This song reminds me of you….

10175063_793742077349631_3317996618424081003_nI enjoy the quiet. Very much. When I was a younger person, I’d spent some time in a hospital that was supposed to help me. Mostly it taught me the value of quiet. It taught me to love the misfit. I remember walking back into my house for the first time and distinctly realizing, it would never be that quiet again. Now, I have five children. Four of them boys. It’s almost never quiet and my brain almost never rests. I fill it with music hoping that the loud won’t push me over. It does until it reminds me of something. Like my brother who took his life this November or my friend, who was my Santa, who died far too soon. It reminds me of things I can’t talk about and things I don’t want to talk about anymore.

Kevin, my brother, lost his fight November 12th. He and I had just really sort of rekindled a relationship in the last couple years and only online. He was born after my parents divorced and is my half-brother. I’d only known him briefly as a child although I remember both he and my brother, Sam, fondly and often. I still can clearly see their little faces running through the house or car track. But Nyle, our father, built a wall between us. One I didn’t realize was there until many, many years later. I often think about what might have been, had he not bought all those bricks.

Kevin sort of looked like Matthew. He wrote like he was mature beyond his years. He drew lovely things and loved his children fiercely. And his wife. He loved her so very, very much. He loves her now and always. I like to think he loved me too. He wanted a family. He wanted Matthew and I in it.

He messaged me the Tuesday before we lost him. I didn’t make time to message him back. Gotta go and vote; I cannot make myself talk on the phone tonight. And then, I just forgot in the craziness of the election. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for that. It will be very hard to let go of that regret.

I think about him every day. I check his wall. Check in on his wife. His mother. Hindsight makes me wish I’d of done it before now. Instead, I look in on a life that I honestly didn’t know anything about. It’s a too late moment; every single day. The too lates about kill me. I see Batman, too late. I stumbled on photos, too late. Timehop mornings, too late. It’s one of those lessons you hear but don’t know until it really is too late.

I pray he’s with God now. Without pain, happy. That he can hear my “I’m sorry” and watch down on his family. I am sure what I feel doesn’t even touch the surface of how his wife, his mother, his children feel. He was my brother. He is my brother.

Rest in peace, Kevin.

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Getting in the picture

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I won’t even tell you how many photos my computer holds. Albeit the most current years have fewer. I seem to take fewer. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten better or if it’s because I haven’t the same interest I used to. Regardless, there are a lot. I have well documented all the parts of my family that I love. Each child. Each home. Each milestone. I have a photo of it. What I don’t have is any photos of me. There are simply just none.

I admit, I am camera-shy but I am regretting, incredibly, that there are no photos with my newborns and I don’t have anything to remember the walks and the crafts and the holidays that I was a part of. It sometimes feels as if I was never there. And that’s not the best feeling.

Photography. Sometimes I miss it. I never totally closed the doors on my business. I keep it “open” for my beloved annual preschool shoots and the few holiday session I do. I take a few families here and there. I miss talking to the people. I miss the connections. I miss that stuff but I am terrible at business and I was failing miserably at it. I think for the most part my clients love their photos but I can’t help but worry that I ruined their memories.

I’ve been looking for a personal photographer. I have contacted several people who either don’t have the time to fit us in their schedule or charge extra for more than 5 people. Absurd. My family is 7. It seems crazy to charge more for people who actually live in my house. It’s not as if we’ll break off into family units. We are a family unit. Just one. Needless to say, I’ve chosen not to book that person.

But looking for a photographer is hard. I have a limited budget. Not because I don’t value photography, I do but because I am a family of 7 on a limited budget and I want the very best I can afford without having to sell a child. And I am nervous that I am going to have photographer’s eye and miss that it’s my beautiful family and only see the pink panty and posing flaws of my last family sitting (which mind you was before Dixon was born).

It’s a lesson in letting go. It’s hard to let go of what I have in my head. I want my photos to look how I feel. Which is probably hard to capture when you subject has resting bitch face.

I probably should just pray for the photographer now.

If I ever find one.

Mom’s ought to be in the photos, right? I gotta make this happen.

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Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

On being beautiful

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I got married in a nearly black dress. I’d picked it from a clearance rack at a mall somewhere in Colorado mostly because it was almost black, covered my legs and was big enough to keep my enormous breast at bay. I didn’t feel beautiful in it and I certainly wasn’t a beautiful, white-clad bride. It made this funny swishing sounds when I walked and cost far less than the dress I’d purchased for Devlynn to wear that day. I’d taken great care and consideration in what she’d wear. I’d tossed my appearance to the wind. By the time I got married, I had already embedded in my head I wasn’t pretty enough to be a beautiful bride. I wasn’t beautiful enough for much of anything.

As a little girl I got mocked for being fat. It didn’t help that I’d already begun breast development by 5th grade and I remember getting my first bras around 3rd or 4th, but my dates could be off. I’m apple-shaped. My middle far exceeds my legs width. I had a round/square head and simple features. Short, mousey hair and bucky toothed smile. Boys didn’t like me. Girls didn’t like me. And I was “ugly” from right about 3rd grade on.

I started dressing more like a boy than a girl in middle school. I wore button up shirts to hide my boobs and tried to paint my eyes as dark as I could in hopes it would make look less like the mouse I’d created in my head. I wore a dress to the occasional dance but I’d never turned a head and no one ever stood there beside me telling me I was beautiful. In fact the two of the three dances I’d attended in my youth, I shopped alone. I don’t think there is a photo of the only homecoming I attended and only a memory of my best friends ROTC ball.

I stopped letting people take photos of me in my 20s. There are only a  handful of scattered photos of me and my babies. I can’t recall a single photo of me pregnant with Devlynn or Davis. And when we welcomed Davis into our family, I’m not sure there is paper proof I was even there. I’m basically erased from the photographic history of my family. I like to think it’s mostly because I am the photographer but I know it’s because I have excluded myself for so long, that everyone stopped trying to include me in the shot. I often wonder if anyone has ever thought of it.

That’s what happens when you don’t feel beautiful.

I’m now in my middle thirties. Maybe closer to late thirties and I have put on a staggering 45 pounds since getting married. There are no full length mirrors in our home, well at least not on the main floor. And I don’t bother with new clothes anymore, until the holes aren’t hideable anymore… because I know they’re nothing more than ill-fitting coverings to a body full of shame. I learned to contour and cover a face of estrogen spots and I wear the same, beaten gray sweater that covers my middle and I hope disguises the lump I feel like I have become. And despite doing everything I have read you should be doing, I gained 3 pounds after a month of charting food, walking every day and being really cautious about what I was taking into my body.

Not beautiful.

When I found out Devlynn was a girl I prayed she’d be beautiful and thin and very, very smart. And she is. Beautiful inside and out. It’s a lovely miracle I have in her. And I suppose she sees how awful I feel about myself even though I try very hard to keep it from her. I cannot imagine being a teenager these days. I think there has to be so much pressure to be physically beautiful. It’s not even beautiful anymore, it’s sexy and skinny and perfect. It makes me hyper aware of what she is eating and how she’s acting. I feel fortunate that I don’t see signs in her of self hate. I feel like she knows who she is and loves herself. Even though I know most teenagers, especially girls, have a bit of “yuck” in them.

7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends.

– Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund

How do I save my daughter from this? Am I doing a good enough job with her? Self esteem is a brutal thing. And I don’t know how, once it’s crushed, to uncrush it. I worry constantly that my child hides it from me. I worry she’s feels terrible and feels like she can’t talk to me. And I want her to know she is and always has been and always will be, good enough. I never ever want her to feel the weight of worthlessness. I never want her to feel not good enough to be a part of her family’s history.

I worry for my sons too. I think there is an unspoken pressure in being the most handsome or the most physically fit. Davis is a tween. Going over and around the lumps and bumps of the funny ages of 10, 11 and 12. He’s got friends on all spectrums of development. I can see which ones will and which won’t take their shirts off the play basketball. Beauty doesn’t fall short at our son’s either. They feel it too. And I hope and pray that he and the other boys can successfully wade through the murk of it.

I hope they always know how beautiful they are, inside and out.

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Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.