May 7, 2009

Life Is Just A Snapshot, Really.

It’s Mother’s Day this coming weekend and all across America mother’s will be receiving cards and flowers and Cracker Barrell lunches from kids that drove them up a wall only years earlier.

There's the mom who will receive a card from the kid that she seriously considered dropping off at the nearest fire station, hospital or place of worship on more than one occasion.

One mother will eat chocolates from the kid that she once told, “I am so tired of having to drive you to another basketball practice…ya know, no one will tell you this but you’re not even that good.”

And some mom, some where, will hug the very child that she once looked at and thought, “Oh crap, he looks just like my aunt Donna.”

Mother’s Day. It’s a precious thing.

I feel very blessed to have gotten my Mother’s Day gift a week early. The Attorney General couldn’t wait until Mother’s Day to give me the camera that I have been dddyyyyiinnnnggg to have for over a year now. He gave it to me with a sweet hug and the words, “Don’t make me regret this purchase. If you lose it, break it, curse it or get frustrated and throw it, I will have to kill you.” I think he means those sweet words. And as I crawled into my bed the other night, took it out of the box and began reading page 1 of the 300 page manual I thought of all the things I wanted to take pictures of this year.

I want to go to Remi’s preschool and take pictures of her little friends that we will be moving away from; they might be all she has to look back on. And someday I want to be able to say “This is Tobey Jones. You were in love with him when you were 3. He didn’t really care that much for you, but you certainly were persistent.”

I want to take a picture of my house. The house we built from the ground up and that we brought two brand new babies into. The house I love dearly. The house that when we pull up to it I always say, “Here we are: the most beautiful house in the world.” And now my daughter says it, too.

I want to take a picture of my Pastor. Because I love him dearly. Because he dedicated my babies, encouraged my spirit and talked me down from the ledge many a’ time.

I want to take a picture of the cows that are back behind our house and that stand in the stream on a hot day, every summer.

I want to take a picture of my dogs chasing after Remi every time she offers them a lick of her Popsicle and then changes her mind at the last second.

And I suppose it was there, in bed, that my mind wandered back to this weekend. Because as much as I want to celebrate my mom, all she means to me and the love I have for her, it is not really the mother’s that I think about the most this time each year.

You see, if I had been given this camera years ago there would be a different set of pictures I would have taken. None of them would have children in them, for there were no children to be seen. No, my pictures would look very different than they do now…oh, but they would be just as precious.

There would be a picture of the AG and I at our favorite Mexican restaurant which we frequented quite regularly back when we had nothing but time, time, time on our hands.

There would be pictures of the little Cape Cod house that we first lived in; with it’s tiny front porch and it’s gravel drive. And the ferns I hung up at the first of every spring and had killed at the first of every summer.

There would be a picture of the doctor’s office we went to every single week in our attempt to get pregnant - the nurses that held our hands - the doctor that didn’t.

There would be a picture of the two of us handing out Halloween candy to the little Britney Spears and Power Rangers that came to our door every year; and maybe even a shot of me crying, in hopes that the next year I might be dressing someone up as a bunny or a ladybug.

There would be a picture of me praying. There would be one of me reading Scripture. And there would be one of me crying. And then there would be one of me still not pregnant.

There would be one of me holding a positive stick, with tears in my eyes and a shocked look on my husbands face.

There would be one of us holding each other only seven weeks later.

There would be a picture of us walking hand in hand at the zoo the day we found out our transmission went out and we had no money to fix it and the zoo was the only place we could think of to go where no one could find us. And in the picture we would be laughing, because although we were broke, we were together.

There might even be a picture of our little Christmas tree that we stuck up every year even though there were only 3 or 4 gifts under it, tops. But we thought it was the most beautiful tree in the world.

There would be a picture of us picking out a headstone, two days after Christmas. And I would have to use a flash because everything about that day was so dark.

There would be a picture of us graduating college.

And pictures of us with friends on camping trips, at lake houses and playing cards at midnight on a Tuesday.

So on this Mother’s Day, let me ask you: What would your pictures be of?

Would they be of the life you’re living now? Or the life you want to be living? Would your pictures show you enjoying, relishing and feeling blessed in the life you’ve been given? Or would they show you crying, screaming and aching for the life you are yet to have?

You see, my lovelies, my heart doesn’t just go out to mom’s on Mother’s Day – but also to those whose desire to be a mom supersedes almost every thing in their life. But tonight as I was thinking – and praying – about what I wanted to say in this letter to you I was reminded of that camera. And how we have been given the gift of capturing a moment and living it to the fullest. The pictures you are taking today will most certainly not be the pictures you are taking tomorrow. The pictures you take today may be childless, they may be husbandless, they may be jobless, they may even be happy-less.

Oh, but tomorrow…

Tomorrow’s picture may be so full of children that there’s no room for you in the shot. It may be taken by a husband when only a year ago you were snapping pictures all by your lonesome. You may be taking pictures at a job you love and that you never saw coming. You may capture a happiness on your face that looks almost unrecognizable to you in the mirror.

I hope all of those things for you.

But until then, take pictures of where you are. Now. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Take pictures of the life you are living today – for whether you like it or not, it’s the only one you’ve got. And God gave it to you. If He knows the number of the dry, over-processed hairs you have on your head He most certainly knows the desires you hold in your heart. He’s never overlooked them. In fact, there in not one single day that goes by that He doesn’t intercede on your behalf to His Father. (But unfortunately this Father of His tends to know better than all of us put together, so we pretty much gotta hold out for this Guy.)

My lovely, you are right where God wants you to be. Maybe not where you would choose to be, but right where He would have you nonetheless. So please don’t hurt on this Mother’s Day. I can’t stand to think that you’re somewhere hurting; wishing for a life that is polar opposite from the one He so lovingly gave you.

Instead I hope you determine in your heart that this year you will take a picture of where you are now so that someday you, too, might be able to say, “I once stood where you stood, my friend. And I remember every sweet, heart breaking, inspired, beautiful, horrific, lonely, joyful, God-filled, treacherous, enchanting moment of it.”



Amber aka: AmBam, Amborghini, Ambular, BerBer, and Bambi said...

Thank you for was amazing :)

Sarah said...

This is beautiful! Last year, my pictures were filled with devastation after a pregnancy loss. This year, it will be a picture of my arms filled with my new daughter!
Your words spoke TRUTH to me, thank you for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!


southerninspiration said...

and all the while I was thinking that what you blogged about was hysterical comedy.......whoa, girl, I love your serious, heart felt, soul-touching words, too......golly gee, this touched me.


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. Thank you!!

Meg said...

That was a nice post.

Mother's Day is just like any other day for me. Nothing special about it this year.

But I like the message of the post. Even if my life sucks it is still my life.

Candice said...

How is it that you always know just what to say... Thank you Melissa, with all my heart.

Jenny said...

Very well said my friend. Thank you for your words of encouragement the other day. They are always priceless to me.

natalie said...

Thank you so much for this post! The truth has brought me to tears.

Happy early Mother's day to you :)

Desha said...

Loved this. I too, have spent way to much time in the past wishing for what I now hold in my arms. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy where God has us at this moment. We only have this one life to live to the fullest.

Lynda said...

What a beautiful post. As someone who has only been a mom for 3 years and whose child is 17 (we adopted our daughter out of foster care when she was 14)...I can relate more than you can know.

Instead of "cheese," we say, "Fuzzy pickles!"

Anonymous said...

laugh, cry, laugh, cry. that's what this entry made me do. i'm sitting at the library with my oldest daughter (19). usually i am at the library by myself while my son is in his young 5s class for three hours, monday through friday. long story short, god finally let me be a true stay-at-home mom. and i JUST bought a camera last week. and IIIII went to bed, pulled it out of its box and read from pages 1-300! thank you for my morning laugh, cry, laugh, cry. my daughter looked at me and whispered, "i can't believe you're crying at the library". fyi: i wasn't sobbing, just tearing up. god bless your precious heart! i have printed today's entry from your blog to put in my new *in the works* inspiration binder!


Marci said...

ohhh...sigh...beautiful. thank you for sharing what's in your heart with the rest of us.

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Wow. This is so precious. Thank you. And happy mother's day.


Sissy said...

That was a wonderfully written post, Melissa. I am sad you are moving away from this side of the country, but I know Texas is calling you home.

Rhonda said...

That was incredible.

Pictures this mother's day will be the ones from the wedding I will be doing! Most of the time, my pictures are of strangers. I get so tired of snapping and seeing life through the eye piece of my camera, that I don't use it on my own family. Sad, I know.

Happy Mother's Day, my friend.

Tyanne said...

Happy Mother's Day to you as well. My previous pictures would be of me in makeup with actual styled hair and clothes other than my pajamas, but not near as happy as walking around with food, cheerios, milk stuck to the most random places and greasy hair from who knows when my last shower was! Thanks for the great post.

Kim @ Manning Family Tree said...

That was beautiful & so true. Thanks!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post.

One day you make me laugh hysterically, and the next I'm all teary-eyed trying to read without crying all over myself.

LOVE your blog!!


Teri from Indiana said...

Thank you for reminding me that I am where God wants me to be. I don't understand it but hey, it's okay, He's God and He knows what He's doing. I'll count my blessings, explain for the 100th time today why I blocked Hannah Montana to my 7 year old and be thankful. My ears may hurt from the whine that is sure to come but I'm still thankful.

Teri from Indiana said...

Thank you for reminding me that I am where God wants me to be. I don't understand it but hey, it's okay, He's God and He knows what He's doing. I'll count my blessings, explain for the 100th time today why I blocked Hannah Montana to my 7 year old and be thankful. My ears may hurt from the whine that is sure to come but I'm still thankful.

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL......your best one yet.

Tonya Dodd

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm so moved by this post.

Maria said...

Girl, I needed a tissue warning on this one today! I also was laugh.cry.laugh.cry...I so needed this post today. My mom is no longer living and I am longing to be a mom, so I was kinda in the dumps about this weekend. No mom, no child, what's to celebrate? Again, thank you for sharing this, it spoke to me on so many levels.

Instead of wishing for different circumstances, I will pull out pictures from the past and remember my wonderful mom & honor her memory. I will also trust that the Lord has my best interests in mind and lift my eyes to Him. Thanks Melissa! ~Maria

Anna See said...

such a beautiful, meaningful post. thank you so much!

Givinya De Elba said...

A lovely post about the pictures you would take. It was beautiful.

But soon my dear, you'll have to do a post with actual pictures! Show us pictures from The Life Of Stretch Marks In 2009.

We're looking forward to seeing them :)

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Wow. Touching, beautiful, raw and oh so real.

Beautiful post. It will stay with me.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog every week, and I haven't commented before.

I truly needed to hear those words this morning. Thank you very much for your heartfelt thoughts and godly perspective. It's often difficult to remember what God's plan is for me when I'm single and all of my friends are getting married and having babies one and two... But this was good for me. Very good.


Carrie said...

Okay, I am bawling now!!! I'm expecting my 2nd in oldest will only be 2...and I've been so focused on how nervous I am nervous to have two kids & I don't know if I'll be able to keep up...and yeah, this was just what I needed. I have some friends who are in the exact places you mentioned, begging God for a child - thanks for the reminder to cherish every day no matter where God has placed us for now. Beautiful post!

LT (and Max) said...

beautiful. thanks for sharing.

Terezia said...

Girl, you have got to stay out of my prayers! This is what I've been asking God for lately...comfort and peace with who I am and where my life is. You just said it way better than I ever could. And made me cry as well! Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Leighann said...

Thanks for the reminder. I was just thinking today about when life was simple...

Pamela Johnson said...

I love you, my friend!

Shell & Mike said...

God Bless you and yours. Thank you for the encouragement.

Roxanne said...

wow-so true. that was beautifully and perfectly said. kudos!

martha said...

Preach it, sister!

I think that's what Jesus would have said to us today. Actually, I think Jesus DID say that to us today - through you.

Mommy Cracked said...

Your words never cease to amaze me and touch my heart in ways I can't explain. You've given me much to think about...and write about. Happy Mother's Day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. You see, I am one of those who is hurting this Mother's Day. I've been crying off and on all day and really needed these words of encouragement. And they mean so much more to me knowing they came from someone who has been where I am. So thank you. Thank you for allowing God to use you and your experiences to glorify Him.

Have a happy and blessed Mother's Day!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Bravo Bravo on such an inspiring post.......God is so thrilled to use you as a vessel to preach His Good News!