Monday, September 13, 2010

Seeing Beyond the Imperfections

I used to hide from the camera.  In my teen years, I didn't want to remember what I looked like.  In fact, I still feel that way.  Like most teens, I was insecure--about my acne, my weight, my smile, and everything else.  My measuring stick were my sisters.  They were and are beautiful.  In my mind, I could not compete to my dark haired beauty counterparts.

The struggle continued into my marriage.  But, like the famous Mahana (Mormon joke), my husband's continuous praise helped me see beyond the physical impurities and recognize my great potential.

Acceptance of my body has come in different stages.  The most important, for me, was accepting my face by no longer avoiding the camera.

Over the past few months,  I have obsessed about including myself in photos.  Not because I have some sense of impending doom,  but because I want my kids to have photographic proof that I was at certain events and that we did have fun together.

(The one catch,  Ben is not allowed to photograph me.  How do I put this...the photos he takes of me are not the most attractive.  Hey,  I have my dignity to maintain.)

Since I am alone with my kids much of the day,  I photograph us with the old-school style of holding the camera out and taking face shots.  That's right, face shots.   My fear of looking at my blemished face has disappeared.  This is for my kids anyway.

[caption id="attachment_942" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My sweet angel, Andrew"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_941" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My gorgeous daughter, Emily"][/caption]

These kids? They make my life full.  Fuller than I could ever have imagined.

Since the miscarriage, I am often reminded to hold my two babies close. This is hard because the physical pain I am experiencing;  still, I hug and rock them constantly.

How can I possibly describe the indescribable?  My little Emily and Andrew are my life.  I say that unashamedly.  Sure I have myself outside of them, but right now that "self" seems so unnecessary.  Perhaps it was the miscarriages that helped me see my reality: Despite the challenges of being a mother, it is one of the best jobs I have and will ever hold.

I will also say, I am the best mother for them.  Yes I am.  No living person loves these two more than me.  Another person would not sing them personalized songs when they wake up from naps and in the morning or throw spontaneous dance parties when they wake up at midnight or miss them while they are sleeping.  I am their interpreter, teacher, cook, mediator, and, best of all, their mother.

In a short time they will be grown up.  The will no longer need me as much as now.  This doesn't make me sad, however, because I feel one of my greatest job responsibilities is raising them to be moral, industrious, conscientious adults. For now, though, they need me.  And I need them.

They see my face daily.  Not the face I crucially examine, but the perfect face of their beloved mother.

Just like I only see perfection in them.


  1. I RUN away from the camera. It's shameful. Why are we always so self-critical? Good for you for trying to focus on what's really important...raising sons and daughters who know that it's the inside that really matters most.

  2. Beautiful writing, Amber. I hope the physical pain goes away for you soon.

    I'm still praying for you and wishing I was closer to give you another hug.

  3. This is a beautiful post. I hate the camera and hide from it. My husband always takes terrible photos of me too. I hope you start to physically feel better soon.

  4. Gorgeous. Real. Honest. True. Lovely. Heartfelt. Amber, this post captures you. One of my very very favorites of your many many great ones. Your two babies are the luckiest.

  5. You could probably find maybe 10 pictures of me, from the time I was in jr. high, though college. But I've learned to embrace how I look. I'm not 120 pounds, and never will be, and I don't have perfect skin, but that's OK.

  6. You are so beautiful :)
    (and I fully agree, it's so important for us to be included in the photos!!! The kids will appreciate it later on! I wish I had more of me and my mother, as she lives far away I get sentimental sometimes and need a mama photo fix and they're just not there!)

  7. What a beautiful post! :) You are definitely an amazing mother, and your love for your children is evident in every word of your blog.
    I've really enjoyed getting to know you through your posts. You are a beautiful person.

    p.s. I hate the camera too, and have just realized that if I don't get over it, I won't have any pictures with my nieces, or my little cousins, or anyone to look back to in my old age :S

  8. Beautiful post and honest words. I can imagine your kids, when they are grown, reading this post and smiling big.

  9. I wish I had more pictures of my mother. Having lost her, it would help keep her real to my kids, one of which has never met her. Keeping the photos real are important! Imagine if you were always dolled-up, perfect looking. You kids would look back and think, "Hey, what was the occasion?" Gosh I hope that doesn't sound bad, but I never wear make-up and seldom do my hair so my kids know me like this. Anytime I've got make-up on, it's an occasion!

  10. I like your approach Amber, you are being so very strong right now, celebrating what you do have.

  11. This is an amazing post. So well said!
    I've been out of it lately, but thinking of you often. I am sorry. So sorry. I know that my miscarriage changed my view of my daughter, of motherhood. It was 2 1/2 years ago, and the wound is only now starting to feel less raw. Enjoy your babies. Rest. Grieve in the ways that you need to.

  12. I love this post, Amber. So beautiful. You are the perfect mother for them and I'm sure that you will end up the mother of the babies you are meant to be the mother of. The day of my final fertility procedure (the one that actually got me pregnant with my daughter!) I finally accepted that it would be what it would be. I grabbed my son out of his bed and I was just overcome with gratitude for having him. Sounds like you got there more quickly than I did.

  13. What a wonderful post! Truly touching!

  14. This is stunning, powerful, wonderful.

  15. You speak the truth lady! The sweet, wonderful truth. So well said.

  16. You are indeed the best mother for them.

    I'm like you too - these days, I try to get myself in the camera with my daughter, just in case...just in case... I don't really know but I want her to be able to see the me that I was. Not just the person who is standing in front of her then - if I'm lucky.

    And what is it with our men? My Guy is THE SAME WAY. He always takes the worst pictures of me. I'm often in the most compromising positions or have the worst expressions. Ugh.

    Glad you're enjoying the sunshine of your days after the darkness...

  17. Just beautiful, Amber. Your words, your truth, you... all beautiful. xo

  18. You are so are the only Mom and the most beautiful Mom to them.

  19. This post is so lovely. You are the beautiful mother of your beautiful children and I am so glad that you are recording that photographically for them!!

  20. You have really given me something to think about. I have thought of it often since first reading this (but have only now had time to comment).

    I am totally unphotogenic and have learned to be reluctant in front of the camera. I think this should change. I am who I am, no need to hide it.

    My friend does a whole series on getting out from behind the series. I will try to find it and send you a link. (I found it, it is a blog called Really Are You Serious- and the series is Mommy and Me Mondays)

  21. My husband takes the absolute worst photos. I imagine even Ben does a better job. But you're right -- my kids will treasure the documented, photographic proof that *I* was there, too. Always. Such a gift!

  22. I read this a while ago but just had to come back and comment.

    When I met you at the CBC, my first thought was how stinking cute you were, especially when you smile. It reaches your eyes.

    And then I had to squish the jealousy bug trying to bite me. I think you're gorgeous.

    And I'm truly not just saying that.


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