Florida greeted us with a week of promised rain showers and no beach days. We were stressed by the disruption and cabin fever. The next evening we went to the beach. My daughter reached for my hand and then asked me if I had felt nervous when I had started preschool. I had failed to see through my own stress that I had not given her the encouragement and time to open up. I was met by my own tide of emotion. Just maybe planning to do nothing is more significant than always planning to do something. And sometimes perhaps we need a tide to wash through to help us see that.Read More
Fellow Mommas, why do Mondays feel like Fridays sometimes? I had a vision of starting this week awake, rejuvenated, and ready to take it on. Supermom versus the world! However, when my eyes opened this morning, I felt as though I had not slept in days. The week ahead seems daunting. My body tense. The stress was already working its way through my muscle into my mind. We have all been there, probably more times than not. We carry on, check off items on our To Do List, juggle a work schedule, and take care of those we need to. Of course, we are happy to do so. I always feel fulfilled in doing such, but sometimes that demands more energy that we might have available within us.
Yet, when you hit that "wall" do you recognize it? Permit yourself to listen to your body and mind? Do you slow down to recharge?
In Portugal, for a small period, I found myself completely alone in the gardens surrounding Palacio da Pena. For a moment, I felt the compulsion to rush and catch up with my husband and daughter. But I stopped myself. I concentrated on taking deep breaths. To take in my surroundings completely. The silence. The air. The smell. The peace. The things that I would frequently miss in my everyday life.
I sat in the middle of the path, and I watched the fog roll in around me. It felt like an embrace. An acknowledgment of sorts from Mother Nature that self-care is essential. A lesson from Her to root yourself in the moment and realize that the energy of your environment can be healing if interpreted correctly. The acceptance that such moments are not selfish. That those moments are essential because I am taking better care of my family by taking better care of myself.
What do you when you hit your "wall"? Where do you find yourself most able to recharge?
Maybe you have already completed your holiday shopping, or perhaps you are a bit like me and are just finishing up as the countdown begins. The holidays are a time when families come together, create memories, and start new traditions. I have put together a last-minute gift list that will show your family how much the memories you have created together mean to you.Read More
What Do Your Holiday Cards Say About You? Order one of our beautiful, custom designs for your 2017 holiday cards and make an impression admist all the other cards your loved ones will be receiving this holiday session.Read More
This holiday season, give the gift of preservation with a gift certificate for family documentary photography with Photography by Jessica Leigh.Read More
Sunday changed me. It changed me in more ways than I probably can put into words. My soul changed. My body changed. My willpower changed. On Sunday, I ran the TCS New York Marathon. As I write this blog post, my body is aching, begging for fuel and attention. I am mentally and physically exhausted - close to how I felt after childbirth. And yet - similar to how I felt after birthing my daughter - I feel powerful and exhilarated.
When I run, I find the ability to concentrate on one thing only. I put my headphones on, tune out the world and all its noise, and focus on my body. Running has always been independent for me. I am a member of only the New York Road Runners, and I shy away from running clubs. Running isn't social for me; it is therapeutic.
On Sunday I was prepared, rested, and game for a hilly 26.2 miles through New York's five boroughs. I had my playlist synced to my step count. Every detail was meticulously planned out to put me over the finish line at around four hours. I knew I could do it. I was ready to do it no matter what mother nature threw at us runners that day.
The rain started just as the cannon went off for my wave. That didn't matter; I was prepared. Mile one through 14 I was steady and my energy high. And then the Queensboro Bridge happened. I did not anticipate how slippery the metal channels of the bridge would be. As I began the steep and long incline I stepped on one, and my right knee went right, and my leg went in the opposite direction. I heard a pop as I stumbled a bit, but never stopped. I knew if I looked down or acknowledged the pain the race would be over for me.
I made it all the way to the Willis Avenue Bridge before fatigue caught up to me and I could not tune out the pain. I began to slow down into a hobbling lope. I saw an end before the finish line, and it was crushing.
I looked to my left and saw a man struggling like me. I saw the pull of his hamstring and the pain on his face. He was as depleted and in as much pain as me. I pulled my headphones off for the first time during a run and said to him, "We need to do this together." I needed someone to support and encourage me, or I would have failed. My music wasn't enough anymore. My willpower wasn't enough anymore. I needed help. I needed someone other than myself. At that moment, I found my team in what I considered a solitary sport.
For those last few miles, we encouraged one another, pushed one another, and in the last 200 meters he grabbed my hand, and we ran. We ran faster than we had in those preceding miles together and finished the race, hand in hand, before collapsing over the finish line. And without my headphones on.
We thanked and embraced each other, and in a cluster of other finishers, emotions, and marathon volunteers we walked our separate ways to find our families. As someone hung a medal around my neck, and a poncho draped over my shoulders, I broke down. Yes, partly from exhaustion and my knee pain, but mostly because the realization of speaking about "Creating A Tribe Of Motherhood" isn't just in raising our children. We need a team to help raise ourselves. We need a team to show us what we are capable of achieving. And what is possible if we have the support and strength from those around us.
So thank you to the stranger that broadened my Tribe yesterday.
Marathon #1 accomplished!
In this blog, Jessica Leigh Photography discusses a new private Facebook group being set up for a Tribe of Motherhood to escape parent-shaming and find support and love.Read More
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.