A few weeks ago, I asked my husband to start taking more photos of me with the kiddos. I had started to notice that while I had lovely photos of my parents, siblings, husband and friends with my kids, I had very few of myself. This made me (quite) sad. So in a rare moment, I actually asked for what I needed. My husband has been great. He started to take more candid photos of me with the kids and I loved it.
And yet, somehow when I looked at the photos of myself with my children, I wasn’t completely satisfied. Why was my hair such a mess? Why did I look so tired? Had horizontal stripes always looked so bad? I couldn’t help but feel critical and in my usual fashion I started to plan how I would change that. Mascara would be my new BFF. I’d actually start to hit the gym – forget those long walks that I enjoy just because. Time to get ready for summer! I almost fell for it.
Yesterday Aaron took a photo of me asleep with my two month old son, Clark. We’d had a lovely family day that included a trip to the Aquarium and a sunny picnic in the park with Grandma. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and I fell asleep in my Dad’s chair. When I woke up and Aaron showed me the photo he snapped while I was asleep, I instantly thought I looked terrible. There were those horizontal stripes that I loved but clearly didn’t love me. My hair was a mess. My son didn’t even have pants on. I scoffed a little when I saw the picture, but before I could say anything else Aaron said “I think it’s really sweet. You look beautiful.”
I’m a bit embarrassed to say it, but his comment changed everything. Where I saw the outline of my belly and frowned, I now saw the beauty of the body that conceived, carried and birthed my two children. Those bags under my eyes come from feeding my newborn through the night – my body alone providing him with the nutrition he needs. My hair is a mess because I threw it into a bun while splashing in the bath with my daughter. There’s much to be grateful for in that one photo.
So I will continue to pester Aaron to take more photos of me –the good, the bad, the messy-hair, no pants, unflattering dress photos because that’s what this journey really looks like. And I embrace it all.