Friday, October 21, 2016

What I Learned on the Other Side of the Camera

So I was minding my own business when I got this text from my college roommate and friend of ten years as we were planning our girls' weekend...

"When we get together, can we take pretty pictures of each other?"

Woah, now. Hold up....

I have to go ahead and tell you, my friend is gorgeous. Tan, blonde, toned... She's a total knock out. I mean, look at her...
Real-life Disney Princess, yall.

Me, on the other hand?

Now in my defense, there were bugs. And I'm about as outdoorsy as an artificial topiary. She was lucky I was out there at all.

Taking pictures is the easy part. I control the lighting, the angle... everything. And it was so easy to take pictures of my friend. She has an effortless confidence that literally jumps out of the screen.
Then it was my turn. And I was terrified.

I am not tan.  My skin was once called "porcelain" by a friend trying to make me feel good and "really, really, really white" by my husband (who was just coming out of anesthesia at the time).

I am not blonde. My hair gets done *maybe* once a year.  I've actually had it cut TWICE this year! By professionals!

I am certainly not toned. Although I prefer to say that instead of being out of shape, I have simply "rearranged." Things wiggle that didn't used to wiggle. There are curves where there used to not be curves. I'm not fat, but I'm certainly not fit. I'm in that awkward in-between where my chin kind of multiplies when I'm looking down, and if I'm not careful, the "muffin top" is going to turn into a "jelly roll."

Being in a picture itself wasn't scary.  I've been in engagement pictures, wedding pictures, maternity pictures, and countless family photo sessions.  My husband and I even donned our wedding attire for some fifth anniversary photos. I love taking pictures.

So what was the problem? Why was I having SUCH a hard time with this?

Because it was me. Not me and my husband. Not me and my daughter.  Not even me and a baby bump. Just me. That was my problem. These weren't pictures of me being "the band director's wife" or "Parker's Mom" or even "Mrs. Poe." With all my labels, I haven't been "Rebekah" in a while.

But my friend wouldn't take "no" for an answer. It was my turn to be in pictures. So, I did my make up. And I don't mean I threw on mascara and Parker's Minnie Mouse chapstick like I usually do.  I really put on make up.  And I did my hair, making sure to take longer than five minutes. And I stood in front of the camera with nothing and no one to hide behind.

Later, as I was looking at the shots from the afternoon, I noticed something.  I'm not tan. But my skin really glows in the sunlight.

I'm not blonde, and my hair does what it wants.  But it sure is shiny.

And I'm not toned. But I have been blessed to have carried a beautiful baby girl who is my entire world.

These pictures make me feel beautiful. I look happy. I look confident. I look like myself, flaws and all. I want to raise my daughter to possess all of these attributes. In order to do that, I need to be her example. She needs to see her mom not afraid to take center-stage. She needs to see me taking care of myself. She needs to see me

And my husband, my sweet husband. He needs to see me like this, too. I want to show him that even though we have aged (almost ten years), and even though life's responsibilities have kicked into high gear... Even though I don't often "dress up" and even though we have crazy, hectic schedules... the girl he first fell in love with is still in there. We are "Mr. and Mrs. Poe" at work and "Mommy and Daddy" at home, but we are also Andrew and Rebekah, day-dreaming about the future.  

So to all the women who feel less than perfect-
To all the moms who feel like "moms"-
To those of you who feel frumpy-
To those of you who have gotten lost in all your "labels"-

Don't forget who you are. You are more than mom; more than wife; more than employee. Don't be afraid to just be yourself sometimes. You are you. And being YOU is a very good person to be.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

If You Tell a Three-Year-Old to Go to Bed... Based on a True Story

If you tell a three-year-old to go to bed, she's going to have to use the potty first.

When she uses the potty, she is going to ask for a reward (even though she hasn't had one in the many months that have occurred between potty-training and now).

If she asks for a reward, she will likely want it to be a marshmallow.

After she eats the marshmallow, she will have to brush her teeth.

When she brushes her teeth, she will get some toothpaste on her shirt.

She cannot possibly sleep in a shirt that has toothpaste on it, so she will ask you to get her a new one.

When you change her shirt, you will also have to change her pants (because Paw Patrol pants DO NOT go with a Frozen shirt).

When her pajamas are on, she will crawl into the bed.

Once she's in bed, she will ask for a bed time story... and another... and another.

The denial of the fourth bed time story will cue her to start to cry (because four is her "favorite number").

When she cries, she is going to need a tissue.

You will get her a tissue and blow her nose.

You will read the fourth bed time story, The Pout-Pout Fish.

Seeing the water in the story will remind her that she's thirsty, so she'll ask you for a drink.

And chances are, if you give her a drink, she's going to need to go potty.