five things, september 28 edition


1. I think I'm still thinking a lot about the difference between busy and fulfilled. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but people, I'm too tired and busy to go find the original post. I don't feel good about that. I have some posts swirling in my head about raising busy kids (and busy parents) and what kind of life I know I want to lead, and I hope to get to them in the coming weeks, but right now this picture of an unmade bed will have to serve as a reminder to slow down and get lazy. That it's okay to do so. We're feeling over scheduled right now, and I know that's not right for my family. I'm trying to right the ship. Wish me luck, 'kay?

2. I think I had just the best time at coffee with my friend Liz yesterday. It was such a treat to catch up with a fellow photographer and blogger, even if we both felt we could have spent more time talking about both! Meeting up with her, and sitting down face to face, reminds me how important it is to do that and spend time with people who love the things I love. Happy birthday, girl. I'm hoping we can do it more often.

3. I think great progress continues to be made on the bathroom, and our "guy" has become so comfortable with coming over here to work that he just walks right in. Fortunately we've been out of our jammies and fully clothed every time. I owe you all a blog post on the progress, and I'd better hurry up because it'll be done before we know it. I know. Famous last words. Our rate limiting step right now is picking the paint color. Stumps us every time.

4. I think I'll take a quick moment to say a little something about the amazing birth I was able to witness earlier this week. Really, it's not my story to tell. In answer to some of your questions, we took the pregnancy photos on September 11 so Charles came almost two weeks later! Bruiser! A long long time ago, when we lived in California, I worked as a doula (labor support) for a spell. It is some of the most meaningful and rewarding work a person can do. I found Callum's birth to be such an enriching and amazing experience that I relished the opportunity to travel that journey with other couples. I taught childbirth classes and provided labor support for a number of years before we moved here to Virginia. For various reasons, the work didn't translate here. Partly, the climate is different in Virginia (duh), and partly my family life changed, making it harder for me to be on call for clients. I absolutely loved teaching (and hope to find a way to teach something again someday), but being on call: not so much. :)

All that being said, it is such an amazing and tremendous pleasure to be able to "come out of retirement" as I like to call it for my dear friends here who are having babies. I can not describe to you what joy that brings me. Three times now, I have stood here by the side of women I love dearly, buoyed by their trust in me, and I witnessed their great strength as they brought their babies into the world. Sometimes I think I must be one of the luckiest women alive! You feel a special connection working with a couple who are clients. You feel infused with love when you are helping dear friends. And seeing your friend dig deep and find a strength that even she didn't know she had? Well, that's pretty special. My friend Rebecca, like my friend Catherine before her, was a flipping rockstar. I am in awe of her. Seriously, I have no words.

The midwifery center here is pretty stellar. The midwife who attended this birth was pretty stellar too. While I was focused on my friends, you really put yourselves in your caretakers' hands. And she was phenomenal. A little gruff on the exterior maybe, still she kept flashing me the biggest smiles. We both knew how well, and quickly, things were going. After everything was over, she surprised me by saying, "Can I have a hug?" And then she really surprised me by saying that I was an awesome doula, that she was jotting down and taking notes on things I did and said throughout the birth. As if I wasn't on cloud nine already. That comment had me beaming with pride. I haven't really practiced in almost ten years, but sometimes love is enough.

There's another reason why I can't really do this for a living (although don't think I didn't explore the midwifery route a long, long time ago, and don't think a tiny part of me doesn't think about birth photography...just a little, now). Attending births takes it out of me. Again, even when I was there just for a client, the emotional and physical toll a birth took on me could take days to recover from. It's not a bad thing necessarily; I just needed to be better able to distance myself from it to do it long term. Add to that the fact you really love the people you're helping, that you're weeping as that baby emerges into the world, well, I get a little fragile after. But that's just me. For these guys, though? Again and again and again and again. Well. You get the picture.

5. I think I'm not at all ashamed to say that I'm so happy Cal is not running in the meet in Richmond this weekend. It's an hour and a half a way. Neel's spent at least five hours in the car for the last three weekends, and we're d-u-n. Done. Everybody around here is worn out. So this is a weekend to rest and recoup some of the energy we all know we have. I'm putting a moratorium on sleepovers and late nights. Movies and snuggles. That's all we got. The downside is that I don't get to go to Can Can, which is where I'd take Erin if she were here. I can steam my own mussels. What are you guys up to this weekend? If the bathroom guys weren't coming, I'd be in my jammies the whole time, but sadly, that's not gonna happen. A girl can dream.