This is, as of this very moment, the only picture I have of me with my boys.
My husband isn’t in the picture, and it isn’t a simple snapshot of me with just one of them. It’s the single photo I have on my phone of myself with both boys.
Scroll through my Facebook or Instagram? Won’t find one there, either. Which is ridiculous. It really, really is.
And, to be completely honest, it made me a little angry. I started to get frustrated, hopping right on the why-the-heck-doesn’t-my-husband-take-pictures-of-me-with-my-kids train.
For real. So rude.
Doesn’t he care about preserving memories for our children that include me? Where I’m not simply the one orchestrating all the fun but actually in it, too?
But then, it hit me.
It’s not about him not taking the pictures.
It’s about me not letting him.
Or me deleting them the moment he hands the phone back to me.
Because it would be so much easier for me to say that it’s him, to get myself all in a tizzy because I have approximately 7 million pictures of him with the boys and none of myself.
But the truth of it is, it’s all on me. It’s me begging him not to snap a picture while I’m not wearing makeup. It’s me hating the way my arms look so big pressed up against my side like that. And it’s me noticing my double chin and my greasy hair and my pooch.
I so desperately wanted to blame someone else, but turns out I’m the only one to blame.
And that breaks my heart.
It’s embarrassing and frustrating to think that my kids won’t have pictures to look back on that actually include me, the person who undoubtedly spent the most time with them, because I decided I didn’t look quite good enough.
So I’m done.
I’m done perpetuating this idea that I’m supposed to look a certain way. I’m done believing that my worth is defined by my appearance. And I’m done deleting pictures because I can’t help but to hone in on all the little imperfections.
Because I want my boys to know I was there. To not simply remember, but to see me, front and center, living and enjoying life with them.
And I want them to know that they made me the most beautiful version of myself.
They whittled me down, my new role as a mom refining me every step of the way.
So that what was left over was matchless joy. And a patience much greater than before. A strength I never knew I possessed. And a purpose far bigger than myself.
That’s what matters. That’s what’s important.
Not my messy hair or the pimples scattered across my chin or the dimples on my thighs, but my heart.
My heart that’s grown two sizes bigger, thanks to these precious souls that call me mom.
So I’m going to ask my husband to take the picture. Or I’ll snap a goofy selfie with the boys.
Then, I’m going to save it. And cherish it. And trust that my boys will cherish it, too.
Because when they look back on these pictures of us together, they won’t see the imperfections.
They’ll see love.
And that’s all I could ever ask for.