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Filtering by Category: mama journey

I want to remember

liz lamoreux

EJ Mama Texas.png

Last month, EJ and I visited my mom in Texas, and just before we boarded our flight home, I wrote down these words.

I want to remember the moments of softness and joy found as we watched the sunsets.

I want to remember when she found the shell and carried it in her pocket until she saw me and slipped it into my hand.

I want to remember the laughter, the singing, and the way she cuddled up next to Grandpa after her big fall.

I want to remember the way she yelled, “I love you” one more time to Grandma after we gathered up our bags and headed into the airport.

I want to remember the moments of ease and love in the spaces between the challenges that squeeze my heart.

I want to remember the ways I kept taking deep breaths and asked for help and tried to keep sloughing off the feelings around what I cannot control.

I want to remember that my mom and I laughed so hard we were both crying.

I want to remember that I can just tell the truth.

I want to remember all of it.

Gathering evidence like this is how I make sense of The And Spaces I find myself in as I move through my life. Putting the words down, pairing them with a photo, becomes the way I see through all the stuff when it bubbles up inside.

the push and pull of motherhood

liz lamoreux

I spent a week at Pixie Lighthorse's Soulodge Ranch at a retreat last month. I'm still finding the words to explain how that retreat deeply reminded me of my wholeness. I feel a bit put back together as I'm in the integrating phase in my re-entry time at home. I haven't been to a retreat as a participant in a very long time. Oh my gosh I needed it.

As I keep integrating that experience, here are few words today that started out as ramblings on a post on Instagram about motherhood when I got home and became a reminder that I'm letting sink into my bones.

I think about the pieces that are her story, the pieces that are mine, and I know we are here to teach each other.

And yet, sometimes our different personalities make me feel like I woke up in the middle of a busy intersection in a country I've never visited.

And yet, so often she holds up a mirror. 

And yet, even though the initial moments of my return Saturday night from a week away were in the realm of me saying to the universe, "Wait, what? You stitch me back together and throw me into this?" with tears tapping around the edges, we made it to the next day with a renewed sense of softness amidst the sharp edges.

As she said goodbye on her way to camp one day last week, she yelled through the closing door, "I can't wait to cuddle more as soon as I get home."

Yes. Yes to all of it.

Even the holy wow this is harder than I ever thought it could be moments.

Because last week in the sacred meadow I remembered the answers inside me.

I remembered I am never alone.

I remembered I could reach out with an open hand.

I remembered there is still time to teach her so much. 

The truth is: Sometimes I try to convince myself that there is supposed to be a balance. Or that other people know what they're doing while I flail. I try to convince myself that I've failed. That somehow so much that feels hard is my fault. I feel all the feelings all the time.

The truth is: I'm doing the best I can. Sometimes my best is awesome. Other times my best is tired, annoyed, and overwhelmed. 

The truth is: I so often say to others, "All that you need for the next step is inside you. Trust that truth." I say it because I believe it.

The truth is: I'm remembering that applies to me too.

There is a push and pull in this experience of life, of motherhood, of being human. Each day that push and pull is there. Sometimes you find your footing and the sand beneath the surf doesn't swirl away. Other days you realize you can step onto the boat just waiting for you (do you see it right there beside you). Other days are just hard. And other days, you see the open hand beside you inviting you to step out of the push and pull and rest. 

I could go on and on with this image because the push and pull of the waves, of the grief and the joy, of the beauty of every day and the longings inside me...this push and pull is always present within me. 

It's a piece of The And Space that I walk through.*

One reason I practice is to create space inside me that feels more centered, grounded, and better able to navigate that push and pull. I hold onto mantras and poems and minutes outside breathing so that I can pause the swirling thoughts and be present to whatever is unfolding, to whatever is ahead. I sit in meditation, write out my thoughts in my many journals, reach out to you with a story, capture life through my lens to make sense of it all. These are all pieces of my practice.

While standing on a beach with my daughter last week, reminding her, reminding us, that getting outside and just being together can provide a restart, I remembered that I have time to teach her. I remembered that it doesn't have to look like someone else's life. I remembered that I have to keep practicing so I don't get carried away by the push and pull. I remembered I can continue to give us both the tools to come home to ourselves.

Right now, as we continue to be in this part of our time where we walk side by side, each on our own paths, she often reaches out for my hand but also really wants to walk ahead of me. Sometimes at the same time. Sometimes she really wants me to carry her. There is a deep push and pull at times. And I'm seeing that she feels that too. 

So we practice. We practice so we can better navigate and find our way. We practice to find the softness and ease. We practice to find the love.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

*The And Space is what I call this place where we hold onto the beauty and the mess, the joy and the grief. It's this place where we build bridges between the routine of daily life and the longings within. It's where we acknowledge the next steps we want to take. You can read more about it here. 

This is a story I shared with my newsletter list this week. If you'd like stories like this one in your inbox, you can sign up here.

it's always okay.

liz lamoreux

After our Toys R Us adventure on Saturday (which one of us was super excited about and the other was more in the "why didn't I have another cup of coffee" camp), we were hungry, and she spotted Jamba Juice. I drove over and immediately remembered that it's in this corner of the mall with impossible parking. Right away, we were in a crazy parking lot traffic jam at a standstill.

And I started ranting a bit - half preparing her that we would be leaving and half complaining like an annoyed tired mama.

When we didn't start moving when the car two ahead of us finally pulled into a parking spot, I realized the car in front of us must be waiting too. Insert dramatic sigh here.

Then, suddenly two more cars pulled out and the car in front of me waved as she pulled into the closest spot and I was able to pull into the next one.

"I cannot believe this, but there's totally a spot for us."

"Mama, I told you it was all going to be okay. It's always okay."

Yes. Yes it is kid.

::

There are those moments when I'm really not my best self. When I yell. When I get super exasperated. When I say the worst thing. But then there are moments when she reminds me that I'm doing things right, too.

And we just keep finding our way.

(Remember to notice the moments when things are going right, honey.)


I'm sharing more and more stories like this one over on Instagram. It's my favorite social media hang out, and I'd love to connect with you over there.

i want to remember

liz lamoreux

I want to remember the way you started calling me "Honey" this summer. It equal parts cracks me up and delights me.

I want to remember the sound of your laughter when you say something that you think is so funny.

I want to remember the way you reach for my hand on the evenings I chant to you just before you fall asleep. 

I want to remember the sound of you sounding out words and the look on your face when you figure it out.

I want to remember the way you're growing up as you pause and notice the way your words and actions affect others. It's a huge piece to understand, and I'm so proud of you.

I want to remember when your counselor at camp said, "Has Eleanor told you that she's become one of our best sharers?" and your face beemed when we told Daddy all about it later.

I want to remember the conversations we're having about just playing when it comes to creativity instead of worrying about "being good." I hope you always remember that playing with paint and paper and pens and color and glue is at its core fun.

I want to remember the joy surrounding you when you ran into the studio and said, "Mama, I taught myself how to swing today!" and explained how you are climbing onto the swing yourself and pumping your legs.

I want to remember the way you so often want to do what I'm doing. If I open my journal and start doodling, you want to play in your journal. If I go into the studio, you are close behind me ready to "help make things for your shop mama. I want to help you make things for the ladies." If I'm looking through a magazine, you want your own. I know it won't always be like this, but it's special to connect with you about the little things that bring me joy.

I want to remember that moment when I looked at you and realized you are a big kid now. And I want to remember the moment right before that one too. 

photo by Tara Whitney 

and then on a day in June

liz lamoreux

There are so many stories inside me about the photos I don't have. 

Over the years I've seen so many mama and baby photos and I've wished I had those photos. Those gorgeous, real-life, this is holy and hard and gorgeous photos of a mama with her baby. I've wished I'd had a photographer take photos of my little family when Ellie was born, and then right before her surgery, and then right after, and then when she was one and two...

Of course, this wishing hasn't meant that I haven't been present to the beauty of the everyday moments. Noticing the everyday beauty is "my jam" as they say.

But you can be present to that beauty and still wish sometimes.

I wanted a photo that captured how it felt to be her mama. A photo that captured the joy that is there even if only at the edges some days. A photo that said, "Amidst it all, she feels this joy, this love." A photo that said, "You're doing a good job Mama. You really are." A photo that captured both of us - the magic, the silliness, the softness, the connection. A photo that would gently push me to shed another layer of how I wish that first year could have been for her, for us. And honestly, a photo that did all that while capturing me in a way that wouldn't distract me from the story. I wanted to feel beautiful in that photo.

Of course I could tell the story with my words and with my camera and I have again and again. And that piece is so important. Self-healing, as my friend Pam says, is an important piece of unpacking the stories and feeling seen by one's self, which is vital in my opinion. But still, I felt that ache of wanting to be seen by someone who would deeply get it. I wanted to hold that evidence in my hands so I simply couldn't deny it.

And then on a day in June, Tara Whitney arrived, and Ellie took her hand within minutes and said, "Come and see my room." And a little girl's laughter and a photographer's wisdom and kindness created space for me to relax into myself, to relax into that joy and love. And before I even saw the photos, that little wish that was more like a crack in my heart stitched right up. 

There are so many gorgeous photos from this day that I'll be sharing, including one of me and Jon that has me saying, "Yes, this is exactly how I feel" even when that feeling can feel far away from time to time after this many years together. And several of all three of us that make my heart burst with joy. But this photo. This one. I had to show you because I'm so grateful for the ways you've held my story these past few years and I knew you would get it. 

Photo by Tara Whitney (who is full of magic and grace and delight.)

five years {what is real}

liz lamoreux

 

Five years ago today we were in the PICU not sure of what the next few hours would hold. Our five week old wasn't thriving and eating was exhausting her and her heart was beating so fast her little body was vibrating. At her 5 year check up last month, her growth was above the 20th percentile for the first time (it was actually above 50!). For the first two years she never hit above 5%. I remember the day her cardiologist told me it was time for milk shakes and french fries. But she's always loved broccoli and peas and strawberries most of all. So when we have ice cream on girls' night and we talk about how things went at camp today and she tells me about running and creating and playing, I can't stop myself from taking photos of her eating it all up. And tonight, I think about how blessed we are that her body kept listening on those nights I'd whisper while she slept, "Your only job is to keep growing and growing so that you can live your life and see all the beauty in the world waiting for you." Yes. Yes. Yes.

I posted this photo and words on Instagram earlier tonight, and it feels important to share it here too as this is the space where I've worked so much out over the last (almost) ten years...where I've made sense of my story and the way it's unfolding. Thanks for being along beside me.

there are things i want to tell you

liz lamoreux

I want to tell you about the ways being a mother pushes me more than anything I've ever done. It knocks me around. It takes my breath away. It takes me out at the knees. It grows my heart bigger.

I want to tell you about the way I can see love float through the air whenever my daughter giggles. It's like heart-shaped bubbles surround her, surround us, and I can't help but relax into myself.

I want to tell you about the ways I'm certain that I don't know what I'm doing, the days when the questions and the shoulds and the whys stack up.

I want to tell you about the moments when I wonder why it has to be so hard, why she has to push so hard against me, against the love.

I want to tell you about the moments that are full of ease, full of more joy than one person can hold, full of certainty and wide hope.

I want to tell you about the moments when I whispered to her, "All you have to do is live. Is breathe on your own. And then you can live big in this world. You can love big. You can walk beside an elephant in Africa and discover all that you love and become a superhero and just be anyone you want to be. All you have to do is live" as the ventilator whooshed beside us.

I want to tell you about the choices I've made, the mistakes, the blunders, the parenting moves I want to redo because I'm that mom whose baby girl almost died and it can be hard to get out from under that truth.

I want to tell you about the ways I'm trying to soften inside when I think about those mistakes because she's that daughter who doesn't need to think about that almost for even a second because she's so strong and living so big in this world.

I want to tell you about feeling turned inside out while also feeling certain that "yes, even this" can be the path.

I want to tell you about the ways I don't do it all, the ways I'm plowed under by the clutter and the anxiety and the "Please don't ask me one more time if we're there yet."

I want to tell you about the ways my heart keeps stitching together as another bead slides down the string and she joins in as I chant to Ganesh and later after she's in bed he looks at me and says, "Can I hold your hand?"

But instead I'm just going to tell you that each day I'm doing all that I can to set down the pushing and the almosts and the "yes, even this" sometimes to notice the way I want it to be and the way it is, and I'm building a bridge between them where I'm going to sit and dangle my feet while I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I'm building a bridge where I'm going to live.

Where we're going to live.

retreating

liz lamoreux

Ellie and I are in Arch Cape, Oregon for her first art retreat this weekend. It's just the two of us and it's pretty awesome to be here together teaching her the ways of retreating. We're painting and getting sea and salt in our hair and snacking and writing and laughing. And there's of course a heavy dose of remembering to be kind and learning how to take some space when we need it and creating a mess with our words and then hugging it out.

Our time here has me very excited to come back in June for the One Move Retreat (which has five spots left). And it has me thinking about writing a few posts with some thoughts about what I'm learning as we paint and talk and hug it out.

 

While watching her run on the beach with a new friend this morning, I started thinking about how parenting is so much about trying to stay rooted while the world feels like it spins faster. And I'm not talking about time. That's a given. I'm talking about how you go from knowing what to do in a moment and saying just the right thing to help her learn to hearing her laughter and see her joy literally bubble up around her like magic to watching her run too far from you until she can't see you, until you can't see her, while the tide is coming in and the moment suddenly tosses you over a cliff of worry and knowing you're going to have to pull out the serious voice while not totally losing your shit in front of wedding guests who are suddenly gathering on the beach where just 20 minutes before there was only you and her and adventure waiting. Somehow staying rooted, even if only by a fingertip, in moments like that. 

More soon...but I think it's time to nap while she naps...