Just Show Up.

This week, Dillon and Nora and I all began a journey together otherwise known as sleep-training (insert all of the sympathy and caffeine and chocolate and tissues).  And to be honest, it could be worse.  It also could definitely be better, but it could be worse.  We're trying a potpourri of methods and I won't bore you with all of the details, but at the end of the day, we've reserved the right to have everything completely backwards and to change our minds on our strategy as we see fit.

And Nora, precious-sweet-baby-lamb, is not a fan.

It'll start with her babbling, which then becomes yelling and eventually will turn into crying.  Dillon or I will go into her room, calm her down, remind her that it's bedtime and that we're right outside, and then we put her back into her crib to sleep.  She'll then proceed to scream with even more gusto until we come back in her room 10-15 minutes later.  Repeat this cycle and you'll get a vivid picture of how we've been spending our evenings lately.

But what I find so precious (and I actually mean previous and not in a sarcastic way) is that sometimes just seeing her mom or dad come into her room will cause her crying to stop.  Just us showing up is all that she needs to calm down.  I want Nora to be a beautifully independent girl as she grows, but there is something so so sweet about her needing to see us and have us near in order to feel calm.

At the same time that we are in the midst of all learning how to sleep better, I'm experiencing my own struggles with photography.  I've taken a leap and have publicly declared that I want to connect with families and tell their stories through photos and I gotta tell you, it's a slow growth.  To be honest, it still feels a bit "fake" to call myself a photographer.  

That's how I felt the other morning after posting a photo that I personally loved, but one that didn't "perform well" on social media.  I felt defeated and frustrated after (no-joke) hours of putting in the work.  I posted strategically, used specific hashtags, shared things that are "in-line with my personal brand", you name it.  I did everything "by the book", and yet it didn't feel like I was making progress.  And as I wrestle weekly with the hustle of fully committing to my marriage and my family and my job and now this new passion project, I gotta say how disappointing it is to not see the immediate fruits of my labor.

That is the vulnerable side of being a creator.  

Sometimes, you "crush it" and the ideas and execution collide to make an amazing product, and not only are you proud of what you created, but others notice as well.  Other times, "crushing it" looks like just showing up and realizing that maybe you haven't worked out all of the kinks, but you are committed to trying again, as many times as it takes until you find something that works.  "Just showing up" is sometimes its own type of victory, one that can't be measured by minutes of sleep or comments on a photo.  

So here is to all of you, the ones who are in that middle ground between quitting and pressing on, whether that be in your job or your marriage or in parenting or in that new skill you are learning.  Know that moments of success are built upon even more moments of "just showing up".

This doesn't have to be the end of the story.  Keep showing up.