Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Letters to Eliana

(entered in this contest...)

Oh, my sunshine.

You worked alongside me in the kitchen tonight. When you heard the refrigerator open, you marched into the room, patted your chest and toddled to the pantry, pointing to your sweet apron. You stood still as I wrapped it around you, then dutifully turned so that I could tie the strings.

I found my movements slowing as we worked together, for a little girl was right on my heels whenever I turned. I lifted you up to the counter to press the processor buttons, and we smiled at each other while the food spun magically.

I bent low and handed you the dinner plates, one at a time, then followed you to the table where you made a grunting sound and barely raised the plate to your chest. “Oh, thank you!” I exclaimed, taking it and setting it on the table even as you reached for the next one. It took longer, but oh, your smile was vast.

You methodically emptied your tupperware cupboard, which, in our tiny kitchen, happens to be directly underneath the only counter space I have for food preparation. There were several near misses as I hopped over a bowl on my way to the stove, but again, I slowed my movements and took a moment to laugh with you at my silliness.

Whenever I opened the refrigerator, a tousled blonde poked in next to me, always reaching for the salad dressing. Usually I shut the door quickly to avoid a mess, but tonight I lingered as you pointed to different items and made questioning sounds in your gibberish. You chose two yogurt containers to play with, and even moved aside obligingly as I swung the door closed.

Our movements became a dance. Mama moving slowly, smilingly. Eliana moving adoringly, wonderingly. Countless times, I raised you to the countertop so your little eyes could take in the pile of shredded cheese, the bowl of chopped olives, the diced onions that were making Mama laugh through her tears. Instead of feeling as if you were in my way, I felt as if I was sharing something very special, with someone very special; and so I was. Instead of your feeling only frustrated curiosity and separation, you had a sense of accomplishment, and closeness.

I moved through the rest of the evening slowly, quietly. Serving others at the table with deliberate care, not rushing so that everyone was fed at the exact same moment. Clearing the table methodically, finding joy in the order of plates being stacked, food layered into containers, and the dishwater circling the drain, bits of food trapped in the bottom to be scrubbed away. And all while sharing the dance floor with my precious daughter.

The small skipped beats in my heart when I recognize a moment that has not been missed are like the clicks of a camera. I will never forget what you taught me tonight.

Thank you for helping me slow down, whatever your method. Thank you for seeing the magic of the food processor, the wonder of a refrigerator full of colorful food, the joy in a cupboard holding unbreakable containers. Thank you for dancing with me; for making me see the beauty in the simple tasks of motherhood. For patiently waiting for me to see you standing there, just begging to be by my side in life.

Life with Eliana. What a gift.

Love,
Mama

41 fellow travelers shared:

Amy said...

I am near tears. This is what being a mom is all about.... those eternal moments. This bonding time that cannot be erased or duplicated. I do hope that you are saving this for her when she is older. ;o) Amazing!

btw... Your daughter is a little beauty and I love the name!

Jen said...

Isnt motherhood a wonderful calling. How old is Eliana???
shes very cute :)

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh wow, makes me wish i were a mama : ) And I'm sure when she is older she will just treasure this letter!

And i wanted thank you for the kind things youve said over at my blog Elise, and for your prayers. They really mean a lot to me : )

A Blessed Week <>< Wendy

Me said...

An adorable photograph that captures much of what you write.

Tracy said...

It's hard to type when you are crying! Thank you for this beautiful post. What a treasured time spent together. This is what relationships are made of! We have to spend time with our children in order to know them, and for them to know us! What a cute little apron, and smile to match. Your heart must be so full!

Andrea said...

Elise~
Thank you for allowing me to see the *why* it's important to slow down. The dance. I love that. I need the reminder daily.
This is amazing.

Stacey said...

I am humbled. I can't remember the last time I slowed down enough to let them help. I have been reminded by your post to do just that and to allow my sweet babes to be my pace-setters - and to LOVE it!!

On another note - where oh where did you get that apron for Eliana??? My Emma would just ADORE one and I am certain having a "boyish" one for my Timmy would make his day!

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

This needs to be printed out and put in her scrapbook. :) How precious this was.

This is what mother hood is about!

Wendy said...

What a sweet picture and sweet words for your daughter. I agree w/Lindsey, you should print this and keep it for her.

busybusymomma said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes... thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments. :o)

Shelley said...

Oh thank you so much for sharing this, for modeling this attitude for all of us to see, to be reminded, to be stirred. May we all slow down and see life through our children's eyes. May we enjoy our families, love our families, serve our families and may we realize the gift we have each received.

Shelley

Audrey said...

Simply Beautiful!

emilyhope said...

What a sweet and heartwarming story. Watching the news these days, you hear so much about abuse, it is wonderful to hear about a Mother and her daughter enjoying their moments together.

Kendra said...

Elise, this is such a beautiful description of an 'extra'ordinary evening. And such a sweet way of reminding us all to take the time to include our children in our daily tasks. Thank you!

Beverly said...

Beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes because I could feel the love radiating from your words. I have been emotional about my own little girl lately, and all the new things she is doing. This post is making me look forward to the future -- to times in the kitchen. I'm going to slow down today, and look at life through Selena's eyes.

Denise said...

Thank you, Elise.

Stacy said...

Elise,
Beautiful. And Eliana is so precious in that photo, looking up like that with such delight on her face! (And the apron? LOVE the ruffle on the bottom!)
Such a good reminder to slow down and see the wonder- so much!- through their eyes. Thank you for this... it will help in my day today with my little ones!
Love to you...
~Stacy

Jenny said...

Thank you for sharing this beautifully written post! You reminded me about the importance of not forgetting the little things :)

Munchkin Land said...

Again, you touched my heart!! I think I actually heard it sigh. Devyn and I have taken up baking together while I've been on leave. And I have treasured every moment of measuring out the incredients, watching her toss them in the bowl, stopping to lick the spoon, etc. These moments are SO precious and it's a good thing to stop and memorize them!!

Sarah said...

You have a beautiful way of paiting the picture of a moment, thank you for the inspiration! I was so moved, my day was changed, I even had to blog about it.
Love, Sarah

Sandy said...

Oh, my, don't you love this blogging? I often think of it as journaling for my 3 wonderful, beautiful kids! Whom I miss right now because I'm in Ireland :) I'd take a sticky-fingered-hug from them right now :)
Beautifully written, thank you for sharing.

Beka said...

Oh, that was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. Such a precious picture of motherly love. Eliana is so blessed to have you as her Mama!

Erna said...

That was so beautiful! You have a gift with words. I'm sure your "Letters to Eliana" will be very dear treasures to her heart as she grows up. Thank you for sharing your "dance" of motherhood with us.

Maxine said...

I just saw this! I have to come more often because I'm missing real treats. Thanks Elise dear, for bringing back precious memories to me. There is nothing more beautiful in life. As others have said, Eliana will treasure these words some day.

Cindi said...

Sigh, what a beautiful composition. You make my heart smile.

Joel and Jaime said...

That was an incredibly sweet story! How nice to have a little one to work by your side!

Evelyn Lum said...

This is too sweet ... I'm in tears.
You scored girl!!

Christine said...

You are blessed and so are wefor your sharing.

Love you!

Theresa ♥ said...

How amazingly beautiful and precious motherhood is. Thank you for sharing this. You have a beautiful heart and I'm so glad I found my way to your blog.

Blessings,
Theresa

Trina said...

What a precious sweetie! I love how she is so eager to be a part of "mommy's" world, and how you took the time to slow down and let her take part. Thank you so much for encouraging me to do the same. Sometimes the pace of life just takes over.
Blessings,

Mommy Dearest said...

Oh, I really, really love this. Thank you.

Grafted Branch said...

Amen and amen.

And that's all I have to say about that. *sniffle-snort* ;)

Anonymous said...

Mercy (16 mos.) and I do this dance in the kitchen as well but a little less gracefully perhaps. Thank you for the reminder to make space for her in *my* kitchen cheerfully and to treasure those moments.
rebecca m

Holly said...

My husband said tonight..."We always need a one year old around the house - to do his job, to keep the floor in proper order." :)

Sometimes, it is quite an INTRICATE dance to keep from falling in *this* place. :) I love it!

Thank you for a beautiful letter, Elise.

A said...

What a precious blog and a precious story! I found you through Dani-hermitbegone and maybe through Blue Mountain Mama. I've been so blessed and encouraged as I've nosed around in your blog! I love the color and the topics and I'm sure to come back!

Your little beauty makes me wish even more for kids! (Can you pre-order them that darn cute??) And the apron? I'd like one in my size, ruffle included! ;)

Thanks for letting me read this!

Amanda

bluemountainmama said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...... you have such a wonderful gift of capturing these moments, elise- both in your heart and in your words. and what a gift these posts will be to your children, someday. i just linked to this from my post today....

Lizard Princess said...

Hi! Bluemountainmama sent me over here with her last post, and I am glad she did!
What a charming, touching and heart wrenching portrayal of motherhood. My only child is now 11, so those days are all but gone. He still leans his head on me during church sometimes, though!

My fondest memories are those when he would fall asleep on me, and his head would get all floppy with relaxation, and then I would also get all sleepy from the warmth of him on my lap. What peace!

Rosemarie said...

Your blog was linked from Loni @ Finding JOY in the Morning with your last paragraph posted on her "in other words."

Thanks for confirming what I have been participating in these last months to be solely focused on Julia.

Blessings...

"Pearls of wisdom...a heavenly voice."
http://avoicetobeheard.blogspot.com/

Growing with Julia
http://www.growingwithjulia.blogspot.com/

cloudscome said...

What a lovely, inspiring post! I wish I could do this every day of the year, instead of being usually in a rush and flustered.

http://sandycovetrail.blogspot.com

dani-hermit-be-gone said...

Stunning Elise.. I've never read such precious mommy words before. It's clear that you allow God to love your little ones through you in such ways... You've given me so much as a hopeful mother-to-be someday. Thank you for being an open vessel to touch all of our hearts.

Laura said...

My dear sister,
You moved me to my knees where I cried out to God through my tears, "Help me dance with Ella more. Help me not to push her away in my busyness."
Thank you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails