"Pictures and pictures and pictures, oh my!", (sung to the tune of "lions and tigers and bears, oh my!) Man oh man y'all, I have some catching up to do! These are from a trip to the playground with my sister Meg, brother Todd, nephew Rio, and daughter Reese (just to be clear haha) at the end of August. Megan came down from Salt Lake City to visit. Whenever we get to see each other, I always feel renewed and like my soul is fed. Good chit chats, ya feel me? I know I've mentioned it one too many times on this blog, but boy I love my family. I know I'm lucky, and that's not lost on me. Don't get me wrong, we have our problems just like any other family, and we're definitely not perfect, but each member of my family means something so unique and special to me. I have a different, meaningful relationship with each of them, and even if we don't get to see each other very much, I will always feel close to them.
Sundays are my favorite days of the week. No doubt. I love the time spent with my family, the time reflecting on my week and coming up with new goals for the next week, sleeping in with Buns and Roni, the infamous Sunday naps, and today in particular thinking about my spiritual journey as a mother so far. I kind of hate using the word "spiritual" because I probably associate it as being a little cheesy, but there's really no other way of saying it. My journey as a momma has been nothing short of spiritual. I feel like my mind, heart, and body have been stretched and tried in so many ways. (Background: I was thinking about all of this while trying to keep Reese from karate chopping the 2 week old baby that was sitting in front of us. They really couldn't have built those benches 6 more inches apart?). Stretched in ways I didn't think were possible. And I'm not just talking about the array of stretch marks across my entire belly and sides. I sat there in church and had this kind of aha moment. I sat there really doing an inventory at how much I had changed since becoming a mom.
I find myself braver but also more vulnerable. I have become stronger in a lot of ways, but just as fragile in others. Confident at times and self-conscious at others. I gave up some dreams to become a mom but have more importantly discovered even bigger dreams. Dreams that include my beautiful little family. Some people have said to me that I don't have to give up my dreams just because I'm a mom. But I kind of disagree. I guess it depends on what they are for you personally, but for me, I did have to give up some of my dreams. Because I embrace a new dream. My dreams changed. I changed. I'm a different person now than I was when it was just Todd and I. Maybe it's different for other woman, but for me, I am forever changed. I now know that it is possible for my heart to beat outside of my body. Sounds a little ridiculous, I know, but really...when I look at Reese sometimes, I feel like we share so much more than DNA. I see my dreams already coming true when I look at her. She is my dream!
I had the raddest lady come up to me at church today while I was outside of Sunday School trying to get Reese to sleep. She asked me how things were going with Reese and told me about potty-training horrors on her end. After she left, I realized that this whole motherhood thing will be a lifetime process. I guess that might be a duh for some of you, but for me I literally think sometimes that if I can just make it through this teething stage or that fussy day then it'll be full steam ahead from that point on. But I know that's not so. Every new stage of growing up for my kids will become a new stage of growing for me. And idk....call me crazy, but today I felt this overwhelming peace that that's how it's supposed to be. That's how God meant for it to be. He meant for me to be tested and tried as a mom. He wants my patience to be tested. And what I'm about to say I'm not meaning for it to sound like an excuse, but I really think He almost wants us to lose our cool on occasion because those experiences shape us. They force us to learn about ourselves. Those experiences force me to examine myself in ways I can honestly say I would rather not. Being a mother has tested my patience and "shown my true colors" so to speak. I think it's revealed some of my most beautiful colors but also some really "pukey," disgusting colors. You can't win 'em all, right? But today I felt a peace that it's okay to show your true colors. Sometimes you just have to let it out to figure it out. And I'm so down with that.
Today I was really grateful for the hard things. Because trust me, there have been hard things. Many hard things. I've doubted my role as a mom. I've doubted my self-worth. I've doubted whether or not I'm any good as a wife. It's like I said before, this journey has been spiritual. I am forever changed because of it. It's been learning how to be a great mom, wife, and person, all in one. It's been figuring out the right balance. It's been learning to communicate my feelings even if it's hard. Because sometimes I can't even put a finger on what I'm feeling! Haha for real. It's like the words just don't come. That's when it's important for me to take a little inventory, and get to the bottom of it. Because it is important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Don't push feelings aside for the sake of smoothing things over or for the sake of not wanting to confront what's going on. Sometimes all it takes is a good "vent" and before you know it, the source of the anger, frustration, or sadness is let out of the bag. And it's totally refreshing!
And I guess that last thing I want to say or the last thing that was really intensely in my heart today was that every journey is different. My journey is different than the mom sitting two rows in front of me at church. My journey is different than the elderly, widowed woman behind me. My journey is different than my family's. My journey is different than the Jane Doe next door, on my Instagram feed, or in my play-date group. My journey is Ashton's journey. It's personal. It's spiritual. It's unique. I am responsible for the direction I take and the choices I make on it. I am responsible for loving and nurturing my family and friends in the process. I have the power to make it a journey worth remembering. And when I say a journey worth remembering, I don't mean because I did anything grandiose or noteworthy in the eyes of the world. I mean worth remembering because I lived a life full of love, compassion, and sacrifice. Because I worked hard to be a good mom. I want to work hard to be a good mom. To be a good woman. A good friend. A great Ashton. And I hope you feel that your journey is a journey worth remembering too. Because it is. No one else has walked in your shoes or been down the same, exact road that you have. Your journey is special, and you are worth something great. I pray with all my heart that you remember that. Because you're something great, and you deserve a beautiful journey.
Sleep tight y'all.
❤, Ashton Tilton