Living With Imperfection & Lots of Love
I had a rough decade in my 20s. I lost a few people I love and made some tough decisions. I still can’t let go of the losses, most particularly my grandfather passing when I was 21,but I took the tough decisions and learned from them. The best thing I learned was to truly love and to take chances. This led me to my husband. We married when I was 29 in a very simple ceremony in my parent’s backyard. I didn’t want a wedding, I just wanted a true blue marriage. And that is what I got. A month before I turned 30, I found out that we were pregnant with our daughter.
The nine months of pregnancy were speckled with drama, but for the most part it was easy and I was rewarded with a beautiful baby girl. Love cannot even describe the feeling when I first held her… exhaustion from labor and an emergency cesarean was more like it. She was so tiny and helpless. I was, and still am completely enamored with both my husband and my daughter, even though she is a crazy toddler who constantly runs into things and has a array of bruising, cuts, and scraps all over her adventurous little body.
The best part about having my own family is being able to make the decisions that are best for us. In my 20s, I worried so much about what other people thought that I lived my life in a pantomime of others ideas. After I had my daughter, I honestly stopped caring… I take that back, after I got pregnant I stopped caring. I didn’t want any undue stress to befall this little baby that I was in charge of growing. I wanted Emma to grow up brave, crazy, and self assured. So, I had to start being all of those things.
After I had Emma, I ran a half marathon. Crazy because I hadn’t run any further from the couch to the fridge beforehand. She didn’t seem impressed, but at 7 months old, I couldn’t expect much. She was more annoyed that her next meal was running 13. 1 miles. I’ve also branched out in my eating. I cook often, and fail often. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I keep plugging away in hopes of one day passing down some of my favorite recipes to her. She is my biggest critic, and I love sharing these things with her. Even when she spits out the food and wipes off her tongue. I want her to grow up with a healthy love of food, not the thoughts that she CANNOT have certain things. Everything in moderation.
My daughter has taught me what it means to love unconditionally and be brave. Some days are wonderful, a fairy tale. Others are a teething nightmare exacerbated with no naps. Those days taught me to let go, because as long as everyone was fed and healthy, I had done my job. I’m still learning as a mother, and I probably will always, but I am grateful for the lessons of my twenties. They taught me that perfection isn’t reality, but happiness in one’s imperfection is. My #1 job is to provide a good example for my daughter and to be her biggest champion, even when she wants to dump watercolor paints all over her head or feed her boogers to our dog.
Elizabeth Schley is a mother of one crazy adventurous toddler, wife to one amazingly patient husband and pet parent to Kobe, the raddest yellow lab this side of the Mississippi. She teaches the 8th grade and hopes to be a writer when she grows up. Follow her adventures in motherhood, wifehood, and the shenanigans in between at http://azschley.blogspot.com. Follow Elizabeth on Pinterest and Twitter.