When I was about 8-years old, a beloved aunt gifted me one of my favorite childhood books – The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. The close relationship between the tree and the little boy resonated with me deeply, as much of my own childhood was spent climbing and constructing “club houses” in the tallest trees in my backyard (I did my fair share of gathering leaves, breaking branches, and pretending I was queen of the forest). I recently gifted this same book to my soon-to-be-3-year old, and during one of our family filming sessions, my filmmaker husband captured me reading it to him for the first time. As I came to the end of the story, grasping for the first time its true meaning – unconditional love – I unexpectedly found myself choking up.
Here I was… like the tree in the story, watching my baby grow up, loving and providing for him best I could, all the while navigating parenthood’s tricky realm of self-sacrifice. The reappearance of this treasured story comes at a poignant time for me. These days my son needs mama less and less: he trades “mama time” for “dada time” much more frequently; he rarely wants to hold my hand when we walk together; most of our snuggles now happen after he has been naughty (yep – he’s definitely 3!). And as a mom who is passionate about building her own business, I often struggle with knowing how to strike the right work / life balance. The line between too little and too much sacrifice in work and at home remains blurry for me.
I tell myself my son’s growing independence means I’m doing my job as a parent – my love has given him a secure base from which he feels confident enough to explore his expanding world. I also tell myself that making time to pursue my own passions makes me a better parent. Despite these pep talks, I often find it hard not to miss those early postpartum days when there was nothing to do but just “be”: when he would fall asleep on my chest as a newborn, our breaths and heart beats synchronized; when he’d stay still long enough for me to steal hugs and kisses without protest.
I hear my own mother’s voice when I say that my son is growing up much faster than I would like. Parenting little ones really is “the longest shortest time”. I take heart, however, in the fact that he’s not moving out and heading to college just yet… and that filming with families and their little ones through The Baby Mini Doc Project is a constant reminder of how fleeting these early years truly are; of why nothing is ever more important than this present precious moment. My passion project has also gifted my family with a treasure trove of family moments preserved for all time: Inigo’s first bath as a newborn; breastfeeding and cuddling moments as a 6-month old; his sweet 15-month old voice; his facial expressions as I read The Giving Tree to him as an almost-3-year old.
If the day ever comes when my son doubts his connection to his mama, my hope is that being able to replay these moments will remind him that he comes from love; and that, like The Giving Tree, I am always here for him, even if all I have to offer is love.
This holiday season, give yourself and your family the gift that keeps on giving. Let The Baby Mini Doc Project create cinematic mini documentaries that time-capsule the early years with your littlest ones.
And our gift to you – get $200 off any Baby Mini Doc package, including gift certificates for loved ones!
To redeem, book your FREE consult by January 15th 2019 and reference the code HOLIDAY200.
With so much love,
Founder / Director, The Baby Mini Doc Project