Live

First, it’s a bump.  A setback. A hinderance. 

Then, quite suddenly, a demand for attention. 

We explore options.  We’re optimistic. 

Sure, we stumble, but who doesn’t? 

And then, 

it’s different. 

It’s not a challenge to overcome anymore. 

It’s a new way of life. 

One we never asked for, nor wanted. 

We’re faced with a Dead End. 

Or, are we?

We stop.  We cry.  We lament. 

Then we retrace our steps and get our asses back on the 

Right. Damn. Track. 

Because when faced with a dead end, 

Other than dying, 

What are we supposed to do?

Live. 

We live. 

Camille Vaughan Photography

Forced Meditation

Here I am. 

Lying on the floor. 

Next to my daughter’s bed. 

A reminder of my failure to get her to sleep on her own like her three big sisters. 

Have I become a statistic?  The youngest gets whatever they want?

Or perhaps I am just too tired to fight. 

Ha- let’s not play ignorance- they are likely one in the same. 

I am tired and she was born to fight out of necessity. 

So, here we are. 

Prisoners in our own way. 

Dependent on one another. 

I remember convincing him that if he agreed to the fourth, she would be “mine”. 

I took full responsibility, although he would never agree to anything but equal, which made me love him even more. 

And yet, here I am.  Lying next to her bed and as much as he has literally and physically attempted to take my place, there is no substitute for her of me. 

I lie next to her and think, how I can make the most of this quiet time?

Unfortunately, it is forced, which is not a lovely place to be when you are trying to meditate. 

So some days, I sleep.  Others, I seethe in resentment of being on my 16th hour of parenting while he lounges on the couch.  

And sometimes, I think, one day, I’ll miss this. 

They won’t let me in their room. 

Their room won’t be here. 

I lie and wait.  For that heavy breathing. 

I leave, relieved, both for that she breathes and that I have the chance to catch my own. 

Camille Vaughan Photography

Push.

Here she is.  My eldest.  Refusing to look at me as I encourage her to put the book down and get back in the ocean.  The ocean with yes, fish.  The fish she fishes for.  The fish she eats.  The fish she sees at the aquarium.  The fish she has become suddenly fearful from touching her.  

I get it.  It’s unusual.  It’s unique.  But it’s not a reason to sit on the sidelines. 

So, I push. 

No treats the rest of the day unless you get back in. 

You don’t have to go for long, but you have to get back in. 

Tears. Exasperation. Begging. 

In she goes. 

You can’t see me having fun, she says.

Oh, but I can. For the next five hours straight.  FIVE HOURS in the ocean. 

No one prepares you for that in parenting. When to push, when to hold.  

My husband didn’t want to make a fuss, but I wanted to make a point. 

Our fears are not the end. 

Yes, we must listen, but we also must know when to overcome. 

And boy, did she overcome. 

In spite of my insecurity – was I being too hard?- I realized, yes, I listened to my instinct and momma knows best. 

This was a time to Push. 

What I Want You to Know

What I Want You to Know

Is that in spite of my stubbornness, I am good and kind. 

That I am worthy of your love. 

That the reason I acted out is because I adored you and wanted your attention. 

That even as a mother of four, I still need my mommy. 

That I don’t want to fight. 

That no one can hurt me like you can because I care about what you think the most. 

That you built me to be strong in the face of adversity. 

And here I am. 

Take me as I am. 

Love me as I am. 

I am yours. 

17015A7D-76B4-46DC-B6A6-45752B944587.jpeg

Here I Am

The fourth was supposed to be so easy I wouldn’t even notice her.

Except she demanded recognition at 15 weeks in utero- small. Too small. For good reason.

She was a sick baby and required monitoring the entire pregnancy.

I foolishly believed things would improve once she arrived earth-side, but they only got more complicated and she never wanted to leave my side: ever.

I had never had a newborn that would not sleep in a cot. She had to be touching. It was always this way.

Fast-forward two years- sick babe, exasperated mom, lost older siblings.

I lie face to her face- I touch her cheek and she, mine.

We smile.

An understanding.

A need met.

Although I feel like I have nothing left to give, I find my reserves and

Here.

I.

Am.

Here I am, Child.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is yr8a7715-cvaughan.jpg
Camille Vaughan Photography

There She Is

4 A.M.

And the moment I’d been dreading for 39 weeks.

No movement.

I sat on the side of my bed, sobbing.  Begging my husband to get the baby to move, knowing I had waited one day too long to induce.

See, the day before had been my daughter’s spring concert and I figured delaying a day wouldn’t make much difference.

But in this moment, I regretted it all.

In a panic, I called our doula and midwife first and next, our neighbor.

She arrived within seconds. I folded into her arms, scared of what we would find when we arrived.  She steadied me, reassuring that our three daughters at home were safe and off we went to find that baby Elizabeth was indeed alive and well.

Fast forward 18 months.

Same kitchen, same neighbor.

Our friends left and she stayed to ask the simple direct question: “Are you OK?”

“No.”

No, I wasn’t and all it took was for someone to ask.

I unfolded right in front of her, releasing the floodgates and once again, she took it.  She held it.  She steadied, reassured and stood me upright.

She looked me in the eye and said, “You are going to be OK.”  And then she followed through.

She called to check on me.  She invited me to run with her.

She held my hand.

And because of her, I made it.

There she is.

My superwoman.  My angel.  My friend.

IMG_2484.jpeg

These Days

I do not have a plan.
 
Let’s let that sink in for a minute.
 
Tomorrow is Monday.  I am a previous elementary school teacher with a Masters in Pk-6 education and a doctorate in perfection and I have no idea what I am doing tomorrow.
 
I do not have a beautiful color-coded schedule from 8-5 of what the heck my kids will be doing tomorrow.
 
In fact, as I type, my 1 year-old is completing losing her mind on the baby monitor because she is smack-dab in the middle of a nap and overall-sleep-for-the-greater-good-of-human-kind strike.
 
I’ve vaguely discussed the lack of school for the next month with my kids. I entertained the idea of me becoming “Mrs. Carawan” to the point that they want me to dress the part.
 
Yes, I know from experience that kids thrive on schedules.
 
But life with 4 kids?
 
Is anything but.
 
If I am being completely honest, schedules and expectations let me down these days.
 
Best to make loose plans and adjust as needed.
 
In fact, isn’t that what the world needs most now?

YR8A7549-cvaughan.jpg
Camille Vaughan Photography

Waves

It’s a little window of time.

Filled with excitement, mixed with worry, mixed with wonder.

Waiting at the airport.

Waiting for the call.

Waiting for the kiss.

Waiting for the letter.

Waiting for the pass.

Waiting for the decision.

Waiting for the ring.

Waiting for Santa.

Waiting for the next contraction.

Waiting for the fish.

Waiting to begin the journey.

Waiting.

Anticipation.

And then . . .

and then. . . .

it’s over.

Until the waiting begins again.

YR8A4523-cvaughan.jpg
Camille Vaughan Photography

%d bloggers like this: