Stokes Family

Wonderfully and Perfectly Made

In college I was a part of a reading program that helped at-risk students. We were required to pick out a book to read together once a week; the idea was to work on reading fluency, comprehension, etc. I remember going to the local bookstore and picking up C.S Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew. As I flipped through the pages of the book, I imagined what it would be like to introduce the beauty Narnia to my own children. In that moment, I began dreaming of what being a mother of an elementary aged reader would be like--magical.

The most misleading part of motherhood is the dream of motherhood-- turning dreams into expectations. In my fantasies, I pictured myself curled up with my children, delving into adventures and relationships with books in a way that I experienced as a child. In all of my time spent imagining the future, I failed to factor in the actual journey. Would we struggle with processing? Would we feel frustrated with the process of learning? Abandoning my own plan and embracing the journey is a type of vulnerability that not only forces me to see the beauty of the REAL in my own family but also appreciate how hard won each sight word victory is for my hardworking son.

As a special ed teacher, I never dreamed of being on the parental side of a learning disability. But here I sit— I am on the other side of the table, and I feel vulnerable. I am educated and prepared to help children in this position, but I find myself in my own brain stutter. I want to step in and fix it for my son, but this is something he has to do for himself. He is wonderfully and perfectly made; I can only give him the tools and watch him grow. At this very moment, reading is our challenge. It hasn’t come with the ease I dreamed of all those years ago. As with any new adventure, I know there will be frustration, laughter, and tears from us both. As his mother I FEEL his frustration and anxieties, and I wear them on my shoulders like they are my own. Fear and doubt is a funny beast; it suffocates and keeps us from our truest potential, but that’s not going to happen here because we are striving for progress, not perfection. We can do hard things when we put forth time and effort and don't compare ourselves to others. Out of our mistakes and frustrations there is growth, IF we acknowledge it. I make no promises that this is going to be easy, but I know that he is brave and can do hard things.


I see our destination sitting on the bookshelf.. .into the woods we must go. The way may not be clear, but we’ll reach a magical destination together.


Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Up next is the amazingly talented  Diana Hagues click here to follow the link.

You can also read more about Artifact Motherhood by clicking here.

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

I’ve been surrounded by boys all of my life, and I never imagined I’d be blessed with two pretty daughters. I truly thought my fate was sealed as a boy mom. Now that I have you two,  I can't help but reflect on how the prettiest, most influential women in my life instilled important values and morals--purity, kindness and patience.

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Survive

Survival has been my theme for the month of January.  Two hundred and fifty-two days, that’s how far along I am into pregnancy number four. In a few short weeks, we’ll be welcoming a new son or daughter into our family. I wish I could write how elated and energized I feel; however, the physical and emotional strain of this season have taken a toll. My nights are restless and my energy depleted even before my day begins, leaving me guilt ridden and impotent in the light of my children’s faces.  

Now, more than ever, amid all my aches and pains, I am driven to find the beauty and joy in the everyday--to push myself toward intentionality--not an easy thing to do lately. It seems like there is always a need to be met, small hands wrapped around my legs, never ending laundry cycles, and a mess to be cleaned: the monotonous never-ending to-do list and countless distractions. By the end of the day, my bones, my body and my mind ache. It is when I slow down and appreciate each new stage, new milestone, and the nostalgic moments my three children often evoke of my own childhood that my to-do list, aches and pains melt away. They are no match for the beauty, love, and joy found in these moments.

This is how I survive.


Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Up next is the amazingly talented  Ann Bloom click here to follow the link.

You can also read more about Artifact Motherhood by clicking here.

First Snow

First Snow

The first snow of the season is always magical. When I watch my children experience something new for the first time, I can’t help but feel a little bit nostalgic for my own childhood. Being a native Texan, snow was exciting and special; despite the cold temperatures, I wanted nothing more than to hear the snow crunch under my boots.

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Confidence

Confidence

Our school drop off looks very different than last year. Instead of walking you into school, I drive you to the steps and watch you walk in all by yourself. I must confess, drop off is even more emotional than walking you in on your first day of school. It was the day reality sank in. You’re more than capable of doing so many things without me. As bittersweet as this may be, I couldn't be more proud of you and your new found confidence.

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Summer of Transitions

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first--how exciting that time was! I started to meticulously lay out my plans. I imagined seamless transitions and the perfectly well behaved little boy he would be. “Oh I’ll never let my son do that” I’d tell myself.

It’s funny how my perfectly laid plans were tossed out the window no sooner than 48 hours after he arrived. Three children later, and I can’t help but laugh at how silly I was. There are no seamless transitions, and I can make plans all I want, but I have to accept that plans are subject to change on a whim.

Ironically, as I’m writing this, I planned to have my daughter napping. When in reality, she’s full steam ahead to dropping her afternoon nap.


Our family is going through a lot of new transitions and changes this summer:  watching my youngest go from infant to toddler overnight,  transitioning from being a preschooler to an elementary student, debuting new attitudes and conflicts with my oldest.

As a mother, these phases are hard to handle, but they are even more difficult for my children. In the most chaotic of moments, they look to me to help them anchor their emotions. I rise to the occasion calming storms, kissing wounds, guiding them as they navigate their own relationships.  I do this using patience I didn't know I was capable of expressing ... most of the time.


I'm navigating through the waters without any maps or sense of direction. One tool I have is faith. Faith that I'm making the right decisions on my children's behalf. Faith that it's all going to workout for the best. Faith that my children are going to get through the next hurdle unscathed

This is the summer of transitions and ever evolving and dissolving plans. This is where my spiritual faith becomes my life line; it always eases my anxieties and forces me to accept that I am really not in control. I have faith in the goodness of God's plan--even if His plan is different than mine. My hope is that my children learn this a lot sooner than I did.

Welcome to Artifact Motherhood. This is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back.These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Up next is the amazingly talented April Christoper, click here to follow along.

You can also read more about Artifact Motherhood by clicking here.

Like a Child

Like a Child

At this very moment I’m sitting in our living room watching the sun slip below the roofline. It’s last rays illuminating a trail of legos and trucks strung across the floor. I have no intention of picking any of it up. I’m utterly exhausted from a weekend full of lots of adventure and exploring.  Right now I'm wanting nothing more than to climb into bed and close my eyes. This is how many, many of my evenings end. Your dad and I put you three to bed. I come down stairs and analyze everything that wasn't able to get done; making mental notes for the next day. The house is quiet and in this little bit of time, I can be still. 

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