Real

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day.

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– From The Velveteen Rabbit

***What I Learned from Live Blogging***

  • What a minute-by-minute job motherhood is. I was floored when I went back and looked at the timestamp on each of the hundreds of photos I took. I couldn’t believe that what I’d assumed took placed within about a ten minute span of time actually only occurred between a space of two or three minutes. I was stunned that I literally shifted from task to task to task (actually accomplishing each task!) within a matter of minutes. It was eye-opening and exhausting.
  • On a similar note, I learned that I’ve grown accustomed to five minutes of “undisturbed” time feeling like a luxury.
  • That Live Blogging (in photos) was time consuming, anxiety-ridden, and immensely fun all rolled into one big event. The hardest part was carving out time to go through the routine of saving the photos on the computer, choosing which ones to upload, editing them in Photoshop, uploading them to Slide, adding captions and effects in Slide, and then uploading the slideshow to my blog. This took a lot of work and I am shocked that I actually accomplished it (or that my kids let me accomplish it).
  • When I had the idea I’d participate in Live Blogging I’d wondered if I’d make different choices or do things differently than I normally would. In the end, I found the answer was…not really. I admit that I was proud that I didn’t go through any extra efforts to get “made up” or to clean my home more than I usually would. Except for spending more time trying to upload, edit, etc most of my day went as any typical day did (I would have probably napped if I hadn’t felt pressed to get all the technical stuff done). I didn’t have to “look’ for anything to photograph. I just choose the normal, mundane, and beautiful parts of my everyday life. What you saw was the real, gritty, down-n-dirty mamahood of me. It was freeing.
  • Until that day I’d never kept track (even loosely) of how many diapers I changed or how often Indi nursed or napped.
  • Trying to capture toddler life “in focus” is quite difficult.
  • Running errands – and experiencing life in general – is much more exciting when you have a camera in hand. It was addictive.
  • One thing I did realize is that I don’t spend enough intentional and personal time with Kaia. It really took photos to make me realize this. I saw her playing alone in so many of them. While she truly, truly seems to enjoy doing this, it still made me sad. And yet, I know most of this is due to having a newborn; one that is either constantly nursing or being held in arms. On the flip side, I also know that when Indi is out of arms, I spend most of my own time blogging. This realization led me to being much more interactive with her today. I hope that continues.
  • The most surprising part? How humbling and grateful the experience made me. I found that as I captured photos throughout the day, the little things that would normally stress me out became funny and ironic. Usually, my dog devouring an entire crap-filled diaper could have potentially ruined my day. Instead, I immediately grabbed my camera and laughed at the prospect of capturing the memory. I threw the half-eaten diaper away and with it I threw out my anxiety. Seeing my day replayed in photo made even the temper tantrums and messes seem so insignificant compared to the smiling faces I saw starting back at me in the majority of the photos.
  • That I look chubbier, more unkempt, wearier, older, and sillier than I ever imagined. Through the lens, I became REAL.
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5 thoughts on “Real

  1. Cool reflections on the process…I especially related to your struggle with the toddler/computer attention. I don’t have a newborn on the boob (although I do have a 20 month old there still) but I still think I spend way too much time on my computer. My goal for the fall (once life gets back into the swing of things) is to try and be on the computer when he is not around. This is easier for me than you because he goes to a babysitter sometimes. So, in some ways, it all works out. Kaia plays by herself sometimes and you get your down time…Felix goes to the babysitter sometimes and I get my down time.

    They are learning independence right?

    My husband is chanting “internet addict” in my head. Ahhhh!

  2. Hey Mama!
    I know I’ve been gone forever, but I have been keeping up with you! Kudos for having the energy for the live blogging! I really enjoyed watching it and seeing what we have in common. But I can’t imagine how hard it was, and I only have one babe!

    I am sticking with my original blog http://bastiansmama.blogspot.com/
    and have been updating it now that my husband made it pretty for me and Sebastian is taking naps again (finally!), so I have a bit more time!
    Your little Indigo looks just like Kaia! I know you know this of course, but I have been thinking it since little Indi joined you, so thought I would tell you. I always wonder if I ever get blessed enough to have another one and if its a boy, if he would look like Sebastian. I think that would be very cool. Well, just wanted to say hi and let you know I’m going to be a better blogger from now on! lol.
    Brightest Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    Kim

  3. Hi Leigh,

    I truly enjoyed your Live Blogging as well as your other posts, poetry and insights..I am seeing my life with ‘new eyes’. I have two sons about Kaia’s and Indi’s age-span; Kody is 2 1/2 and Kaiden is 5 months, and more or less I have lived your day, just not with as much appreciation of the little things lately..you have reminded me how precious each moment spent with my soul babies are, and that I am blessed to be here for them throughout the day. Thank you for your candor, humour and wisdom!!

    Karen

  4. Thank-you for sharing your realness with us.
    So often we assume it is the “big” things that hold interest and weight and importance. Not so.
    It was this collection of small and mundane moments you captured and then shared that had me hooked. There was poetry in those pictures.

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