motherhood · Poetry

It’s Never Going to Be Pastels for Us

I can’t really imagine a world where my husband and I pose in pretty neutrals with our squishy baby all cuddled with us perfectly.

My favorite newborn photos to have are the selfies, the real-life snaps, reality without swaths of pastel.

I love having blurry renditions of cuddles, togetherness, and quiet hospital videos I make myself take because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t! (And I wish I had more.) The lack of fanfare matches the intimacy of the season and I love that. Life. Us experiencing it. Us in love. Us growing. Us without pastels.

The season after Shasta was born had us wrapped in a beautiful cocoon. I struggled hard and there’s no denying that, but I also remember how much honest-to-goodness magic bubbled from that first year with Shasta. I’m almost halfway to a year with Heidi and it’s been far less cocoon like. But as a woman I have grown. I am emerging. And I am deeper in my motherhood. The bright, vibrant, layered reality has replaced the magic. Of course, magic moments to come, but it’s a reality now that feels full and big and so vibrant with life.

When I was thinking of our newborn//infant season with our radiant Heidi, this poem practically wrote itself. And it matches how we’ve chosen to document the early days with a newborn. No pastels. Never pastels. But extraordinary and very real beauty nonetheless.

GROWING PAINS (on marriage, parenthood, life❤)

between arguments,
long tiring
nights,
long lasting
infant cries,
there were lows
weren’t there?
but still the roses
grew,
and how the sunflowers
bloomed,
and baby smiled too.
grins, first laughs,
and bright-eyed coos,
forgiveness was
our Marriage
Song,
and a second round
of Morning Glories
burst out
in a day
or two.
I think they call
this
growing pains,
I think they call
this
Love.

-S.V.F.

motherhood · Poetry

To Moms of Tiny Artists

Art in the Thick of It, Poem🎨💓

“I don’t make art anymore.”

But I watched her for a day.

November 2021 in the garden with my eldest, my firstborn, my boy!!

She smiled at the morning and then paved a way. She made room for their messes, imaginations soar. She helped them make sense of their huge world and her own such a blur.

She cheered for the funnest dreams. . .yes, the United States could use a queen! She pointed to leaves falling, can you hear the rustling? She filled up cups with water for stubby stems and weeds. She picks out mundane magic hidden inside of everything.

And when the magic ran all out. …her arms gathered up their growing pains. Her voice, “this is how a deep breath goes.” And her heart, “I’m here with you, and I love you very much.” Their eyes, “mom! our best nightlight, our knight in shining armor!” We are big and safe. We are strong and brave. We are loved and happy.”

Still she held back tears, sighed, “I don’t make art anymore.” But how can this be true?

She painted life by living, and like colors on a canvas, her art filled up her children. and greater still, where are the children standing next to her? Because all I really see are artists standing tall who just can’t wait to emulate
the wild art of living, of painting like their Mother.

-S.V.F.

a note // please do make some art if you can & enjoy those hobbies & pastimes but for the seasons and/or days which are all consuming & demanding DO NOT LOSE HEART! Tiny artists in your care!!💓

motherhood

A Mother in Warfare

My son kept looking back at me. A grin that reached his young soul. “Do you see this too, Mom? Do you see it? A whole lake! That boy over there could be my friend!”

I do see, son.

In this minute, like you, I only see the lake, the good things coming. I wish I only ever saw the lake. It is magnificent. I breathe for real. A deep one long held in.

But I see more.

How could I not? Headlines crush. Tragedies feel like tally marks. And that’s tragedy in itself. Again. Again. Again. And is it condolences, really? Or just everyone’s hot take? I look away. Not to stick my head in the stand. And maybe I do want my head in the sand when it comes to everyone’s opinions, everyone’s thoughts and prayers. . .

I’m praying too.

But my soul can’t take the noise. It wasn’t meant to. The burden is enough, and it’s too much. Was I meant to know it? I pray to God for healing, redemption. I surrender all I cannot carry. Which is all.

And I look at the lake.

Lean into life. . .this life from God.

My son grins. Laughs. He can’t get enough. Neither can I. I see God’s goodness here. I believe Him.

My daughter sleeps peacefully. I take in the beauty. Their dog runs. They hold their babies and walk into the water. And my own splashes in yellow boots. Waves from boats crash in. Not all waves mean storms.

Still I have no words for the world. I grieve it. And sometimes I don’t grieve as I should or weep with those who weep. God forgive me!

Life here is brutal.

But I look at the lake.

Because there is still life here too.

And I pray as though it’s an act of war. It is.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

I lean into all that is good and right, lovely and well. That’s war too.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8

And I live. There are things to do. This is war.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

And I write. Because I need a Lullaby in all this madness.

Even Mothers, Even Here

I’m a beggar

and a mother,

interchangeable.

spare these hearts of mine!

spare these hearts of mine!

these hearts outside of me,

spare them please!

but I know it,

have lived it.

they won’t escape

pain, tragedies

by the tens or hundreds.

but let them be,

let them breathe,

let them laugh and love,

be healed, be held,

be fearlessly here

for all the days of their life.

and bear them up

when they grieve,

or ask questions like,

“but where was God when. . .?”

and give them peace

to face, endure

whatever will hollow

their hearts.

and help them laugh again,

themselves freely to it

when happiness

lifts their spirit.

and God, let us know,

let the mothers know!

even when

they aren’t safe here,

even when

they can’t escape,

our children

. . .our very heartbeats,

are ever safe with You.

but we are weeping, asking for

spines tall, strong with hope,

minds built in the truth,

eyes fixed on You.

and here You remind us

we can fall apart,

we can fracture, shatter

because even mothers,

even here,

are safe with You

too.

I grin back at my son.

It reaches my soul. And there the grin finds my soul well.

I look at the lake.

I see it, son.

I do.

motherhood

It Was You The Whole Time

It was you the whole time.

Before I knew I was pregnant. When two lines showed up even though that second one was faint. When I texted our midwife with the happy news even though it was early.

But see,

I’ve learned there’s no such thing as “early.”

Just you!

You the whole time.

And when you were smaller than you “should” have been, it was you fully there. You the whole time. Your strong heartbeat the best sound in your mother’s world.

You.

You.

You.

The whole time.

There was a night I thought I might be losing you. I was scared out of my mind. Desperate, “I WANT THIS BABY!”

And that baby was you.

You the whole time.

And praise God, you were well! Strong. And all of you there, here with me, the whole time.

Conception. Week 7. Week 13. Week 20. Week 35. Last of summer, all of fall and winter, early spring, 39 Weeks, 5 Days. . .

it was you the whole time.

And now I get to hold you in my arms, see your face, treasure every bigger-than-life smile, calm your cries, run my thumb gentle across your forehead. There is wonder in finally holding the reality of you after carrying you for so long. You who has been you the whole time. Since before I knew! Since before I saw. Before I heard. Before I felt. Before I held.

It’s just always been you.

You!

Growing.

Living.

Being.

Heidi.

The whole time.

You.

No such thing as early. Just wonderful, radiant, miraculous you.

You the whole time.

Hi there, I’m your mom.

And don’t you worry,

I’ve been here the whole time, too.