Big Picture

I felt the familiar pull.  The downward spiral. The fall. The loss of control. The pieces of my life that remained in the wake of my breakdown.

Too much, too soon.

I wanted it all and I was tired of waiting so I forged ahead at a breakneck pace, shattering ceilings along the way.

I gave up my career as a teacher to stay home with our first daughter but picked up a part-time sales consulting job when she was just 6 months.  I was successful and I felt driven, until it was more than our family could handle.  I gave it up when my third daughter was 6 months.

Three years passed and I felt restless, eager to grab an opportunity to work as a consultant for a publisher of children’s books that I adored.  I reassured myself and my husband that I could manage it all,  but I failed to consider my innate drive to share my passion, gaining business and momentum along the way until it became more than we could manage.

That’s when I plummeted.

Feeling trapped.  Unable to explore my professional potential.  And guilty for feeling that my children were getting in the way.

Until I remembered that moment in our kitchen when we chose to try for our fourth baby.

I realized that in that choice, I was choosing her.  I was choosing my family.  That I’ve had control all along.

I just needed to see the big picture.

These days feel long but the years are short.

I didn’t give up my profession.  I chose one: Mothering.

And how lucky I am to be able to make that choice.

Big Picture.

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Mother

Bone-tired.  So tired you can’t think clearly.  It’s been a long day.  You’ve been looking forward to getting the kids to bed so you can finally sit down and exhale or go to bed yourself.  But one of them just. won’t. go.

To add insult-to-injury, she skipped her nap and is overly-tired.  She won’t let your husband put her to bed.  She only wants you.  You, who has been with her for the last 12 hours.

You know what she needs to go to sleep but you resist because you have nothing else to give.

And yet, you are a mother.

So you dig deep, into the reserves.  Your tank is on empty, but just like your car, you know you can always push it a little further, to get there.

You hold her, rock her and lay her down in her bed.  She settles her cries almost immediately as you rub her back and sing that lullaby she loves.  You slow the song down, verse-by-verse, eventually removing your hand so that song is all that remains.

Then silence.

She’s still awake.  You are still present.  And that is all she needs.

To know that you are there, even when you are tired, with nothing left but your presence to give.  `

You dare not move your legs, tingling from sitting in that same position for so long, until her eyes get heavy.  Opening and closing, just enough to make sure of you.

You hear her quiet breathing, slowing to soft snores and you think,

I am a mother.

I always have enough for this.

Always.

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Danielle Ice Photography