When Will My Life Begin?

The other night I was lying in what I call my “fire seat.”

It probably doesn’t sound comfortable, but it involves using the side of one couch to support my head, the ottoman to support my back, and having my feet flung over the loveseat that is kitty corner to the couch. I’m positioned, lovingly, as close to the pellet stove as possible without getting too hot. The other night, I could see the reflection of the Christmas tree against the window above the fire, and the room was darkening – with the littlest bit of light left in the sky revealing the tops of the tall pine trees.

I took a phone picture:

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Scarlet had asked Cassidy to put on a Grateful Dead DVD and she was dancing to it while we had a laser light show from a machine he borrowed from a coworker. Des was dipping pretzels into a container of hummus. No napkins, no bowls, no forks or spoons. Much joyous mess. And then there was me. I was thinking about that feeling of waiting for your life to begin.

Pretty conveniently, the song from the movie Tangled – “When Will My Life Begin” came on sometime before, during or after this pellet stove/window reflections moment. It played somewhere in the mix of when I formulated the idea for this blog post, to when I wrote the notes for it, and probably all in between. The symbols and themes are often there for me to grab them.

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(Case in point: this is her Rapunzel dress, and I’m finally uploading this photos from two months ago.)

Did you ever watch a whole movie, waiting for it to really “begin”? Suddenly, the end credits are rolling and then you realize – that it was an entire movie – problem, climax, resolution – and now it’s already over. Maybe you missed that it was happening all along because it was a bad movie. Or maybe the message was subtle. Maybe..it was just different from what you expected.

One or two hours was not enough time for you to wrap your head around it. Sometimes life is like that too. Sometimes one or two years isn’t enough time to wrap your head around it. The other night against the fire, I realized something. It’s here. This bit of magic I only ever dared to dream about. The difference is that back when I dreamed about homes, husbands and kids (and jobs) I never bothered to fill in the blanks. The way Des sings the ABC’s, which is nearly to cute to handle, much less write about. Then there are Scarlet’s fierce hugs, and everything else I didn’t factor in. The good and the bad. The empty spaces.

The dark holes in this mass of living. The bright spots, as well.

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My life began a long time ago. Realizing and appreciating it often takes work. Back then I was dreaming about the future and not filling in the spaces with the light and the darkness. The flesh and the details of a life well-lived, but struggling as well. Everyone struggles. I never factored in worrying about the ailing health of family members, and how it would actually feel to see my grandmother turn 100. Real. Not dreamy. Amazing and astonishing, but so painful too. Achy, worrisome, awesome..

I never knew how tightly I gripped the dream that she’d someday meet her great-grandkids. I have exhaled many times over.

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How can I be here, waiting for my life to begin, while simultaneously being amazed that it HAS begun, and it just doesn’t feel anything like what I thought it would feel like. Fantasies can feel sterile and numb. Dreamy and hazy. My real life? Nothing like that. Painful, sick. Sharp and present. How I can be here, and so many people I love are there. How that can mostly be ok.

My youthful dreams seem so silly, and yet here I am sometimes stunned that people haven’t yet invented airplanes that go at the speed of light, or beaming devices. I never dreamed about stress or fear or doubt. Did I think I’d be a goddess millionaire with no anxiety or hardships, with family members who would live forever, and I’d live deep in the moose-filled mountains of New England or on the beaches of California with an always-adoring and never-bratty family? Why, yes. Yes I did. Sue me.

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Do you ever think in terms of “someday”? Someday this will all go away. Someday I won’t have to fight this. Someday, everything will be easy. In truth, there are battles we have to fight our whole lives. Money. Aging. Weight-loss. Anxiety.

Even pimples!

I do believe that we get stronger and our fights are perhaps easier, or maybe fought less often.

We can get better at getting up again.

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We can also get worse again, or worse than ever. That’s the worst news I was welcomed with into my adulthood. When I dreamed about the future, as all young people do, I never factored in the bad. I never filled in the empty spaces with any kind of darkness. Realistically, I knew that I would struggle as anyone does, but who wants to think about that? The good news is that I didn’t fill in the greatest parts either. I couldn’t. I couldn’t dream them up. Life is not as smooth as I once imagined..

..but it is perhaps bigger and more colorful, and more worth fighting for, than I may ever wrap my head around.

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I call this below photo “air quotes” – for obvious reasons:

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I mean, if you could wear a Rapunzel dress to a jumping pillow on a farm, why wouldn’t you? Why aren’t you doing this??

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If you could fly, why wouldn’t you? Why don’t I have one of these in my yard yet??

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And a whole lot of this.

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Scarlet is fighting for her right to party.

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And there’s probably a life lesson in that. Fight for your right..to have happiness. — by Scarlet Bella Bowman

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Bonbon Break

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


When Will My Life Begin? — 142 Comments

  1. Those photos of Scarlet jumping are so much fun! I feel like I’m bouncing alongside her just looking at them! I realize that I’m living up to every dream that I had when I was younger, but it’s better than I could have ever imagined. At the same time, I knew those dark spots would have to be filled with hard work, sacrifice, and require strength. I my mom prepared me for that. She reminds me anytime I hit one of those dark spots.

    • I wish I could have been better prepared – I think since the five of us went through such tragedy at a young age (parent loss) people seemed to cushion us more. We were told only really happy thoughts, I guess to counteract the darkness.
      It’s been strange growing up and feeling smaller than I thought I’d be, but being really happy with it too.

  2. The photos say it all. Scarlet is really fighting for her right to have happiness. Such a wonderful feeling! Gaah, as for me, I almost forget I have a job after my 2-week vacation. And today, I’m back to work. Oh life! 🙂

    • I hope you remember all of your passwords! (I once forgot my locker combination in high school after a vacation) Today was our first day back, and in true New England fashion, we got an ice storm last night! Luckily, preschool only has a one hour delay when the public schools have two hour delays. However, it was chaotic! And they changed the preschool parking situation over break. Confusing! And icy!

  3. What a sweetheart! I love that about children–that they live truly and passionately in the moment. I love the phrase you used– “fighting,” It evokes some good let’s-get-this-happiness-dream-on-the-road-already action!

  4. I love that you are writing about what you thought life would be like when you were younger with these awesome photos of Scarlet and Cassidy. It’s like I could see the innocence of what you were thinking with what she is probably thinking about life and what it will be like for her one day. It’s true. We don’t actually think of or see in the plan the struggles, but I’ve seen that as I grow older and experience more, it seems I sometimes don’t see struggles as struggles and some of my worries are no longer worries. That makes getting older feel more special. I know most people hope to stay young forever, but there is an appreciation of life that comes with someone who has experienced more and more of it. I can totally feel that in the tone of your post as well. 🙂

    • Thank you! It does feel special sometimes. And it’s all ok that I’m not a movie star like I thought I would be by now. I don’t really want to be anyway. It’s strange watching Scarlet turn four because as I’ve written about, my father passed before my fourth birthday, and Cassidy’s parents were long divorced by then. So sometimes I think she’ll react to something the way I would have..but never. Just never. She’s very lucky.

  5. i often think about the dreams I had for my future self, the dreams of being a wife, a Mum and how they were like a hazy Huggies nappy ad. All sweet smelling babies full of cuddles and smiles while Dad stands at the door smiling with contentment. Yes there has been these moments dispersed in amongst dirty nappies, tantrums and hair pulling…..the dreams i did not have. The amazing thing is when i am living my moments the feelings are never as strong as when i remember them or I dream of them. I try and try to be in those moments (when I remember to) and yet the memories are always more vivid. Your photos are priceless as they enhance those memories, your photos are priceless as they capture the emotion.

    • I once wrote a whole post about moose pajamas. Years ago I had a vision that I was holding a son wearing moose pajamas. I was up in Wyoming when I had this vision and I was with ANOTHER man, but thinking of the man I eventually married holding a baby boy in moose pajamas. We had a girl first and she did have moose pajamas, and as he held her, I remembered that dream. It was different but interesting. And now I have a boy and he inherited the moose pajamas too!

  6. It has taken me a little while to realize there are great lessons to be learned from my children and their approach to their lives. I try to walk a fine line between raising empathetic, responsible, and accountable children while letting the be who they really are. Because letting them be who they really are is the key to their resilience (I think). I try hard not to be a wild stallion tamer. I remember too, when my kids were younger thinking “when will my life begin” but when I started focusing on what my children have taught me, I realized Life is NOW. Great post Tamara! And those pictures definitely captured you thoughts well.

    • Great comment! Life is NOW, and it always was, whether I realized it or not. And it always will be. I’m not really Rapunzel – locked in a tower, really waiting for her life to begin!

  7. I seriously love Scarlet’s life lesson and anthem. For too many years, i feel like I totally wished my life away thinking about what was coming next. And now all I would like to do many days and times is to make life stand still or at least slow down now to enjoy all the finer moments. Seriously, I am so afraid now I will blink and the girls will be teens. So not ready for that either by the way. Wonderful post and definitely got me thinking on this Monday morning. Hoping all is well with you and sending you tons of love today 🙂

    • It’s so true about the finer moments. I could wish for Des to be potty-trained but..I’m just really loving him being one! There’s always something to achieve, I think, and always something to be cherished in the present.

  8. You chose the perfect subject of photos to compliment this essay. You may not have had the specific words to describe your imagined future but you surely have (many times over) come up with words to describe some of the more indescribable parts of adulthood and parenting. And oh my god buy those tickets soon! 🙂 My kids are coming with me to the conference. I may force you into a photo shoot with them!!!!

    • I really want that photo shoot to happen, so I may buy my ticket just for that!
      And thank you so much! These photos came up next. I’m months behind but this set was next in line while I was writing this post, so…it was perfect.

    • I feel like a teen too! A lot. I wonder if everyone feels that way, or if I’m really just like a teen! (Oh, I kid)
      Thank you so much for ringing in here.

      • I think it goes away when people who you used to be start to see you as the older one.

        I remember feeling a lot this way when I was much younger… I always thought in terms of “____ months/years from now…”

        It’s not that I no longer look to the future, it’s just that I stopped expecting it to be better just because it was separated from now. (If that makes any sense at all)

  9. Love this, Tamara! As always, you perfectly capture the feelings many of us have but don’t know how to express. Or are too scared to admit. I don’t often feel like my life hasn’t started, but I do find myself wishing away the time, thinking it will be easier when Monkey can do this or when Bean is this age. But then I stop and look around and see how wonderful my life is. Right now. Every day might not be a huge adventure, but there are countless little moments & memories that add up to an amazing life.

    • Yes, my kids are around your kids’ ages so I get that. Wishing away this time. Diaper time. Not sleeping time. Not talking time. Really, it’s just all beautiful and there’s always something to live, and I hope, there always will be.

  10. Sometimes, I am thinking about when my life is a little slower, a little quieter, I live on a farm, have grandkids, ride my horse (walking and jogging instead of galloping perhaps), et cetera and then I realize that is now.

  11. I used to think of “someday” in terms of wishing it would get here. Now I usually think of “someday” in terms of wanting it to hold off. That has everything to do with my children. I want today to be my someday – always. And i want a jumping pillow.

  12. I can totally connect with you on this. Sometimes we are just seeking so much else that we don’t realize what is going on around us yet we still have a deep appreciation for that which we do have. Our minds and our hearts are very intricate things that sometimes do not make sense while making total sense at the same time. You get me? Well, as long as you know your life has begun already and can value it as it seems through this post you have – you’re doing good. Enjoy the days, laugh when it is funny and breathe in the crisp air. You are amazing and your life…well, its all yours!! XOXO

    • Yup, I get you! Endlessly seeking, endlessly enjoying. It’s a big mess in my mind. I do know my life has begun already, but sadly, that doesn’t stop me from the future thoughts. The “someday” thoughts!
      You are amazing!

  13. Oh man what Ashley said. Am I really a grownup? I keep thinking each new phase of my life will bring that feeling, and I thought for sure by the time I became a parent I would. Nope! It’s true, how you don’t think of all the in-between things growing up. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but never really gave it any thought as to how much work it would be, or how challenging it would be at times, even having babysat a lot when I was younger. It’s worth it, but for sure can be tough (and I’m only at the very beginning…I shudder to think what it will be like in 13 years.)

    • I used to be an avid babysitter and..it didn’t prepare me as well as I thought it would! And I do wonder if I’m really a grownup yet? People keep telling me I am..but..doesn’t feel like it.
      13 years. That makes me shudder. A lot.

  14. The photos of Scarlet jumping are beautiful. I remember when I was younger and dreaming about my future too. I always thought that my life as an adult would be perfect. I would meet my prince charming, live in a castle..well not really but I did not imagine all the stress and tough times that I would go through. Now I am seeing my teenage daughter dream about her future as an adult. She always tells me that she can not wait until she is an adult, but she has no idea what life really is like after childhood. Interesting post! Have a great Monday!

    • I remember the things I thought about at Scarlet’s age, and then older, and yet, older, and even now. I did have the princess castle dreams at her age, like I imagine she does!
      You have a great Monday too!

  15. There have been times when I’ve yearned longingly for the future as when things will be better (such as when the kids are in elementary school and I don’t have to spend big bucks on preschool and a nanny lol!). I think that will be when we buy a house, or when we travel, etc. Sometimes I even think that way with their ages: “It’ll get better when the twins are older and don’t have to nap and we can go on longer trips, etc.”

    For the most part, this is my life, however different or similar it appears from when I imagined it as a young early-twenties girl.

    • Oh, yes. Next year. One in kindergarten (five days a week, all day!) and one will be two. So.. a year of no tuitions. Then the following year two more years of private preschool. And then nothing! Until college, of course. And that’s when I shudder to think about it anymore.

  16. I think the magic of life is in the details. I know what I want the next year of my life to look like and even if it looks exactly as I picture it to look, I’m not factoring in all of the little things that will make it so great and juicy and exciting and memorable – beyond the big and the milestones. I think it’s a good thing we can’t begin to dream up all of those details. I think the best part of life is in the surprises that are beyond our imagination.

    • All this non-factored juicy tidbits – they’re so awesome. And the hard parts..Well, they’re learning experiences and awful, but I have finally realized I won’t go through life without tons of them. I don’t know why I really thought life would be smooth-sailing. That isn’t really life at all. Just the dreams of a traumatized kid.

  17. I love the photos of your daughter jumping so gloriously!! I struggle with this question only now as a mother. Everything revolves around my daughter and sometimes I think to myself- “when will I have a life again?” I keep thinking each stage will get better but I need to start living in the now. Isn’t it crazy how much happiness children bring yet so much confusion? At least for me that is!

    • Yes, and by the time our kids are grown and we have lives again, well, we’ll be older. Still young enough to travel, but I want to have a heck of a good time for the next seven years of my 30’s. And the 40’s can be really fun too. Oh heck. It can all be fun! I’m just saying that I’m younger than I feel sometimes. And older too.

  18. Oh I do this. I find myself looking forward to “when.” When (if) I get into grad school. When I move away from here. When I figure out how to make more friends who DON’T live hundreds or thousands of miles away. When I’m happier. When I have a family. When my kitchen is bigger. When I get that nice camera. When… Meanwhile life is happening now, and “when” probably will come, but life is all the time you spend waiting for when. And hopefully appreciating now. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I had the “when I move away from here” thought for most of my life! Then I moved and wanted to come back to the east coast! I haven’t had that thought in ages, and I might never again. Of course, this weather leaves a LOT to be desired. That’s why I hope to travel.

  19. I need to find a bouncy house and jump. Stat. That feeling of exhilaration. Pure happiness. If only life always felt that way. But I suppose that wouldn’t be very realistic. I wonder if we got bored if everything was just perfect and good?

    • Yeah, I would imagine, right? Or we wouldn’t appreciate the smooth and the light so much, if things were never rocky and dark.
      We really want a jumping pillow or bounce house in our yard. I liked this because it was big but without the walls and roof, it didn’t have horrible color casts for photography. I’m pretty much always thinking like a nerd, though. And it’s fun!

  20. The news bulletin in our office here in the Philippines is all about the winter storm in some parts of the US so I hope you’re all doing good and safe despite that.. Luckily, I still remember all my passwords, I actually keep a secret record because we have so many applications at work (not so safe idea I know, hehe!) .. Take care!! 🙂

    • Very smart!! I’m telling you – I forget passwords very easily.
      The weather was icy last night and today it’s all melting. It made the morning a big mess. I think we’ll be smooth for another few..days. Sigh. Just get me to Disney safely, winter!

  21. Wait — Grateful Dead… Scarlet… Cassidy. I just got it!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I really can’t wait to meet you! 😉

    But on a more serious note… I totally, totally get this. I had a similar epiphany not too long ago. It might have been before I started my blog, so I haven’t written about it. But I think about it often — that is is life. There is nothing left to “do” before my life begins. I’ve been in it for years and years, and I’m glad that I realized it in my 30s and not my 50s.

    • haha, yes!!! Well to be fair, Scarlet was a name I dreamed up many years ago but when I told it to Cassidy (way before engagement, even) he was so readily enthusiastic about it..that I wondered why.
      Now Desmond. He’s another story. He’s named for a LOST character, but I do tell people it’s also for Desmond Tutu. Who ROCKS.
      Realizing it in your 30’s and not your 50’s..or even older. A key to some happiness, I would think?

  22. Love this! I have felt that way so many times in the past few years. I always wanted motherhood – I have exactly the life I dreamed of. But, it is not always what I though it would be. I find myself longing for more – more success, more self accomplishment, more something. Then, I have a moment when I look at their faces or I’m reminded of all my blessings and realize that THIS is life – this is the good stuff. 🙂

    • At least we have these moments, huh? I’m trying to imagine never coming to any good realization until I’m much older. I wonder if we have some sort of maternal instinct that kicks in and prevents it. One would hope!

  23. What Karen said! I feel like I have done way too much living forgetting the now! I absolutely love those pictures of Scarlet jumping – maybe you should invest in a trampoline?! I was dead set against it…my husband bought one anyway…and I am glad he did. The pure glee I see on their faces when they are on it is worth it!

    • I would love a trampoline! I would really love a bounce house, but they’re a pain in the butt. And you know how bad it would be with the color casts. Not photographer-friendly!

  24. Those pictures of Scarlett and her daddy are priceless! I had a moment like this not too long ago. I was out in the back yard just watching my kids play, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks that this is real. This is life, and I am happy and complete… despite the rough times and the difficulties, I have a good life.

    • Yes, a good life. And there are many rough times and difficulties, and they range in motion and emotion. You know how it is.
      Glad you get that feeling.

  25. This whole post is so relevant to me right now (except I could only wish I was wearing a Rapunzel dress). I keep waiting for the good stuff to start. When this happens, when that happens. I need to focus now on enjoying the now which is my middle instead of waiting for the beginning that I want that might not come.

    • I want a Rapunzel dress too. And you do have lovely hair!
      Yes, the good stuff. The elusive good stuff. I guess we’re always in the good stuff, right? I remember wanting out of high school and college – waiting for the good stuff – but now I look back fondly on my youth. Who knows?!

    • You read my mind too! All that talk of pretty, delicious things. I even got the boots you once posted about for Christmas. The black boots that folded over? Love.
      Anyway. Thank you!

  26. Oh my gosh, I just want to fly up there and give that beautiful girl a hug, she really is a princess. I love those smiles, she is so happy and content. It amazes me how well her personality and happiness comes thru those photos. If I could fly up and give her a hug, I would of course share some pretzels and humus with Des and a big ole batch of homemade cookies with you!

    • She is very happy and content! So is Des! It astonishes me only because I feel like I wasn’t happy and content at her age. Maybe his, though.
      Either way, you always have a place to stay up here! For cookies, pretzels and hummus, and hugs! (and photos. to prove that it happened)

  27. What a beautiful picture you paint with your words, and the photos to go with it were great as well. Oh to be young enough to fly…Such wise words because I find myself waiting too, and this very week I celebrate another birthday, one that proves my life isn’t just starting, and yet I feel as if it is. My grandma once said to me she still felt 18, on the inside and she was well into her 70s. I think perhaps we all feel that way…waiting for our lives to begin.

    • It helps to know we all feel that way. And so interesting about your grandmother! Mine just turned 100 and she was about 70 when I was born and I remember thinking she was a spring chicken. Sometimes I still do. She’s still totally feisty and spunky. I’d love to pick her brain about when/if she stopping feeling like her life hadn’t begun.

  28. I love so much about this. I think it was the opposite for me growing up, because I lost my mom so young, that I didn’t dare dream I would ever have kids – it was too much. Then, when I had them, I never imagined how much I could love them and I’m desperate to stay with them, to be present, to be whole. It’s impossible of course but I try. Every single day, I try to wear my Rapunzel dress, fly (run) and begin my life!

    • I think we all need a good Rapunzel dress, don’t you?
      I think I am so fascinated by Scarlet’s contentment and joy because at her age, I was newly mourning my father. So I get that. Parental loss – it changes you so much. And maybe you don’t even see all of the changes (well, a chunk of them) until or unless you become a parent.

  29. I *know* this feeling!! I have been feeling this too lately! Especially when we sat down to do our predictions. Kid helped get the kids situated and encouraged them to participate, but when it came to his turn to reflect on the past year or dream into the coming years, he just wouldn’t. Part of me felt silly writing down things that I know are not likely to happen, but he wouldn’t even say anything! I guess dreaming gets harder as you get older and have more life experience.

    • Isn’t that interesting? It definitely changes when you’re staring at lower paychecks than you’d like, and the high costs of…living in general. I do think that my dreams change. They’re still there, but, they used to be WILD. In some part of my heart, they still are and always will be.

  30. Yes…. yes…. yes….yes…..

    Every time I read your posts- I am so overwhelmed with so many thoughts and emotions… you spark them all.

    I picture you in that ‘moment’ of waiting to begin life… and I have been there more times than I can count. It’s here isn’t it? Everything we dreamed and all those moments we never even imagined. Life has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?

    My son is crawling on me and crying because he was pulling the chair out and hit his eye… excuse me while I go be ‘in the moment of my life’. LOL

    • You’re cracking me up! I sure hope your son is ok. Eye injuries are painful!
      Your comments always take me farther than I even went with my posts. I like that.

  31. I immediately thought of the song from Tangled. We borrowed the CD from the library when we went on vacation one time, and so the soundtrack played in our car for almost six hours straight! I know the song well. 🙂 My daughters were looking at the pictures and wondered what Scarlet was doing, and they couldn’t figure out what a “jumping pillow” was. I had to go back and show them pictures from when they went on a jumping pillow! “Oh, yeah!” they said. 🙂

    • I only found out what a jumping pillow was last year. When were they invented?? Either way, I love them. I love that people’s kids look at my photos with them. That makes me so happy.
      And we listen to Disney’s Pandora station and I must have “liked” “Tangled” songs a lot, because they’re nonstop! That and “Frozen.”

  32. I feel this way a lot… am I really about to turn 35 with two little kids and a husband and a mortgage and a car payments? Whoa. That sounds so… grown up. My big “waiting to begin” thing right now is my job… I just don’t know what I really want to be doing but I’m pretty sure it’s not where I am now. But making a change at this point would mean starting over and most likely taking a big pay cut, so I’m not sure how that would work out. Ahh…. things to think about as the new year begins!

    • Whoa is right. And it’s funny how two kids can be a real game changer. Just one seems more..I don’t even know. Whimsical? Possible? Less serious? All we need here is a dog and a white picket fence. (I’m kidding)
      January is a great time to think about careers – happiness and actually making money. I have trouble making that balance and I know many do. Still, there are many inspiring people out there who have managed to find both. What’s their secret??

  33. Few people want to contemplate the dark and terrible things that could potentially happen in their future. As humans we naturally seek out the light and good when we dream about what we’re going to be when we grow up, or what our future family will look like. And I think that’s just fine.

    What we need is the ability to adapt, to take everything in our stride, and just get on with things. A couple of posts ago–I’ve been mainlining your blog tonight, can you tell?–you talked about Scarlet’s ability to adjust to sleeping on just a mattress, and I think that childlike ability is something that we should all cling on to.

    As for wondering when your life will begin? From my limited perspective, your life is in full swing! Vibrant, marvellous, and full of love. It may not be the same life you dreamed about but I think it’s pretty awesome xx

    • I feel the same about your life! Such life and love! And a whole lotta Doctor Who.
      Now the question is how to keep the swing and the momentum. I’d like to feel that my life is going on, well into my 100’s. (my grandmother is doing that currently)

  34. I think the ideas, the fantasies we construct for ourselves, that it’s going to ‘be alright’ are what keeps us going. Because yes, there might be colour, and there might be shining, golden threads in this tapestry of our lives, but so many of the threads are dull and monotonous, or dripping with darkness which spreads, contaminating the lighter areas. And we so rarely get (or are granted) the opportunity to step back survey the whole, and see how stunning it is.

    Contrast is key, even though we live through the dark patches to reach those few, precious light ones.

  35. Yes, I’ve felt the same way so many times. I love my life but sometimes I wish I could concentrate more on what I like to do. Like writing. Sometimes I’ll start and Natalie will be like, “Play with me!” and I feel so guilty saying no so I’ll stop and do it.

    Love these pictures. Natalie so loves jumping. She’d probably be out there in a princess costume too. Today she wore her Anna costume as we ran errands.

    • We have the Elsa dress and I love the Anna dress. Scarlet makes me do the one braid that Elsa wears, so you just know I’ll be out there doing two braids for Anna. And when we go to Disney soon, I’d love to get her one of their fancy gowns. Ah, I can’t wait!
      Anyway, that was a tangent.

  36. My goodness, I love how you document your children. And how wonderfully the photos accompany your words! Life as we know it, and life we thought it would be, and life as we wish it could be…such a tough topic to articulate well, but you’ve done it, and so eloquently. I have felt the ‘what’s going to happen’ feeling so many times, and I never could have predicted five years ago that this would be my life- and that’s okay! I’m excited for whatever it is that comes next.

    • I hear that! In some ways it all makes a lot of sense that this is where I am. In other ways, well, I took the long way here. And I imagine and hope there’s quite a lot of living left to do.

  37. OMG this so made me cry a little. I thought I’d be a millionaire goddess too. No anxiety. No doubt. Sometimes, I still wait to feel real. Let’s fight for the right, sweets. Ok?

  38. Yes. A million times YES. I feel like I’m constantly living a “someday” life. Someday, I’ll be able to do this. Someday, I’ll be able to do that. Someday, someday, someday. I keep trying to catch myself and remind myself to live for today.

    • Cross-commenting friend!
      The “someday” life. I almost called this post by that name. It would have fit.
      I have a good idea to live for today – meet me for coffee/dessert/drinks SOON!

    • I hear you! That movie. I have actually experienced it many times. Maybe I need to adjust my expectations when watching movies. Or maybe I need more exciting movies to watch!

  39. I can relate to every ounce of the post! I imagined this life I might have as an adult…who my husband will be, what my kids will look like…etc. All the while life is happening right before our eyes. I’m learning to not let the hardships blind me from the present wonderful things happening right before my eyes. Great post! Happy New Year Tamara!

    • How beautiful, Sherelle – to learn not to let hardships blind you from wonderful things. I think that becomes more of a challenge the older we get, but a lot of people seem to see the beauty through it all.
      Happy New Year to you!

  40. I just love that Scarlet spent so much time outside the house in her princess dresses. And you’re so right about how we dream about the future but don’t fill in the holes…those holes that can only be filled in with real life. Good to know you’re embracing the life that is existing now!

  41. I used to always wonder when my someday would come!!! Then for whatever reason, one day I finally realized that I was living my someday!
    Those pictures of Cassidy and Scarlet are so great! I love that even though there are lots of people in the background jumping they are completely engrossed in each other!!! We should all spend time jumping with a loved one every day – and probably it would be better if we had such gorgeous Rapunzel gowns!!

  42. I think I know what you mean but at the same time I don’t. I filled in the blanks a lot when I was younger. But now I look back and the blanks are filled out in the same way you fill out an Ad Libs and it’s just hysterically funny and not right at all.

    Goddess millionaires have tons of stress. They have to deal with people wanting their money. 🙂

    • So intriguing! And I know our childhoods were so different in the kinds of ways that change the way you dream. But we all still do dream. And your ad-libs analogy is great.
      I hear you about goddess millionaires. They age and they get pimples and heartbreak and fear. And worse. I just didn’t see it for a long time.

  43. These photos of Scarlet are so incredibly, awesomely, emotionally perfect. Ah to have that kind of freedom, she is having the type of fun that I pray ALL five year old have. This season has been so crazy. I’m kinda happy things are back to normal! I so wish I had a princess dress like that when I was her age–or maybe one right now? 🙂 My boys would LOVE that 🙂

    • Things are kinda back to normal today. The first full day (well half full day..full half day?) since December 16th, but no one is counting.
      I admire Scarlet. I see in her a lot of things I feel I have lost. She gets it back for me, slowly.

  44. Such an eye opening post. Love it! Love it! Love it! According to Deepak: Appreciating the daily journey is most important, in order to obtain the end result. Being conscious and filling in all those blanks along the way just makes it all the more exciting and enjoyable. So glad that you’re happily filling in all of those blanks!

  45. Oh to be a child again! Why did no one tell us this whole adulthood business would be the pits. I look at my daughter while she sleeps and I think, I could never sleep that soundly ever again. That is freedom. Of course the pictures are soooo beautiful.

    • Scarlet slept in our bed for a few hours this morning. She was adorable and pristine and we were both jammed to the sides and wide awake and not feeling it.
      Adulthood. Sigh. So good when it’s good, and so tough when it’s tough.

  46. The moments of pure joy you have captured in these photographs! So beautiful! Though yes, we have to admit, life is not all beautiful and we tend to hold back, waiting for that perfect moment in our life when we should be fully immersed in the now.

  47. I am trying to picture you in that fire seat and it just does not sound comfortable. So agree about the pain that can exist with family members growing old and having their health decline. That’s why I like to focus on the beautiful, bright spots in life. They are really like nothing we could imagine and you do a wonderful job of capturing those moments with your lens. Honestly, you could write a book on it Tamara. Love the Christmas tree reflection photo too…not so sure about that fire seat LOL…..

    • You know, I should have had my husband take a photo of ME, and not just the photo I took from the view. It really was comfortable but I don’t think it would have been for my husband (older, taller, bad back). So it’s really subjective. I assure you I was totally comfortable and I even fall asleep there sometimes! I’ll get him to take one.
      And focusing on the beautiful and bright is totally awesome. It’s a gift to be able to do it, and to share it.

  48. Your daughter is seriously the cutest thing ever. And I am not just saying that – because honestly, I don’t typically say things like that about children. She is 100% ADORABLE!!!!!!!

    And we should never have to take down XMAS trees. My family has a fake one and to be honest, I think my mom kept it up since last XMAS, lol!

  49. I love this post and everything about it! Those photos (and how you get them to be so gorgeous what with all the jumping and the people and everything is a mystery to me) and the fire seat and that feeling of waiting for life to begin and also at the same time realizing it has, indeed started. Love it all.

    And love those pillows. My backyard needs one too.

    • Thank you for the compliment! It makes me feel like I’m good at my job. It’s very challenging to get those photos and it’s mostly just tweaking manual settings, and being prepared with the right lens and place to stand.
      I’d like my whole backyard to be a jumping pillow. Well..half, I guess. Everyone needs a break sometimes.

  50. “Realizing and appreciating it often takes work.” This is so very true, and something I think many of us (me totally included) need to consciously work on. Great post, Tamara. 🙂

    • Well if you can make the jumping pillow happen, I’ll be over to take photos! Promise.
      So glad you smiled. It made me smile to think that the post made you smile!

  51. Oh how I’ve missed reading your blog! I can completely relate to this post. My whole thing currently is to enjoy the present moment and stop waiting for that moment when my life will start. When X, Y and Z happens then I will start truly living I’m always telling myself. I really love the perspective you put on this. And the photos of Scarlet were amazing and went so well with this.

    • I’ve missed having you here! I can’t wait to hear all about Pig & Dac. Dac is probably running by now. Des is unstoppable. Seriously. Can someone stop him for five minutes?

  52. I think that too – has my life begun? Am I smack dab in the middle of it all? Is this all there is to it? Is it not enough? Too much?

    I have been blessed – the dark spots in my life haven’t been many. I haven’t suffered many losses (thank you God). And I worry that because I’ve been skating through 37 years of my life, my next 37 (if I am so lucky to have that many more years), I’ll really have to carry the burdens of life. That’s a little too dark isn’t it?

    So, to life. And the bright spots.

    • Hey, maybe not. My friend is a year younger than me (31 or 32, I think) and she’s never had a terrible heartbreak or lost a close family member. Never. And I feel that’s a blessing.
      Mine started too soon – at age four – but I’m not saying it’s been endless losses since then.
      It’s just that when you love a lot, inevitably, you have a lot to lose.
      And on the bright side, a lot, lot, lot to love.

  53. I have to remind myself constantly: this is it. This is my life. My one life. Be here, right now. This is your life, Shana. Live it. Now.

    I actually read this post a few days ago, and am coming back to comment now. Both times, these photos made me smile. Thanks for sharing.

  54. Oh I love love love this (those photos!). I do find myself stuck in those spaces where I wonder when my life will begin and yet amazed that my life actually has begun and is the here and now. Like Shana said, I often have to remind myself to be here right now.

    • That’s the advice everyone told me about my wedding day. They said it so wisely as if they were the first to say it. The same people who say, “enjoy your baby. They grow up so fast.” Anyway, I didn’t take that advice to my wedding day, so much as I took it to the kids’ births. I really was present then. Present as all get out! I try to channel that a lot.

  55. scarlet has such zest. i love how she is dressed up like rapunzel. i wish i had the initiative to get dressed up every day like her! always look good because you just never know what life has in store for you, and you might as well look your best! and be your best!

  56. Pingback: The Most Memorable Photo Shoot I've Ever Had. - Tamara Like Camera

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