Project Emily Advent: Day 19

Project Emily Advent: Day 19

Describe a moment when you felt capable.

When my daughter was around six months old, we went on a beach trip with my family. It was my first time traveling a real distance with a baby, and it was harder than I expected. The drive was long and she struggled to sleep in her carseat. I figured out how to lean over her carseat to nurse her while we drove to comfort her and reduce some of the screaming. Scout was experiencing a sleep regression and we were all a little bit exhausted. We had planned that my husband would work while we were at the beach, but we anticipated that he’d be able to sneak away from his computer some, and at least be able to join us for fun each day after 5:00. In a stroke of unlucky happenstance, it ended up being one of the hardest work weeks he’d ever had, and he ended up not only working during his normal working hours, but working a lot of overtime in order to finish a project and missing most of the trip. Being that Peet is a great partner and a very present dad, I felt his absence as I parented.

I was so excited to be at the beach. I love the ocean and I usually feel so much peace when I am near it. But that was before I was a mother, before I was responsible for a tiny being and her many needs. The beach with a baby turned out to be difficult and not very peaceful. One afternoon, Scout and I were at the beach with my family. She was unusually fussy. She didn’t like the feeling of the sand, but she didn’t want to stay in her little kiddie pool full of ocean water. I tried to keep her beneath the shade provided to us, worried that her fresh skin would burn, but she squirmed and wiggled against the boundaries. She didn’t want to play and she wouldn’t eat when I tried to feed her. I knew that she needed to sleep, but the trek back to the house was daunting. I was entirely overwhelmed. My baby was miserable and I didn’t know what to do. I was in a different environment as a first-time mom and I didn’t have my partner. And I was really, really tired. I decided that I hated the beach, hated the sand and the sun and vacations and everything, really.

I took a deep breath and took in the reality of what was happening. Suddenly, my aloneness no longer made me feel helpless and instead empowered me. I was the only person who could help my baby right now. I was the mom, and no one else was going to fix this for me. I was needed. Imperative. It could only be me. I closed my eyes. I am her mom, I thought to myself. I know how to take care of her. So I slathered another layer of sunscreen on my baby girl, tied her sun hat securely to her head, and carried her out into the waves. I stood in the saltwater, about knee deep, and rocked her to sleep in my arms. I brought her there, to a place I knew, a place I loved, and I cared for her. I did it. No one else. The peace of the ocean that I loved so dearly served as her lullaby as she was soothed to sleep. I carried her back to my chair and we sat together beneath an umbrella as she slept for the next hour. I admired her floral print bathing suit, tiny belly rolls spilling out. She was and is the most gorgeous creature I have ever seen. I am the mom, I said to myself. I can do this.

Newsletter Sign-up

Get book reviews delivered right to your inbox.


On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

My Top 10 Reads from 2023

I read some pretty phenomenal books in 2023— some of which will go on my list of all-time favorites. My top ten is dominated by nonfiction, yet funnily enough, novels hold the top two spots on my list. Five of the ten are memoirs, revealing a particular preference I have for that genre right now. In general, my reading ratios are 1 novel: 1 memoir: 1 additional nonfiction. I want to read more fiction this year.

Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.