memories on motherhood

We just got back from a Forsyth Family Reunion in northern CA and it was wonderful. Really blissful. I need to post about Ray’s 2nd birthday and the reunion, but I was looking through some pictures yesterday and had some thoughts that I wanted to record somewhere.

Yesterday I read Ray his own baby book and he loved it. We looked at pictures of him as an infant, being held by mommy and daddy and Grandma. As I looked through it I thought, I wonder when was the last time I updated Liam and Noah’s baby books? So I looked and they were shamefully outdated. As soon as the boys were in bed, I went on our computer and started sifting through pictures and sending them to Costco to be printed out. And I came across Liam’s first Christmas.

Liam’s first Christmas was spent in PA with the Forsyths. During that visit we took a large family portrait with a professional photographer (I think she was a friend of the family’s) at a place called Longwood Gardens. It was hilarious.

I clicked through the pictures under the “Longwood Gardens faves” folder and found the most ridiculous pictures of my children and it all came rushing back. Mind you, these were “the faves” so there must have been much worse shots, just not included here. Daniel and I were the only ones in the family with children and we had 2 under 3 years old. We felt so awkward and inappropriate at every turn. There is literally nothing you can do with kids at age 2 and 6 months besides sit in a padded room with them and eat fruit snacks and give them toys to throw at your head (which they will most definitely do). No restaurant is safe, “casual” or fun enough. Even if they call it “casual dining”, they are not casually prepared for a 2 year old to scream at the top of their lungs, then melt under the table and start biting people’s legs and laughing. There is no trip in the car short enough. There is nothing sacred when you have a 2 year old. No propriety.

I remember feeling so anxious that trip. Young mothers go through the worst stuff. And since we just got back from another Forsyth trip recently, I recognized the other sister-in-laws’ anxiety about naps, bedtimes, breastfeeding, the severity of the outings, rides in cars, potential dangers in the house and more. I hope I never forget what it’s like to be a young mother. It’s awful. I don’t care how much you love babies and being a mother, it is just a crazy time of life. And here are some pictures that, in the words of the great Bill Watterson, “will make us remember more than we want to”. Also, you cannot blame us for their hair – it was truly as unruly as they were.

You need to really take note of every adults’ normal, happy looking face in total opposition to my boys in Daniel’s and my arms in the bottom left of the picture. And here’s a close up of poor little Liam:

Not totally sure what Noah is trying to do here – rip off Daniel’s fingers?

Yup. I think that’s what’s happening.

Then there were these lovely photos to remind me of even more:

Hi nursing mom in public!

Noah was hard to catch on film …

Ahhhhh, yes. It’s like a badge of honor. I did it and lived. I’m not gonna say I wasn’t maimed in the process, because I am a different person now than I was then. But it feels like I made it through a war or something. Family trips are the worst with little kids. Been there, did that.