During the baby shower, something amazing happened...
My friend Samantha gave me an incredible gift: a handmade book about motherhood. Weeks before the shower, Samantha asked dozens of important women in my life (even those living across the country or an ocean) to offer words of advice about motherhood. Then Samantha, who is an illustrator, wrote all the quotes into a book, along with watercolor illustrations of flowers, stripes and patterns.
When I glanced through the book at my shower, tears pricked in my eyes, but when I got home that evening and actually read the quotes slowly and carefully, fat salty tears were rolling down my cheeks! It was such a beautiful collection of poems, quotes, jokes and tried-and-true wisdom from incredible women and one of the loveliest and most meaningful gifts I've ever gotten.
Here are five examples of entries...
"Take your child's worries and joys seriously and always listen with respect." —Jean Goddard, my mom
"Parents make mistakes, too. It's okay for parents to say sorry to their children." —Sujatha, my sister's mother-in-law
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ― poem by Mary Jean Irion, contributed by my sister Lucy
"It's helpful to have a special nursing blanket full of new toys and books for Toby. It only gets pulled out when the new baby is nursing, so Toby will look forward to that time." —Anika, my friend (who has two children)
And this last one made me laugh out loud...
"A very useful phrase to repeat whenever you start to ask why your baby is doing something confusing and unpredictable: 'Babies be babies.' (I think I'll put this on a needlepoint pillow if I have another child.) And a very useful phrase to repeat when you find yourself turning to your spouse blamefully: Your spouse is not the enemy. The baby is the enemy." —Emily, my sister-in-law
And here's the beautiful Samantha, who put together and illustrated the book.
Thank you again, Samantha. xoxo
P.S. 20 surprising parenting tips, and a yummy gift for new parents.
(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo)