Thursday, March 29, 2012

Learning to swim.




It is the 29th of March, 2012.

Somehow it is both expected and hard to believe that one year ago, today, Elodie was born. Pink, screaming, child full of will and opinion.

In these life-changing moments, we begin to think, change...lay down the stepping stones that eventually lead to the growing paths we take in life. Ones that lead us to who we are, and will become.
I did not know that day, that my Spring morning would become the biggest stepping stone I would leap to. Still, it did, and after 12 hours of labor, with my baby on my chest, I realized that this might just be the most important thing I had ever done.

Born from a family of story-tellers, there was something different about this story. And for the few short months after she was born, I started to realize that telling our story here was not what felt right. Just minutes away from Elodie felt like stolen time, and so, I did the only thing I knew how to do so well when life changed paths - I jumped ship.


240 messages (I read every one), and months later, I found questions I did and did not have answers for. Little bits and pieces I would read before work, at night before bed....words that would leave me wondering what I was holding out for, anyway. Maybe, I thought, there would be this moment in time where it would be right to come back here and pick up where I left off. But as more time went on, the more I realized that my time here is over. Maybe this was just another piece of my story, but not one that needed to be completed to fulfill a message. Maybe I'm not right at all. Maybe, maybe, maybe I will never know anything at all.


Then I read, that sometimes when you jump ship, you learn to swim.


This has been a hard year. One full of challenges, sleepless nights (hello, my baby did not sleep through the night for the first time until she was 8 months old) tears and frustration. Empty checking accounts, baby bodily fluids in my hair, and times when we thought we just couldn't handle one more minute of screaming.
Instead of learning to swim, I have never sunk to the bottom and drowned so quickly in my entire life. When I thought I might just get my head above water for one second, the reality of our new life was enough to pull me back under again.
The depression, not recognizing myself, and Lord, that screaming, screaming child full of will and opinion.





Nobody said it was easy. Nobody had the heart to say it would be this hard.




And still.....still. I would do it over a thousand times for just one more moment in that first second I looked into her eyes, and just knew her. Screaming baby, sweet, precious child who means the entire world to me. She has taught me patience, unconditional love, and more about myself than I ever bargained for. Bad things, ugly things....things I pushed down so deep that I thought for sure nothing would be able to pull them up again. And here they are, on the surface, weighing me down like an anchor, but lifting my body weightless until it floats to the surface and over and over again I learn - that the opposite of learning to swim is learning to drown. And for her, I choose to swim.



For 12 months I have been present in every moment of Elodie's life. I put this blog aside because I wanted to learn what it was like to never worry what anyone else was thinking of us. In our pajamas in the middle of the day, sitting in a messy house. At the park, with our real smiles. Nobody there to capture it or see it...just little flashes to save for her, one day. For us, one day, when the little rolls of her legs begin to fade and her tiny feet grow to fit into little lady shoes. This is not a place for pictures of us in pretty clothes doing pretty things, eating pretty food. It was a place to share, open up, and hopefully give something to whoever was needing it.




I came here to say hello, goodbye again, thank you, and to let you know, friends, that today, the 29th of March, is the day my little baby girl finished one entire year of her life. What a sweet ride it has been. For every time I thought I would surely drown, there came a moment to once again fill my lungs with air and find the strength to swim again. That is a sweet, sweet kind of love. One that asks no questions, one that does not define boundaries. It just is.








Happy, happy, happiest birthday, to my little baby girl, and to me.

242 comments:

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Gina in S FL said...

Aura,
Fate has once again brought me to your blog. I had remembered you, your moving posts, but had even forgotten your name... until today when I clearly remembered it and had to check in on you. Last time, I commented that 'sometimes when we jump ship, we just may learn to swim.' That was my hope for you, such an elegant, eloquent, deserving mom: to find strength. The truth is, that as a dedicated mom, most days I'm just treading water! ;) And really, it is okay to just keep our heads above it.

I'm really impressed that so many have said they were just thinking of you and checked in and found your latest post. That connectedness is something truly special. It's a spiritual kind of thing. Anyway, glad to have reconnected. It takes courage to write about your life. It takes more courage to live it. You are doing a great job! -gina

Anonymous said...

Please come back...you are so missed...so so so missed...

Laura said...

I just checked in "just in case" and saw your update. Thank you so much, it was a much needed happy moment to my day. I hope you can come back when it feels right. Much love and luck to you and your family!

Breezy said...

Hi Aura, I started following your blog shortly before you stopped writing. I found a kindered spirit in you. Maybe its because I had a baby in Jan 2012 and was in the very same stage of motherhood as you. Your year sounded very much like mine. I too am coming out of a depression. Every once in a while I will type in your url to see if you have written anything. Thank you for the update : )

Laura Nelson said...

She is so big! I can't believe how fast she is growing up :) Love this post!

Rose Mel said...

I miss this blog .. the way you used to tell your life and let us enter in your lovely world of sweetness and challanges of life.
This was a gift: the art of telling and finding something beautiful in the middle of the difficulties of life. I write now here..now that there is a little bit of silence, no posts, no people that come here fast to read your wonderful posts. In this moment I want to thank you because this blog inspired me so much.. I remember the first time I arrived here and I said: Wow! This is great! This girl see the world with eyes similar to mine. I'm in Italy and you are in another part of the world, very far from here..but I found my way here; I found the right inspiration to open my blog and start to tell people my life with my hearth open. The blog has became the perfect place where I can express myself, the real me and my art. So..thank you very much.
I wish your family a wonderful life :)

Tasha said...

I randomly check in to see if you have posted an update...I was so excited to see a posting. Your little girl is so beautiful. I'm sorry to hear that you were having a hard time...it's a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs. Soon as you think you have it figured out...something changes and throws you for a loop. Your pictures and words are so inspiring. Always do what you feel is right in your heart. I hope to see you on here again.

Bullseye on Canvas said...

Hello there mama! I am seriously late for the birthday, in-fact Elodie is now 1yr and 3months old! It's strange. I took a nap today and woke up wondering for some strange reason, if you had gotten back on here! I've missed you! Tons! Wondered how motherhood has been on you and your husband, how the little beauty was doing.. so many questions! I'm so glad to see that all is well! She's gorgeous as ever, and I knew she would be! I can't wait to see her one day as a young lady! She's going to be an exact image of her mama! Love to you and your family, and happy LATE Birthday baby girl!

Fancy said...

I was very excited to see an update from you. Elodie is beautiful and growing so fast! I hope you'll update from time to time, although I'm sure you stay very busy. :) Best of luck to you and enjoy your summer! <3

Steph said...

Sweet.

I miss your blog.

borka gamero said...

Beautiful girl!
congrats!
Xo
Borka

http://chicfashionworld.blogspot.com/

Angela said...

Aura! I hadn't visited blogger in MONTHS and today I just happened to stop by my own blog upon considering resuscitating my own. And saw this update! What a happy coincidence. I love love love the honesty of this post and I am glad you are starting to feel up to writing again. Please keep us updated. <3

-Angela

designdiva727 said...

I just stumbled on your blog today while browsing maternity outfits on pinterest. Your pictures are great, what kind of camera do you use?

Anonymous said...

I realize you have a family now but I sure do miss your updates and seeing your beautiful face on here. I love your writing. You are a unique.

jesseleigh said...

so i am bit nervous to post a comment to you - not sure why exactly - but probably because i have followed your blog (haphazardly) for a long time, but never once commented. somehow i stumbled onto your myspace (don't remember how - maybe a mutual friend? i lived in norman from 2001-2004) a long long time ago and followed along for a bit there and later found your blog - i just wanted to post a note to you here that i love your writing and photography (really the combination of the two) and really truly see your blog differently than any other i've ever come across - like art not just a 'blog' - i don't even refer to it as a blog (to my husband!)) - i just wanted to say how much i've enjoyed it over the years and that i was drawn to it because your writing style is similar to my own and it has always been an encouragement to me (even though i don't blog or write publicly) and that your photography consistently inspires me. your blog just felt like it lined up to my own heart + life in a lot of ways, and i am sure that your honesty (and beautiful expression of it!) are what draws so many people. it is sad some of the negatives that accompany such an endeavor. so, i just wanted to say a belated (it's never too late right?) thank you for the inspiration and encouragement that i received from experiencing your art. it undoubtedly influences a little corner of the world/internet in a positive way! your daughter is beautiful and i hope this note finds you and your entire family well! -jesse

Mara @ Super Savings said...

I just happened upon your blog today looking for maternity outfit ideas. I *loved* the outfits you had in your "dressing the bump" post and came to the home page to see what else you post about.
As a owner of a blog myself and a mama, I can definitely understand so many of these feelings. It was beautifully written and your daughter is blessed to have you for a mama! (Oh, and your video is gorgeous! I wish I had one like this for my littles!)

~ Mara

Anonymous said...

¡Hola guapa!
Every now and then I come back to your blog and look at your wonderful pictures. It's like leafing through a good, old book - you instantly fell calm. I hope some day you will feel the same … and come back …
Besos, Jana

astr!d said...

oh please please please post more!!!!!!!!!! you are just so much of who i strive to be and you are such an inspiration! couldnt u squeeze a post in every now and then?!?! lol baby girl is a beauty!

rach. said...

she's beautiful, happy birthday to you both.


love, rach.
www.so--hi.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so in awe and so in love with you & your posts? They act like you are a freaking celebrity or something. I was just wondering how people get so popular online? Do you have to join a lot of communities or something?

Aislign said...

Every now and then I come back to your blog to see if you've written anything new... apparently I haven't been back since March! This was beautiful to read, and wonderful to see your daughter at a year! She's gorgeous! I sent your blog to my sis when she was pregnant, as you were both expecting at the same time, and she and I were both thrilled to see and hear your words. I'm not a mom yet, but I hope to have your grace and wisdom when I become one. Kudos! Much happiness to you all!

Anonymous said...

Hope you're in the clear from those wildfires. It must be so hot in OK this summer. Keep calm and garden on :)

Anonymous said...

For some reason, today was just one of those days where I really needed to read your words. Today is one of those days where I wish I could follow your lead and just..jump..ship.

Anonymous said...

Why keep up a blog that you never intend to come back to? What's the point? If your story here is over, why not just delete it? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your post and your thoughts. I miss your blog - your words and thoughts are always such an inspiration and it was great to read an update and see that you and your family are doing well. Elodie is growing up so fast. She is beautiful!

Don't Blink said...

There are many times I have checked in...I hope you are doing well :) Thank you for being real.

M. Eileen said...

So good to see your family is doing well. Your blog is a beautiful inspiration...your words make me long for motherhood :)

M

Anonymous said...

Aura, Please, please don't ever take this blog down. Miss you pictures & words. I hope you & your family are well.

amber@grace.to.be said...

just come every now and then for some aura inspiration!

you're missed here.

gina said...

I guess one could say your blog is like a classic book: sitting up on a shelf, but always there for readers to revisit in there own time when looking for inspiration. Don't take it down.

Anonymous said...

We are still here for you...

Anonymous said...

i think i saw your Grandfather this morning riding his bike on Boyd.
hope all is well with you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Aura-- How is Elodie? Grampa? Are you still in OK? Are you still adeventuring around in Petey? How was your garden this year? What happened with Bark & Leaves? How is life? Miss your pictures, words, family, basically everything......After all this time...you have left such an impression on so many people...i really just want to say we truly miss you so much & hope you are well.

Nicole said...

Ditto to everything said above. I've just found your blog in the last month and have gone through many of the archives. You have a beautiful way with words and take lovely pictures. I loved the post where your husband told you to show your life as an example of how to live simple. I think you're a great role model of what many people hope for in their own lives, I know I do. Your authenticity and honesty are, I think, what draws people to you. All of that is to say that this blog is inspirational and I, like many above have said, hope that you will leave it up for all of us to come back to when we need a reminder of how to live a simple, happy life.

Lots of love
Nicole

Joi said...

I needed this more than you will ever know. You have always inspired me with your words and images. I, too, birthed a strong-willed child this past summer and thought I was surely drowning and some days didn't want to wake up. I love your words: "Nobody said it was easy. Nobody had the heart to say it would be this hard." Wow. How powerful. I am saving this post to remind myself of the essence of everything you speak of. Thanks, again. I feel like I was meant to see this.

All the Little Bits said...

There is much to say, and it has already been said. I kept your blog in my favorites and periodically check back to see if there has been an update. Your post in March brought me such joy to see your little Elodie. She is beautiful. I will continue to check back. You are inspiring. Wishing you all the best.

Becky said...

Every now and then, I come to your blog and scroll through. It really is like rereading a good book, and for some reason I have so many emotions attached to it. Your writing is truly inspiring in every way, I do miss it, but I hope you and your family are happy and well. Come back every now and then, if you can. Peace and love to you and your family.

Journey of the Spirit said...

Aura Joon - I've missed you so much! Thank you for this beautiful update. This mommy gig is the hardest thing in the world...but like you, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Hang in there...it gets different. <3

Aimee said...

Aura,
I love your words. And good for you for doing what feels right for you and your family, to stay present in the moment, and just be. Wishing you and your family all the wonderful things life has to offer.
Aimee

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you often.
Hoping all is well.

xo- Ang

Anonymous said...

I'm bawling after reading this and watching your video. Maybe because I'm 18 weeks and extremely hormonal, or maybe because it just dawned on me, the change that I too will be going through soon. I looked at all your gorgeous bump-in-style pictures and loved them, and then when I saw you in the video with your hair thrown into a messy bun and your glasses on and wearing an easy dress (still gorgeous as ever btw), and swinging your child, both of you with huge smiles, I realized that there was a huge focus shift. (This was also stated explicitly by you in your post, lol, but the video really opened my eyes to it.) Right now I am just me, and my focus is on just me (and husband and friends and family- but I am the only one in my personal world.) When my child comes I will be living for two people. And that will be a different world, and a different life, and there is no turning back - not that I want to... But the chasm between the two is so real and visible to me now. Thank you for your video. I'm excited for my new (shared) life.

Aura said...

There is not enough time or thank you's to sit down and give the response that all of these comments deserve.
Friends, I am so thankful for the little community that seems to have gathered here. It is humbling to know that it is all from my photographs, and words.

I wanted to check in and let you all know that I have finally stopped making excuses and dived in to my career in photography. It is a new adventure for me, and it is scary and exciting at the same time. I wanted to leave a link here, to let you know that I have started a photo blog:


http://aurastuemky.com/blog/

If you would like to still follow along, I will be there. I haven't decided which direction that blog will grow. For now, I am comfortable leaving it less personal, without photos of Elodie, but I know that over time it will grow and change into whatever I need it to be.

Thank you for everything. Thank you, thank you, a million thank you's.



All my best,
Aura

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