I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across the lovely Yuliya, who blogs over at She Suggests. Surely, I was introduced to her through someone on Twitter, because, well, where else would I have met her?
When I first visited her blog, I was swept away by her beautiful photography and her absolutely stunning baby girl. I loved the clean design of her blog and her straightforwardness.
As I got to know Yuliya better, I came to see that she is vibrant and strong, cheeky and spirited, kind and lovely.
I suspected that we were meant to be friends. Then, when I had the pleasure of having lunch with her, I was certain of it. Her magnetic personality immediately put me at ease, her wit delighted me, and our lunch passed far too quickly.
I am so thrilled to have Yuliya here on Small Moments Mondays. She’s such a beautiful fit.
Softened and Filtered — by Yuliya
When the email came from Nichole asking if I would participate in Small Moments Mondays, I was elated. I was honored. I was humbled. I was immediately panic stricken. I wrote to her and told her the truth, that she would very likely regret asking me to do this as it would require lots of coddling, hand holding, editing and more editing. My reputation for my offbeat brand of humor must have preceded me, so perhaps she thought I was joking. Four hundred and seventeen emails later, she realized too late that I was dead serious.
Here’s what I learned in struggling to capture the essence and the beauty that is Small Moments Mondays, I am not a small moments kind of person. When I was in the sixth grade I used to write out my goals for the school year- academic and extracurricular, yeah as far back as twelve I’ve been a big picture kind of person. I planned for motherhood the same way I planned out which college courses to take. My husband and I talked about the big picture kinds of things, the values we hoped to instill, the family dynamic we planned to create, even the first family vacation we might take!
After years of wishing and hoping and months of planning, I became a mom. And boy was it a rude awakening.
I’ll tell you a truth, an ugly truth, I was resentful.
I mean I was completely in love and everything but I had a baby that nursed more often than she slept and needed me, and only me, for months. The most I could do for myself was a daily shower, and even then she cried until I could hold her again. As she got older I hoped to carve out just a little time to myself, a moment to breathe, and so we had a constant push and pull, she had needs, I had needs and the two never seemed to sync up.
Until I stumbled upon my solution.
I noticed that each time I picked up my camera, my teeth unclenched, the team of people shouting out orders at me in my head quieted down (what? You don’t have those?) and I became fully absorbed in what was happening, in the moment.
I used my camera as my crutch, every time I felt frustrated that I couldn’t start dinner because she wouldn’t let me out of her sight, or I couldn’t veg out in front of the TV because she needed to nurse again, I would pick up my camera, and force myself to be present.
I would open the lens cover and offer myself up to the possibility of wonder.
I would focus on the frame and witness my baby discovering her world right in front of me.
I would zoom in on her ever changing face, and instead of saying “no” “don’t” and “stop it,” I would “click” “click” and “click” again.
This is how I discovered the zen of chasing a spoon across the kitchen floor,
the tao of licking the underside of the couch, crawling inside a grocery bag, and finding treasure amidst the table legs.
With it, I am super woman (huzzah!) effortlessly balancing the capturing of memories with the monotonous, monster task of mothering.
Without my camera, she is mischievous, curious, and an absolute impediment to running that tight ship I dreamed of.
With it…..she’s exactly the same, but softened, filtered, with a warm glow, and with this mama’s patience adjusted.
And at least this way I have an arsenal of embarrassing pictures to ease us through those teenager years. (Told you I think big picture!)
Now that you’ve had a taste of who Yuliya is, go visit her over at She Suggests and gaze at the photographic eye candy. So lovely. While you’re there, don’t miss the clever Perils of Parenting, the candid 365 ways to taunt a perfectionist, and the contemplative The Next Generation.