I spent part of yesterday sorting through a huge tote of photos I've been moving from house to house for more than a decade.
Yesterday seemed apropos, being Sage's 12th birthday.
What better time to travel back through these years and remember so much that was forgotten?
So while he and a friend threw water balloons at each other out in the yard I dug in.
There was a photo of Pete and me in our mid 20's, standing beside a happy yellow house, just after we were handed the keys.
Seeing that photo again I remembered.
The house that we moved into during our first year of marriage. The house where we became a family. The house where Sage was born (very nearly on the front porch) and the life we know now began.
There were photos of me pregnant with this boy who now grazes my shoulders.
There were photos of me holding and nursing my newborn, my big eyes barely hinting at the overwhelm and worry I felt in those first months of holding another life in my hands.
Oh, how I remember.
There were photos of Pete and me trying like hell to hold onto our sense of humor, our connection, our "before". And I remember that, too.
And then as I dug through the bin the photos shifted. We shifted. As slowly, slowly we found our groove and our grace.
And the crying baby became a smiling baby became a beaming toddler became a bright and shining child.
Just like in real life.
And then there were photos of me pregnant again, and nursing and holding another baby, the wild eyes of fear gone completely.
Relief. Ease. Love. Light.
And the two of them - small - and the four of us - happy - together.
Layer by layer, photo by photo, I uncovered the story of me becoming me and of us becoming us.
And I remember it all.
The deeper I dug through the photos, the more effortless and beautiful it all became.
Sure, there were exceptions. There were photos that remind me of hard times. Where he is wearing the pajamas that they cut off of him in the ER, or a photo where something looks off in his eyes.
And so I remember those days, too, with a tender and aching appreciation for how it all turned out.
But mostly I remember the ease that came as we hit our groove.
Because even our hardest days turned out okay in the end. No - better than okay. Better than I imagined, even on the very best days.
And now beside me stands a twelve-year-old, confident, self-knowing child where a tender baby once was.
And I remember it all.
Sage taught me how to parent from the heart.
How to honor my inner wisdom and truly listen to my child, even when he can not find the words.
He taught me how to be tender, honest, and kind in a way I had never know before.
He taught me how to lead with love.
I've never been in a hurry for him to grow up - nor have I felt the need to pull him back or slow him down.
His life is unfolding in his perfect way at his perfect pace. In every way.
And it has been - since the start.
And I'm humbled an honored to be his mama and to be learning and growing right here by his side.
Happy Birthday Sage August. Thank you for choosing me to be your mama.
I love you so.
(Last photo by Lupine)