July, oh July is an extremely special month. It’s the month my daughter came into this world. It’s the month I came into this world. It’s the month where I reflect on what the year has brought. What it means to be a mother, Orion’s mother at that. What it means to be a woman raising a young woman, a parent, a wife, a business owner, a friend, a lover, a sister, a daughter, a creator, an explorer, a family of three. It just keeps going.
What a special month this is. I so vividly remember this time last year. I was extremely pregnant. The full 40 weeks and then some. Dan took off work as my blood pressure started getting high with all the stress of not wanting to be induced. We walked. We went to the beach, every single day. We took naps. I wrote. I read. I anxiously awaited. I scared nearly every person I saw thinking I would give birth right then and there. That’s how large my belly had grown. The days had gone on and so too did the waiting. We thought she was coming June 27th. That passed. Then, July 2nd - our given due date. That passed. Then, I had some contractions on July 4th. Those stopped. That day passed. And so too did another five days. I really spent this time reflecting, living, loving and being as present as possible - which nearly felt impossible. Dan and I soaked up our time, the last days of it just being the two of us.
I remember a friend just reminding me over and over again to enjoy the time as it would never be just the two of us again. This, this was hard to understand at that point as all I wanted to do was meet this little soul that has been so beautifully growing in my womb. At this point, we had an induction date. July 11th, 2019. We lay in bed, July 1oth - running through our options. Induction, was not what I had wanted. Induction, just didn’t feel right. I wanted the babes to come, when she was ready. We went to bed that evening, extremely reluctant. A few hours after falling asleep, I was woken by a massive sensation - my water had broken. It was happening.
The details from my water breaking to the birth of Orion Terry Smith on July 11th, 2019 at 12:22PM weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 19 inches long after 24 hours of all natural labor can be read in detail throughout this blog post. Although that was the greatest day of my life, as it brought our daughter into this world, this, this reflection is for what this year has brought, what it has meant to be a mother, Orion’s mother at that, a woman raising a young woman, a parent, a family of three.
What has this year brought?
It has brought about more love than I knew possible.
It has brought about an understanding, a purpose, a confidence, a pain that can be felt with one single inhalation and one single exhalation.
It has brought about some of the hardest conversations and thoughts.
It has brought about some of the deepest self discovery.
It has brought about some of the greatest joys followed by the darkest pain.
It has brought about a euphoria, a bliss, a laughter that can move this earth.
It has brought about the creation of stronger boundaries, deeper conversations and asking for help beyond what I was previously comfortable with.
It has brought about a slowing down of time, a wholehearted presence and a clearness of what really matters.
It has brought about my obsessiveness for a clean house and sanitized hands.
It has brought about needing to make schedules, creating caveman-to-do lists and being reminded to still date and fall in love with my husband.
It has brought about bringing some friends so much closer, while others into a needed distance.
It has brought about this microscope of my unhealthy need to be perfect, to feel perfect to think perfection is a necessity and with this, realizing I want help, need help to work through this mental state.
It has brought about my deep trust in my intuition, in a mother's intuition.
It has brought about a deep trust and love in my husband, my mother, my friends and family who are the village surrounding my little family.
It has brought about so much play, so much music, so much dance, so much appreciation for the subtle things in life such as the beat of a drum, smelling a flower, discovering a new food.
It has brought about what it means to be human, fully human, living authentically, living rawly, living wholly, living with my heart outside of my body.
It has brought about this knowing, this knowing that unspoken communication can do more than words truly can in that Orion always finds a way to express her harness with very, very few words. It is beautiful, so beautiful.
It has brought about new questions, old awareness, new appreciations, old influences, new insecurities, old insecurities, new confidences, old destructive ways of living.
It has brought about me wanting to be the best possible woman, wife, human, mother that my soul is meant to be as I now have two young eyes watching my every move, two ears listening to my words, a heart beating as mine beats.
It has brought about a happiness, oh a happiness that truly gives my life more and more purpose each day.
It has brought about a love for kisses, for hugs, for cuddles, for creating so much space and time to soak up each moment that is her growth.
What does it mean to be a Mother, Orion’s Mother?
The above all.
Over and over again.
It means being in the moment.
It means smelling nearly every flower we walk by, every candle lit, every oil diffuser on, every food that has just been prepared.
It means turning anything into a musical instrument.
It means constant dance parties.
It means a lot of food, a whole lot of food.
It means being in nature, every single day - hikes up the back hill, walks in the park, toes in the sand at the beach, picnics in the shade, daily walks to the mailbox, playing on the balcony.
It means giggles, so many giggles.
It means getting excited the moment our eyes meet.
It means silly bath time routines where she runs through the house half naked and then crouching down so we can catch and tickle her, just for her to do it all over again, most likely again before getting in the bath.
It means sharing my water, my smoothies, pretty much anything I eat - it’s hers.
It means documenting her, each and every month.
It means adventuring with her throughout this beautiful world - in her first year of life, she traveled to Northern California, Missouri, Canada, Arizona and throughout Southern California.
It means showing her our greatest loves and creating space for her to digest them and make them her own.
It means slow mornings, very slow mornings with meditation music, reading books and drinking coffee (just mama - of course).
It means her saying hello to nearly every person we walk by and saying bye-bye while blowing a kiss to those very souls.
It means one very determined, strong-minded, extremely smart little lady.
It means to learn to have fun in the moment, to let go of routines and find the subtle joys.
It means trying things and succeeding and trying things and failing miserably.
It means remembering that Orion is her own person, I am my own person, her daddy is his own person and as a family, we bring our ownness into this fullness that is our family and have to do what works best for us.
It means a beautiful, intimate journey of being breastfed for her first year of life.
It means mommy and daddy fighting over who gets to get her up in the morning and after her naps - alongside continually expressing our own opinions on how to maneuver this thing called parenting.
It means love, so much love.
Orion Terry Smith,
I write this, just days away from your first birthday. My little girl - the soul who I so cautiously watched grow in my womb - who I so intentionally committed to safely bringing into the world - who I so humbly raise to the very best of my ability each and everyday, you have changed every part of my reality.
Each and every breath, I am beyond grateful you chose me to be your mom, you chose your dad to be your daddy and us as your family. You are everything I could have dreamed of and so much more and you are so you, so beautifully, uniquely, wholly you. For this, I am beyond grateful.
I pray that you continue to grow listening to the voice within, the pulse of your heart, the love that you're surrounded by, the expansiveness that is our world. I pray that you never forget how immensely supported, loved and honored you are. I pray that you remain kind, humble, open, educated, accepting, conscious, funny and connected to all that is around you. I pray that you always speak your voice, that you shine your light, that you acknowledge those who have guided you along the way and that your heart, your heart remains the guide. I pray that you grow in a home filled with so much love, so much understanding, so much joy, so much realness that it becomes your compass.
Thank you for being you. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for being my greatest teacher, my greatest guide, my greatest inspiration. I love you beyond what words could ever describe.
Thank you Alyssa Boynton Photography for these incredible portraits! We will forever be grateful.