Edisto Island and My First Summer of Motherhood

We are going to the beach for a whole week!I am so excited. Not only because, oh have I mentioned how I kind of like the beach? lol… but also because I adore my husband’s family. They are the sweetest, Southern-est, loveliest people to be around. I love every minute I get to spend with them!The mouthwatering homecooked shrimp and grits, the sweet tea, the cold egg salad sandwiches in the hot afternoons, the long chatty walks, the delicious strawberry daiquiris at 4 in the afternoon… well, that last will be sorely missed by me this year, obviously.

This is a picture of almost all of us from our first trip to Edisto with Will. 
I can’t get over how small and roly-poly he was! I can’t remember if he was 4 or 5 months in these pictures… 
I know I had just crib-trained him, and I know he couldn’t sit up. We did tummy time in the living room of the beach house every morning, and we brought his Bumbo down to the seashore where he stared sternly at his pink little toes while we tried in vain to get him to notice the waves and the seagulls.
I remember being so cautious about everything… like, gasp, is even organic sunblock ok?? 
I will always cherish the memories of that beautiful trip. I put up an album of it on Facebook that I think I called “My Summer of Motherhood”… that’s what it was. A summer of falling head over heels for this intense, chubby, helpless and dependent small person. A summer of learning I was stronger than I had ever imagined. A summer of figuring out that I could still feel like me, Kallah, the same Kallah I had always been, even now as a “Mom”. 
I learned I could define that loaded title for myself and my own family… and it would look every bit as different from my mom and grandmoms and all other moms I had ever known, if I wanted it to. And I did, much as I love my mother and deeply admire so many mothers in my life. I found an unparalleled
 sense of freedom and fulfillment in choosing what motherhood would look and feel like for myself.
 My first summer of motherhood, I learned I could find more fulfillment than I could have ever dreamed in the sacrifices motherhood requires.
It was a summer I fell even more in love with the whitey I married. [ I love how we look like we are two totally different ethnicities in these pictures lol. Boy needs SPF 50 at all times or he fries to a red and painful crisp. 😉 ]
But seriously, watching him embrace fatherhood swept me off my feet more than anything!
He is such a cute daddy. 

Gosh my heart aches seeing these pictures! Each season in life is so hard to leave for me. It tugs at my heartstrings with nostalgia and aching homesickness even in my present contentment.
That baby! He will always be my first baby. He taught me those first months together not to settle for “surviving” the hard seasons… but to do my darndest to thrive in them. Because the hard, sleep-deprived, challenging and new stages are somehow the ones I ache for later. I died to self, and found myself. Not exactly Eat Pray Love, right? But it worked, it truly did. I had never felt such total peace with who I was and where I was going than when I became a breastfeeding round-the-clock, stay-at-home mama at the age of 22. 
Its an important reminder, looking back at these pictures from that summer and seeing our glowing faces. It makes me think alot as I have to face some of the fears I’ve quietly experienced this pregnancy. Looking at the pictures of my first summer as a new mom, I have one surfacing determination: 
I will not survive this next stage with two little guys… I will thrive. 
Lest that sound insufferably presumptuous let me be clear: I fully expect this next season to be the hardest thing I have ever done. Saying I will thrive in it, I know it won’t be easy and oh Lord I cannot hope to do it on my own! But I have faith that I can count it all joy and trust that grace will be there in even the toughest moments. I believe with all my heart that having this second baby was what I was called to right now, so I know it won’t be easy… but I also know that, like anything else we were created for,
 it will be unbelievably fulfilling. 

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