Five days from now our baby will finish his last day of kindergarten. Oh. My. Holy. Word. For some reason, kindergarten doesn't really seem like elementary school. But first grade is undoubtedly school age. We will have two school age kids when I swear we were just spoon-feeding mashed sweet potatoes. Parenthood seems to require living in the dichotomy of holding on tight and letting go; of longing for the days when they are self sufficient and wishing you could go back to the days when they could do nothing without you. Our goal as parents is to raise self sufficient kids, and this unfortunately requires constantly letting go. Before I know it our kids will be graduating high school and will be as beautiful as Sydney and as prepared to take on the world as she is. So rather than longing for what was with our kids, we're looking forward to seeing what our kids will do, with gorgeous Sydney as an example of what wonderful things are to come.
Jon and I have two kids, Ellery (7) and Asher (5). They hate it when Jon takes their picture. Hate isn't even a strong enough word probably. They downright despise it. The picture of Ellery on the left was during a particularly painful photo shoot when all we needed was just one good picture for our Christmas cards. There was fighting, bribing, begging and very little smiling. And this was of course after the time it took to choose the perfect outfit and to try to tame all of that beautifully thick hair. We miraculously ended up with a few gorgeous shots for our Christmas card. We got so many compliments on it but all I can think of when I see those pictures was that painful morning in our backyard just trying to get that one shot.
The picture on the right is Ellery in her element. She's sitting at our dining room table playing with her baby elephant (her favorite stuffed animal since she was tiny). She's still in her PJs and she hasn't even brushed her hair. This picture to me reflects who she truly is. She is sweet, sensitive, compassionate and sometimes a bit spicy. This picture is beautiful.
The Christmas card photo is definitely instagram worthy, but is it an honest reflection of my girl? Not really to me. And while most will never know that, I do. Authenticity is so important and I want to teach my kids that. Each of us has different and important gifts and abilities, but not one is better than another's. We should be proud to reflect who we are - the complicated, the messy, the beautiful works in progress that we are. The number of social media likes we receive on our posts is not at all correlated to our value. Let's try our hardest to commit in 2018 to live in the freedom which comes in not comparing our perceived beauty or gifts to those of others but to live our life authentically, recognizing that each and every one of us is of equal value.