N was less than 24 hours old, and we were alone in our room at the hospital. H had gone home to check on the pets, and after a night of constant checks, the room was finally peaceful. I reached over to grab my camera, and I snapped a few dozen photos of her. Brand new.
It’s hard to describe how I feel when I have a camera in my hands. Things are more clear, focused. All the noise falls away, and I’m left with just the images I want to create. The artist and her canvas. From the moment I realized I was actually in labor, I felt like I was sprinting toward the finish line in a race. N didn’t just show up two weeks early, she came roaring into this world in a whirlwind that left my head spinning for weeks. But for a few short minutes, I was able to focus on her tiny fingers, her eyelashes, her little dimples.
She’s a giant now, compared to that day. And the list of things she’s taught me in the past four months would fill a novel. I thought this transition to motherhood, to working at home with a baby, would be all about showing myself grace. I was wrong. Oh, I’ve had to show myself plenty of grace, it’s true. But N has taught me that being present is the most important thing. I can write emails while she naps, or check my Instagram feed after she goes to bed at night, but these precious moments with her? They’re flying by. So I set my phone down, and I look in her eyes. I snuggle her close when she needs me. I’m trying to live each moment as it is. I’m trying to extend that presence to all aspects of my life. To focus on my meals when I’m eating. To listen to people when they’re speaking. To be present in all aspects of life.
Everything is different now. It’s messier, more exhausting, and yet, it’s exactly the same. The days blur together in an endless parade of giggles and emails and laundry. The giggles are new, but the endless emails and laundry have always been here. We’ve gone to IKEA, H has taken a business trip without us, and N’s been to three states (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). She’s got her passport, and is preparing for her first trip to Germany.
In some ways, the busy nature of having her has helped me. I’m more focused. I tend to waste less time on social media, because I have things to get done. I’m behind on getting my garden planted, but hey, we got some April snow, so it was kind of a blessing. I may not be multitasking as much, but I’m a boss at prioritizing and getting things done. I’m finding a new balance in 2017.