away from complaining about the various side effects of pregnancy. I think I’m kind of a disappointing expectant mother. Ha! But deep down, deep where it really, really matters, I feel good, steady, sure and confident.
Not confident that I’m “ready,” or that I know it all, or that I even know what the next month ahead holds for me. But confident that I have what it takes to grow, meet and love this little person we made. Confident that I know when to give myself the time and space to work through things on my own. And confident that even if I feel bashful on the outside, I’ll be storing all these things like treasures in my heart.
All photos by James Fitzgerald. Corn Chowder on Classfare.