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I am thrilled to share with you the series of guest posts appearing here in the month of June, as I take a little extra time to settle in and soak up my family and the new life among us. "Soulful Mothering" is a series of written words, photographs, craft projects and thoughts on mothering from some of my favorite ladies on the web. I'm so grateful to each of them for sharing their time with me, and their hearts and words in this space. I have been inspired by the gifts they've shared, and I'm sure you will too. Enjoy!
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Mothering. An adventure like no other, the ultimate everything. The joy, the worry, the pride, the doubt, the love, the letting go... maybe every word ever spoken could apply to motherhood. The work is hard, the blessings know no end.
In my fourteenth year of this precious work, my pool of memories continues to deepen. There are things I will always remember...
Your birth was one of the quietest, most present experiences of my life.
At 3 months old, your belly laugh was the same as it is today.
The words “I love you” formed your first sentence at seventeen months.
Toddler group classes were never your thing. You preferred to be home with your family, your animals, and maybe one or two close friends. Much like today.
At four years old we shared a property with our midwife. You would invite her cats into our place, dress them in your baby doll dresses and put them in your cradle. They loved the attention and they loved you.
We lived on a lake, one with no motorboats allowed, it was so quiet there. Out in the canoe became the only place we knew to take you those first weeks after September 11th. You felt joy and calm while we looked for understanding, for healing.
I remember the first book you read to me. You were five, I was amazed.
A 6am phone call, waking us from sweet slumber. There was a terrible accident and he died. He was seventeen, their only child. There was no buffer, I couldn’t hide the news from you. It was the only time I ever wished you slept somewhere other than my bed.
Picking you up at school with a gift, a key to your own house. You and your best friend opened the door together. After a toast of chocolate milk and a tour, she went home... directly across the street. Now, more than six years later, you are more than best friends, you are family.
Watching you become more and more complex. Knowing the world could never understand you fully. Loving that you don’t need it to.
Sitting in awe the first time I witnessed your gift for public speaking. You were seven, it came out of nowhere and you were brilliant. The moment was born from a simple opportunity... I was reminded to make sure you’ll always have plenty of opportunity.
The way you and your father read together every night. So many books over the years. Your love of reading has helped you become the talented writer you are today. No doubt about it.
That summer in the White Mountains when the only three things we did for a week straight were swim, hike, and eat ice cream. And every time we went swimming there was that beautiful black bear eating berries up on the hill behind us, enjoying her summer as much as we were.
Just days after your birth, until about eleven years old, you would grasp my hair with your little hand for comfort as I held you. Every single day. Like the silky edge of a blanket that some children love, you played with my hair. For years and years...
I watched with admiration as you starting taking pen to paper. Art sometimes frustrates you with it’s organic, unpredictable nature. But please know this - you inspired me to pick up my own pens for the first time in 20 years, and it has been a place of healing and growth for me ever since.
The way you care for and love your animals as if they were part of you. You have an understanding for their needs that is unlike anything I’ve seen.
Your heightened, intuitive awareness of the world around you. How it is both a blessing and a curse. Nothing goes unnoticed.
Seeing you shine as a “Senior” with your co-sixth graders (all five of you!). Knowing in that moment that it was all worth.
Your love for sports. So active, so coachable. You are a good team mate and for that I am so proud.
Having you home with us now, for who knows how long. Living, learning and growing together. It is a balancing act on many days, an honor and privilege each and every day.
The way you end each phone conversation with immediate or extended family members with “I love you.” You were never told to do this, it’s just you.
I will always remember Wormy, Squirrely, and that goal. Remember that goal?
But mostly, what I love so dearly and hope to remember for the rest of my days - is saying good night to you with a kiss and the words “I love you baby girl.” And how at thirteen, you are still okay with that. Well, at least you haven’t said otherwise just yet.
I am a Mother, remembering the little things is what I do, it’s what all of us Mother’s do. And you? Well, you just keep living a beautiful life so I may collect memories as my years roll on. I am blessed beyond words to be a part of it all.
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Heather can be found blogging at Beauty That Moves, or contributing regularly at Simple Homeschool. She lives with her husband and daughter in a cozy bungalow perched on a hill. Together they have just launched a new website, Unplugged Sunday, where they share stories about setting aside one day a week to slow down, unplug, and come together as a family in nature or at home.