Monday, May 23, 2011

It takes a village.




When Michael and I started our life together, we knew that being close to our family was a priority.
In my family's culture, it's not uncommon for Grandparents to actually live with their children, and help them raise their own. When I was younger, the 6 of us - My Mom & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa, my sister and I all lived together. Sardined in University Housing apartments, as my Dad attended college. The sound of the train running through the heart of town is still a memory I feel in every part of me. After we moved out, we moved to a tiny 2-bedroom home on Berry Street. The house is long gone - torn down years ago to make room for half a million dollar homes. But when I drive past that part of town, I always remember our little house.
Set on a large plot of land, it backed up to the creek. We had a cherry tree, a fence covered in grape vines, and a huge garden. We also had two large white rabbits that kept me company, and a couple chickens and a rooster (before Grandpa ate it).

Our neighbor was Mister Powers. That's what our (barely English speaking) family called him. Dad was in school, submerged in the language. Mom was....not as great with hers :) Grandma and Grandpa only left the house to go with us on trips to the lake, picnics, and camping trips. So their English language never grew. And my sister and I were still speaking our first language - Farsi. In pre-school we started to learn our second language - English.
I think about Mister Powers, an old farmer. In his plaid shirt, white hair, and glasses, walking with a cane. Every farmer and 80 year old man I see is Mister Powers, to me now. 25 years later, his memory is still a print on a portion of my mind. I wonder if it made him laugh to see us....odd and brown, in the middle of a town picking chicken eggs and backyard farming. Sometimes I think that's what he liked about us. And the fact that those words, the sound... the sound of his name, on our unfamiliar tongues....mister powers, were our first words.

Together, we lived in that house on Berry. A strong unit, where one of us fell short, the other stood tall. And there, I learned what a babysitter was. I learned that it really does take a village to raise a child, and our village was family.


When we decided to have children of our own, I knew that I wanted my own little village to raise this child. There are things only I can offer Elodie, as her Mother. But there is another world of opportunity, learning, and love she will receive from my decision to go back to work part-time.
Every woman chooses what is best for her family, and that is a personal choice that no one is allowed to judge. I have never felt guilt over what I have decided to do for her, and us.


And on Thursday, I went back to work.

On my last day home with Elodie, I wished for peace. For leaving her, for my sanity. I wished for sleep, a calm baby, and learning to balance the new change that was about to wash over our family, like a changing tide.

Instead, Elodie woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

For three days and nights, the three days and nights before I went back to work, she was up all night, screaming during the day, and demanding to be held. It wasn't like the Elodie I really know in our quiet moments. Watching the birds fly over her, closing her eyes in the breeze. My baby finds peace in her heart, easily.

And she cried, and cried, and cried. And I cried. And begged. And nursed her and rocked her, wore her all day, sang her her favorite songs, showed her the new blooms in the garden. Still, she cried, and she didn't sleep. And I cried.




On my last day home, I took her to visit Grandma, and find my own peace in my heart.

She fed me hot tea, dried fruit & nuts, saffron rice&chicken...trying carefully to hide the chicken underneath the rice. Insisting it was good for my milk, insisting that I hated meat from the time I was a little girl. We laughed as we remembered Grandpa in his "babysitter" days.
He watched me during the day, and one day, as he tried to feed me some of his meal - dried chunks of meat and bread, I demanded as much as a 3 year old really can - "so you're some kind of babysitter, now?" Then he taught me a lesson - my Grandpa, always one of my fist teachers of life. He said, "this comes from the chickens in the backyard."
For years, I struggled with my relationship with eating meat. And even though Mom and Grandma are still pissed that he taught me a hard lesson of life so young, I was never angry at him. He was indeed, just teaching me life...and he wasn't such a bad baby sitter, after all.

25 years later, my Mom and Grandma still throw their voices in a high pitch, and repeat this, as we laugh and remember our tiny house on Berry Street. Mister Powers. The chickens.



The day before I went back to work, Grandpa split open a watermelon for us to share, as they told stories of life in Iran - watermelon and bread for dinner some nights.
I watched Grandma with Elodie, amazed by a woman who reared babies in a time and place of little resource. Still showing her innate ability to calm a baby in no time flat, I have been photographing her doing this quite often. One day I will show Elodie and she will learn the story of Aubibi-Bozorg, Great-Grandmother.



Grandpa ate his lunch by the South window, where he always sits in the sun. Bits of dried meat, and bread. Twenty five years later, an 88-year-old man is still a creature of extreme habit.



The drapes danced in the late Spring breeze.



We looked at old photos, and found this one of my parents in Germany, right before they moved to the states in '78.



Grandma, and my Mom.



A photo my Dad took of my Mom, on one of their little dates to the Caspian Sea.



....and our house on Berry Street. It catches my breath in my chest, to see the orange drapes under that window. Only a child, I realize the photo I am holding is just the way I remembered it...always printed on a piece of my mind. Every day I would rush behind the curtain to find the eggs that Moghky-joon (darling chicken) had left for me.

And in that photo, I was in the lap of my second babysitter. My teacher.
While Grandpa taught me about the parts of life that stung my skin with their reality, Grandma taught me to find love. "Chouk-Chouk, Chouk-Chouk," she called after the hens as she threw handfuls of rice and bread for them to eat.




She is holding Elodie in her lap, and somehow, she is fast asleep. For me, on my last day home before I went back to work, she cried. And cried. And cried. And I cried.
Today, she is fast asleep on Grandma's lap as she tells me a story.


After my sister was born, they left Iran to come live in tiny University housing and become a village, so they could all raise that child. And when my Uncle needed them, they left everything they knew for a second time to become his village.
In Nigeria, Africa, where my Uncle was living with his wife and two babies, they lived in a small house next to the jungle. Grandma still feels her own stings on her skin, telling me how terrified they were of where they lived. On the edge of a town surrounded by no one they knew or could communicate with, they were sandwiched between Nigeria, and the open jungle. She softens her mouth into a frown and lists the wild animals she would hear at night.

She tells me "Your Grandpa has always been a bad babysitter. One day, after our kids had gone to work, we were home with the babies and I was washing dishes. I asked him to watch them, and before I knew it, they had disappeared." She shoots him an angry glare, and he keeps eating his bread and dried bits of meat. She goes on.

"I found him sitting on the porch in the sun, drinking his tea. And they were gone. I ran into the street after them, terrified that they had gone into town. Even more terrified that they had wandered into the jungle."

She stops, and I watch pain take over her body. She rocks Elodie, and tells me that half a mile down the road, she finally found their shoes. Collapsing into tears of desperation, a little African boy came to her and pointed down the road. No lines of communication between them, she saw hope in his eyes. He ran down the road and came back with my two cousins.

Telling me this story on my last day before I went back to work, Grandma feels gratitude, all over again. She said she ran home, grabbed the little money she had, and took it to the boy. Thirty years after the day she lost her grandchildren to the jungles of Africa, she is still begging her God to bless the little boy who returned them.

My Grandmother, Elodie's Bibi-Bozorg, is the type of woman that loves any child with her entire being. When they hurt, she feels the sadness in every part of her own body. And in happiness, her heart sings to the rhythm of their laughter.






When I got back home, Elodie was calm. We watered the flowers, walked through the garden, and both soaked in the Spring air. Every May, the air in Oklahoma turns thick. And before the wave of heat washes over us and Summer comes, there are a few weeks of absolute bliss.

I spend every evening in these sweet weeks, outside.

The trees bend and warp as our evening thunderstorms and tornadoes roll through the Midwest. There are not many things I love more than the way that feels on my skin. So much that I immediately stripped Elodie down on my last evening, before I went back to work. For the first time, she will feel our late Spring roll through into the heat of Summer - she'll learn that this feels like home.

And instead of finishing my list of things to do before work in the morning (I'm learning To-Don't) we spend the rest of the evening out there. Swinging on the patio, where she fell asleep to that sweet breeze, and felt the damp night rolling through on her naked skin.



And I thought about tomorrow.
And if going back to work was right for us.
And in that very second, I remembered our house on Berry Street.

My teachers.

The ones that would teach Elodie, while I work part time to support my family. How could I ever be so stressed about a decision that suddenly seemed so right?


And I realized not only will she be just fine, but she will be even better for it. There are things that as a Mother, only I can give her. But it truly does take a village to raise a child, and I can't take that experience away from her.



She will be in the arms of a beautiful woman with a free spirit and dirt under her fingernails. One who had her picture taken by her best friend, next to the Caspian Sea.



In the arms of a teacher who taught lessons about the reality of life.
And one who would run into the streets of the jungle, crying out for babies so precious they could have been her own.


.....

Thursday I went back to work, and the world didn't end. I felt amazing, put on makeup and a cute outfit, and caught up with clients so dear to me they've become friends almost a decade in the making. I walked to lunch, turned my radio up really loud in the car...and I felt like me, again.

And that day when I came home, Elodie was still waiting for me. On the porch we swung, and it's like we never missed a beat.




When the weekend came, we celebrated our new life. We had friends over and drank beers & wine on the patio, watched the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs, and spent time with family. We went to the first Summer Breeze concert series in the park, and we danced and felt Oklahoma Springtime rolling over our naked skin.



And she didn't cry. And I didn't cry.

And for the last two nights, Elodie has slept.



106 comments:

carlotta said...

This is stunningly beautiful, Aura. I loved peeking into your childhood -- it made me feel I was right there with you.

Morgan said...

What a beautiful account of family history and the benefits to our little ones of spending time in the arms and hearts of the people in our "village".

I too struggled with going back to work, and quickly realized how much more I treasured my time with my little one, and how much he was learning by spending time with his auntie and cousin every day.

Thank you for writing such beautiful posts, interspersed with such lovely photography- I just love reading your blog :)

- Morgan

robyn said...

i'm so loving these posts of yours as you've eased into motherhood! they make me excited and breathless for when my little boy arrives in early September!

i find myself going back to your blod again and again, using it as a reminder of the type of mother i want to be, the type of person i want to be ... soaking in the precious moments and remembering that life is indeed a gift.

Betsy from three20 said...

oh wow.

you are a gorgeous human being. You have such a deep, rich, and thick background that is sewn into every inch of you. Your words portray so much of that.

If you ever write a book about your childhood and culture, I will most definitely be the first one to buy it. Please never stop writing such beautiful words and sharing with all of us.

BloomsYellow said...

Written beautifully... you have a way with words Aura. I still haven't left my baby and he is almost one! It's only because I would only trust him with family and our family is all over since we are military and stationed in Germany at the moment. I am hoping we get stationed near home soon so that my village can help teach my little boy. Love, love, love your writing.
Always,
Sarah

17 Perth said...

Aura--I am so so happy that you have found peace in your decision and I agree 100% with you. I cannot imagine my grandparents not having a large influence in raising me and Elodie will grow up to remember those moments as well. I have to admit though-I did cry a little reading this. It is beautifully documented and Elodie is one lucky baby to have such wonderful reflective parents.

Katie (Mama May I) said...

Simply amazing that you have your family village still. That's a very hard thing to have in our country these days. And you're right, she'll come through just fine as you did with the care and compassion of those beautiful hands.
I really loved reading your storytelling in this piece. So rich.

Happy Day to you and your family!

Leah B. said...

Two things give me wonderful goosebumps: our thick oklahoma air on a night like we will surely have tonight, and a great story just like yours.
Thank you always.

Kate said...

This is wonderful. I want to live in these words. I love your voice in this post. Much peace to you, baby Elodie & your village.

Amy Rose said...

a beautiful post! when my husband and i start having children, we won't be around our families and the thought is so scary to me! but i will definitely have pictures and stories to share...and of course there will always be visits home and hopefully from home! the thing that touched me most about this post was the experiences of the summer breeze concert and the oklahoma spring air...it's so different here in illinois and i really miss home!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Aura, you are so wise for your years.. I can imagine the angst u had at deciding to go back to work.. It is hard... Thank the stars that it does take a village... You are lucky to have the support of a few generations.. and that is what is important... Babies can sense uneasiness as well as love.. Your Elodie definitely feels the calm of your grandma... She will learn what u have learned from your grandparents... wow, I am envious of your daughter... ((HUGS))

Averie said...

I am crying, laughing, nodding, rejoicing...all from one post. You are amazing to have captured ALL these emotions and to put them all in one post...

I could go on and on but this just speaks to me and thank you for saying it "Every woman chooses what is best for her family, and that is a personal choice that no one is allowed to judge. I have never felt guilt over what I have decided to do for her, and us. "-
Amen sista. As a working mom, I know, I understand.

I didnt go back to work until my daughter was 3, long after the sleepless nursing-all-night nights were done, and that was the path for us.

And I think that babies are soooo extremely intuitive. It wasn't just happenstance about her mood leading up to the few days before you went back to work. I am sure she just sensed something.

The wonderful (familial) village you have as a support network is just...amazing.

And so are all these images. Just.Gorgeous. The entire post.

Thank you for giving and sharing like this!!!

Blessed Rain said...

I too went back to work part time after the birth of my little girl. My husband, myself and our baby lived with my parents and older sister. It was a large house well equipped to hold us. I left my baby for months on end in the arms of my mother.
She held her first grandbaby as if she was the most priceless thing in the world.
One year later Mama died and I quit.
My village broke apart as well as my heart.
but I know that my mother was happier that last year than any other year of her life surrounded by her family and the little baby that held her heart.

Tamara Nicole said...

Aura I LOVE this post and that you and your family are so close. You are gorgeous in and out and so is your little munchkin!!!

Fashionably Learning To Be said...

My husband's family is from Southern India. Their culture is similar in that grandparents often live with their children helping to raise grandchildren. My husband's parents have yet to retire. We also don't have children yet. I hope that when they do retire they will come and live with or close to us! Having a village of family members is such a lovely gift.

Thanks for sharing!

Mom of the Twinkies and Tot! said...

Okay. I just read this one my way home (at all the lights of course) and am in awe over how you can tell a story. I loved hearing about your family life and growing up with your grandparents as such a big part of it. My grandparents never lived with us, but were (and my grandmother still is) a very big part of my childhood as well.

I believe in the saying, it takes a village..., as well. I am lucky, like you, that even though I am working to support my family, my mom is the one with my kids when I am not. Honestly, this was probably the best post I've ever read. Thank you for sharing!

Nolita said...

Aura, I found your blog last week via HEAB and told her I thought we might be neighbors after I saw your Groovefest mention. I am sure that somehow our paths have crossed after reading today (Life in a small town). My family and I were at the concert last night but didn't make it past the playground (we have 3 kids and came late) and we live so close to Berry it's not even funny. Our place backs up to Imhoff Creek and we have chickens too (but no rooster). You have a beautiful family and I am excited to see your shop. You are the 3rd blogger from here that I've discovered this Spring! HEAB wanted me to let you know she is a big fan!

susanne evangelista said...

Ah, so lovely. Refreshing. Encouraging. Living in the balance!

www.rsevangelista.com

Anonymous said...

I love absoutely everything about this post and I always look forward to reading a new post of yours. You are truly an inspiration to me.

Lovechld22 said...

This is so beautiful. Your story telling is like life on the page. I just get so lost in it :). And this is very prevalent right now for me. I am soon to be looking for a part time job, with my daughter about to turn two. And although she is not quite as young as Elodie, it's still a struggle to think of leaving my little girl, who I have been with practically every minute since she was born.

But it's time. I need this. She needs this. Your post has reassured me, that it shouldn't be a guilty thing to leave her with family that will take very good care of her and love her and teach her things that she will come to remember all her life.

Thank you Aura.

I hope that you, Michael and Elodie all have a happy peaceful week, and blessings to you and your family.

<3

Gaby said...

Your family is so interesting Aura! I grew up in a city with no extended family whatsoever, so it's cool for me to read about people and their "villages" of family. Elodie's a lucky girl. x

Pam said...

thank you for sharing such sweet personal memories of your childhood! I lost both my father and mother two years ago, my grandmother right before last Christmas, I miss them all terribly, your words gave me comfort, made me smile. I especially love the wrinkles in your grandpa's feet. So happy for you Elodie slept <3

natasha Ayers said...

You are so stunning and brilliant in spirit and wisdom. That is why I come back to this blog, over and over again for inspiration. You are a remarkable person.

M said...

That story is so sweet. Thank you for sharing a bit of your family history.

Shandell said...

I love your family stories! Your family has so much culture to them.

Arezu said...

I love this post so much, makes me reflect on how grateful I am for my village and family too. I follow your blog and usually don't comment. But there was so much in this post that resonated with me, that I felt like I was reading my own life... my family is persian too, my father-in-law still can't eat dinner without his pieces of bread, and we even lived in a remote part of Nigeria when I was a baby.

Thanks for sharing, reading this has been my favorite part of the day :)

El said...

Aura Joon,

If you don't mind me asking, I'm curious- are you planning to teach Elodie Farsi? If so, how?

Love your posts.

~Elham

Susan said...

Incredibly beautiful... thank you.

A Cappelli said...

Your writing is simply beautiful. What great fortune for Elodie to have such loving teachers.

-Maria- said...

wow, you're mom is really beautiful. You lead a lovely life and I gather that is because you have cultivated gratitude for what might be taken for granted. Thanks for sharing.

Olivia Grace said...

I relate to your strong family ties so much. I come from a very large, Cajun family and we are all so wrapped into each other and our roots and culture, it is hard to tell where one of us ends and the other begins. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, to raise them in the arms of a tribe. I just love reading your posts so much!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

SO touching and heartwarming. She's getting so big so fast and is absolutely precious! Thank you for sharing these stories.

Jen said...

I have never commented prior, but just wanted you to know each of your posts touch me in a different way whether it be tears, an overabundance of happiness or an astonishing rush of inspiration. There is beauty in absolutely everything you write and photograph. Thank you for sharing!

Jen/Lincoln, NE

Jgee said...

This is my favourite post of yours, ever. So beautifully written and a sentiment that really resonates with me. Tis all about the village. Sounds like Elodie is surrounded by a group of wonderful souls- lucky her, and you. Glad your new chapter started off well x

Marie said...

Wonderful post. I wish so badly that we lived near my parents so my sweet babies could spend more time with their grandparents.

Anna said...

All of your posts are wonderful but this one is my favorite. Thank you for glimpses of your life with us :)

I wish that my grandparents were still alive to teach my children.

Annie Kennedy said...

I could listen to your stories every day. And look at pictures of Elodie every day. She is adorable. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

whileshedreams said...

elodie is absolutely stunning. you are both very lucky to have such wonderful teachers.

Anonymous said...

I just love your storytelling. I too have a "village" helping me with my little one while I am at work. It's the next best thing to being with my baby. Thanks for sharing.

O'Melly said...

Never feel guilty for supporting your family. You're lucky to have so much help!

The way I see it is; you gotta do, what you gotta do!
And you're "Gettin'er done!"

Good job Momma-bear!

-Melanie

The View From Here / 365 Days - 365 Photos said...

Absolutely beautiful...in words....in photos....in family...in all.

In Real Life said...

This is such a beautiful story, with gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing this wonderful, inspiring, precious journey that is your family's story.

jodi said...

It always takes a village to raise a child. Always.

Is that a sakura bloom sling you have there sweet Aura?

J x

Mrs. G said...

There is SO much peace in making good decisions for your little family. And I love that you had a great first day back at work and that Baby E will be able to spend so much time with those who love her. You are a great mother, Aura <3

jora said...

this is a truly beautiful post. it is exactly why i read blogs. thanks for the reminder. xoxo

vicious*vintagechic said...

So beautiful, thank you for sharing your memories and beautiful family.

Laura said...

I know how you feel. My firstborn had colic and it really is the world feeling...that feeling of helplessness. I'm due in a couple of days now, so let's hope my newborn is a little calmer than my last. Good luck to you!

diamonddiaper.blogspot.com

Laurel said...

There is nothing like a story that you can live as you read it. And nothing like a storyteller who makes you feel it as you read it. Such an amazing gift you have. Gifts I should say.... Elodie is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen!

Petals & Twigs said...

thanks for sharing all these stories. i have recently discovered your blog and enjoy every bit of it. what type of carrier are you using?

Sobrina Tung said...

elodie is so beautiful! she is one lucky gal to have that village :)

Anonymous said...

What kind of baby sling do you use? Yours looks so comfy! My son was born on 3/27 and he loves to be in my arms all the time so I'm looking for something a little easier to put on than the moby wrap.

Thanks!

Meemo said...

I too am blessed with a wonderful village. My son has learned so much from all the wonderful people around him. He surprised me when he knew how to tell a knock knock joke at 2 1/2. I wondered who taught him that.

I work full time and I am grateful that I can go to work with peace of mind because of my village.

Thanks for such a wonderful post.

Aaron said...

aura,

she is just too beautiful for words....

Sini said...

I absolutely love this. You are amazing writer.. And blessed with so amazing family that this story left me speechless.

Anonymous said...

That was so beautifully written and spot on. Made me teary, and I had to share it on Facebook. I am thankful there are families and grandparents like yours in the world who get it.
Felicity

superhappyjohi said...

Absoilutely beautiful! Thank you so much for this stories. You are so blkessed to have your granparents and parents so close...I would give everything to see my granparents with our kids one day... Elodie is so precious!

Ramona said...

Aura, what an encouragement for many mothers out there! Thank you!

MAJ said...

Reminds me of that old song: "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."

I find this applies well to our families: we often take them for granted and don't appreciate them enough until it is too late.

It's so good to hear that you have so many generations under one roof, Auro. Also, good luck at work!

Love and Laughter,
MAJ
http://secretplanet.blogspot.com/

Sealicious said...

Aura,

This was such an incredible story, an amazing piece of writing - thankyou for sharing it :)

I moved back to my hometown because I have such a large, wonderful community of friends and family here. I often fantasize about moving to the West Coast for the weather, lifestyle, and jobs out there, but in my heart I know that that community is more important than anything else to me and I am so lucky to have them.

crissy (mrsstingfish@gmail.com) said...

aura, i almost never comment but i'm a regular reader. i have a daughter, who is almost five now. no one tells you what it is like to be a working mother. so many women do it that it ignorantly seemed easy. it isn't. i work from home "full time" (and my hubbie most of the time) and i love our laid back life. it's still a juggling act. we have such awesome family near us and the village was essential. some advice to you as you start to establish a new routine and find a new balance in the ever-changing and developing life of having children: let go. there are days when it is easy to do that and days when it will be really hard - given whatever the circumstance. also, some how, it helped me to tell myself that babies are resilient. they can handle change, skips in the schedule and people other than mom. they will get their needs met and the adult who is caring for them will find their own groove and balance w/ elodie. that is really precious to watch those bonds grow from time when mom is not around.

best to you in going back to work. it is noble. the proverbs 31 woman worked - from sun up to sun down! now, i don't need to do all that ;) hehe

Roxanne said...

Aura, you are such a gifted writer. I always look forward to reading your posts and looking at your pictures. This little glimpse into your childhood was magical. Elodie is such a blessed individual to have such a wonderful village to raise her! xo

Jessica said...

beautifuly written....
where is that wrap your wearing E in from? I have a feeling you made it though?
Thanks!

A Cush said...

Aura,

You have a way with words that I only wish I had. This was one of your most beautiful posts yet and I read it multiple times. You are so right, Elodie will benefit infinitely from spending time with her grandmother during the day. It sounds like you have a wonderful "village" to fall back on. I am so happy for you that you have found peace in your decision and are enjoying the time back at work. Best wishes going forward. Elodie is absolutely stunning! I love that you have not lost sight of who you are and your daily life hasn't come to a screeching hault just because you have had a child. I hope someday, I can do the same.

Valerie said...

Beautiful post. I was having a crazy day but reading your words and seeing your beautiful pictures has brought me peace. Thank you!

raichel said...

Aura,
such a lovely post...you are great!

Tereza said...

Beautiful post

Libby said...

This is so beautiful. Although I'm still growing, I really do believe that it's all kinds of people who have shaped me to become who I am today--it truly does take a village! And I like to think that some of my character comes from reading blogs like this. Blogs that show me that life is a gift, family is important, and the simple things are often the best.
You're an inspiration, and Elodie is lucky to have such a wise mother.

jennifer said...

so so touching.
as a mother raising children with no family around, i'm awed by this closeness.

Shum Girl said...

You are gorgeous.
Your words are gorgeous.
Most of all you baby is gorgeous.
I am your new biggest fan.
I work too.
I have 3 beautiful women who watch my kids during the 4 days that I work.
I miss my kids but I have seen these 3 "teachers" do wonderful things for my kids that I couldn't have done and I am so grateful for my little village that will help me raise my 2 sweet girls to be amazing women.

Kendall said...

This is my first time visiting your space, and I am so touched by the way you tell a story. The story of your family is just stunningly beautiful and so poetic and real. I have a feeling I will be visiting you on a regular basis :) Congratulations on your Elodie--I love that name, and she really looked like a little Elodie!

(ps--I found you on Dear Baby's Blog)

Izziiee said...

This is just lovely. The old family photos gave me chills.
And how on earth did little Elodie get so big? She's freaking gorgeous.

Sara said...

wow i came across you blog from dear baby. i remember you from live journal so many years ago. your blog as evolved to something amazing. congrats on your family they are beautiful!

claire said...

This is such a beautiful post. The photos, the words and the heartfelt stories. Love it all xo

nikaela marie said...

oh boy. this was incredible. as always.

xxx

Wendy said...

Hey Aura, hope you are all safe through the storms.

Sonja said...

Beautiful post!

Before I was a mom, I was a nanny and I feel honored to have been part of that village for all the kiddos I've worked with over the years. Now that I have my own baby, it's even more amazing to me how much trust and respect those parents placed in me to care for their children. It's a pretty awesome thing.

At the same time, I'm having feelings I never anticipated about my own son. I always intended to be a SAHM, and I will be, but I'm having trouble leaving him for even short periods of time. It's not that I don't think he'll be ok without me, but that I miss him *so much* when I'm not with him. He's only 12 weeks old, so perhaps this will subside a bit in time. Still, this is hardly how I expected to feel after having been the caretaker and not the mom for so long!

Hoping you and Elodie and your village are doing well. :)

Court said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I swear I look forward to your posts each week. I love how you tell your story. Thanks for sharing :) P.S. Elodie is stunningly gorgeous! Looks JUST like you!

mariana said...

loved evertyhing about this post!

Myriad Art- Samantha June said...

This was such a beautiful post about family... i read it a couple days ago and then last night came home to the news of the tornadoes.. my heart goes out to you and your family and friends. I hope everyone's ok.
xo

Pega Pallo said...

You don't know how at peace this makes me feel that I'm not the only new mother battling with a screaming baby most days.

The other day I sat on the kitchen floor and cried...
But I would not change life without my dove.
Thank you.

Sara said...

Thank you for writing this, it is just amazingly beautiful.

e said...

Think I'm gonna be able to make it up there in a few weeks but I'll let everybody know. I think I'm going to have sky do my hair and then I'm gonna hold dat baby.

Tierra said...

Such a sweet post. I love that you have so many old pictures, I'm almost jealous. Elodie comes from a long line of gorgeous women. Thought of your family when I saw the bad weather come through the Midwest, praying that you all are okay!

Marie said...

This was one of your most beautiful posts. One of the things I am most intensely grateful for as a parent is to have a part of my "village" here for my son. I grew up without extended family nearby. There is something so magical and wonderful about seeing my baby happy and contented in his grandmother's lap, and watching his grandfather melt into a puddle around him. I only wish his great-grandparents were still alive to play with him..... but I count my blessings, I do.

I'm so glad your transition to work is going so well! And I would love to hear more about your backyard farming!!

Rania said...

I agree about it "taking a village". I wish we could go back to the days when the community helped support the growth and education of its children instead of allowing everyone to fend for themselves and scoffing when they fail. I truly makes a difference in the quality of a child's life.


Just found your blog by chance and so happy I did. Your images, your stories...so inspiring. I have found a home of sorts in your words and photos. What a beautiful family and beautiful expression of your life.

Thank you for allowing us to share in it.

erin d. said...

This is exactly what I need to read at exactly the right time.

Thank you.

Jackie said...

she is such an adorable baby!

Veronica said...

I love love loved your post! Today was the first time I ever read your blog (thanks to dearbaby) and I'm in love!!! I've been reading blogs for a long time now and have a few that I follow daily (including dearbaby) but nothing I have read seemed so familiar and dear to my heart! You see I'm Armenian, born and raised there and even had the luck to visit Iran in my teens. Reading your post I almost wanted to shout "She knows exactly what's in my heart!!" I just had a baby boy too, he's five months now! And my whole family is away in Armenia while me and my husband are trying to raise our baby completely alone! It takes a village...but sometimes a couple will do!
I'm officially hooked, can't go a day without your blog now!
Love,
Veronika

Anonymous said...

my ex husband took my son from me when we split up. he won full custody when my son was a baby. i was seeing him every other weekend now every saturday. i thought seeing him every week would be good but he is almost 8 and it's like we aren't close anymore. i don't know what happened. but he will say things to me like he didn't want to come that day and stuff. it breaks my heart. i don't know if his dad is telling him things or what. but i only see him a few hours on saturdays.. sometimes i get to go to his games. he lives an hour and a half away. any tips for something like this? his dad has a lot of money had had a great lawyer when he won and i didnt have anything. my son used to cry when he was younger and had to leave but now he don't mind. and he always has smart things to say to me. it's like i am not good enough or have enough. what do i do??

Rommel Peter Fernandes said...

The baby looks very cute.
Goa cottages

astr!d said...

shes looking super cute!!! and i just adore your beautiful stories about your family. my family is not that close, but im trying to change that with my kids and i!!!

kelsey c. said...

just found your blog. your daughter is a beauty.

Notes from Holly St. said...

oh, so beautiful! thank you for that intimate peek into your past and present. Elodie seems like she is in perfect hands...

hannah queen | honey & jam said...

can i just tell you that i absolutely adore your blog? each time i visit i'm blown away by your beautiful writing & photos.

-Jo* said...

What kind of baby wrap is that?

didi said...

beautiful as usual, Aura.
i heard about Oklahoma on the news. hope you and your beautiful family are just fine..

Taylor said...

Such beautiful story telling and the photos just bring it all to life! Keeping you and your family in my thoughts during this time of year and all the crazy tornados. Be safe...and always happy!

Anonymous said...

Curious as to what you and your husband have planned as far as moving out of state, now that Ms Elodie is here? I'm sure it will be a gut-wrenching decision either way. Thanks for sharing your beautiful life with the world. - Miss J

Lucy said...

The first word that comes to mind when I look at your blog, which I discovered today, is SWEET. Your childhood and grandparents and old pictures and absolutely darling daughter. All of it is sweet. Blessed to have discovered you today!

Penny_Lane said...

I've just discovered your blog several days ago on Dear Baby. I'm willing to admit that I've read it all since then. You inspire me in more ways than I can describe. I hope you're loving life with your sweet family.

Kristin Ann said...

Your blog is so moving. I am so glad I found you!

Julia said...

You really have a gift for writing. Your story brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to write more as well.

Thank you for sharing.

Julia

Rambling Gypsy said...

A friend told me she follows this amazing blog. Curious, I decided to come and see what she was raving about. Reading through your post brought me to tears, as I also have children and it has taken a village to raise them. I am starting law school in OKC this fall and I am currently pregnant with my third child. I have questioned repeatedly if I am doing the right thing, but then I look around, and I know that the support system I've had for my other two children, will once again be there for this one. Your blog amazed me. I'm glad my friend told me about it. BTW, your pictures are stunning.

Chelsea said...

this is an incredible post. you have a way with words, dear mama.

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

this gave me chills. and brought a tear to my eye

Pink Bayou said...

Oh, how I wish I could sit for an afternoon with your grandparents and listen to the stories they must have! Lovely, lovely post!