Today, we have the great pleasure of introducing to you our friend, Marissa who lives in Belgium with her hubby and two divine little girls Amélie and Esmée. Marissa is a self-taught photographer (she may not call herself ‘a photographer’ but we sure do- her imagery is unique, soft and heartwarming), who showcases her imagery through her Instagram account @__mesfillesmavie__ Here, she also has created a world of support, lasting friendships and a genuine following of other moms who appreciate that well-sought-after simple European style, the purity of childhood and honest mothering.
Marissa writes to us the night of her “bébé’s” first birthday… she shares the story of her sweet girls, her love for family, her photography hobby, her loss, strength and appreciation for everyday spent with her little ones and hubby.
I have two girls. Amélie 4 and Esmée turned 1 today
Amélie is such a wonderful girl. She is very sensitive and has a big heart. She wants everybody to be happy around her. She hates it when I feel sad. She always wants to fix my smile and heart… And you know what. It works. She wipes my tears, gives me a hug and climbs on my lap. When I feel the heat of her breath in my neck I just realise I have to be strong and grateful and it makes me smile again. She is four but just finds the perfect words… In every situation.
From the day her sister was born she was in love. Really. Her sister means the world for her. She wasn’t jealous for one minute… Everybody told me- “Oooh that will change.” I’m still waiting haha. But of course, she can have her moments…. Just like every four year old when she is mad or tired. I just ignore those moments. Patience is a great virtue.
My bébé… Esmée- Oh where shall I start. We call her our wonder girl. After three miscarriages I was pregnant again. A girl. I always saw myself as a girls mom. So I was over the moon. But it was so double… It were the worst nine months. Always so afraid we would loose our little bébé. And I was worried…. I couldn’t believe that I could love someone as much as I love my Amélie. To me, she was the meaning of love and life. But when Esmée was born. I knew it right away: love doesn’t divide. It multiplies. Two months ago she fought for her life due to a bacterial infection. We were in the hospital for four weeks. We were so worried. We were so in pain. We had so many doubts. But that little girl showed us she wanted to live. She was so strong. And she came back. Stronger then ever. I was with her from the day she was born. Never a day apart. And that is so special. When I look in her eyes I just know she will do great things in life. She already did. She is such a warm hearted child. That’s why we call her “wonder girl”. I didn’t share Esmées story on Instagram out of pity. I just wanted people to know that behind those pictures there are a real mom, dad and children who do have their worries and doubts. How beautiful a universe on Instagram can be. We’re only human. Some people seem to forget that. But I was amazed by all the sweet, encouraging words from all those moms on IG. Day after day. It made us survive those four horrible weeks. That’s the good part of Instagram. I met some great moms who I can call friends. Even I didn’t meet a lot of them.
We live in Belgium. The Flemish part. We also have a French, German and a Brussels region part. It is so complicated… Even for me. Litlle note: We can cross our whole country in about four hours. I love where I live. We live in a small village in the green. As you know we love the outdoors it’s the perfect place to walk and cycle. Schools, shops are only a five minute ride with the car. I love that. Makes life with kids so much more easier. As we live in a small village we know our neighbours. I lived in Brussels for four years… I still don’t know who my neighbours were. Haha. I like it the way it is now. It gives me a safe and comfortable feeling.
We love staying at home. Watching tv, stay in our pj’s the whole day in front of the stove or just play a memory game. But our favourite thing is visiting new small villages in the country but also new cities… As long as we’re together as a family of four. So important for us to do those things together. The smile on my girls faces when we spent our days together fills my heart with happiness also seeing my hubby laughing and playing with those two makes my heart melt. He is such a caring dad. Oh those girls are so lucky to have him.
Till the day Esmée was born I had a fulltime job at the local government. The week before Esmée got sick I told my boss I was going to stay home with the girls for another year… My hubby and I thought a long time about it but it felt so good. After what happened with my bébé I realised more and more each day that it was and is the best decision ever. I want to soak up their childhood. Be there for them when they come back from school. Bake cake, make snowmen, walk in the rain… The truth is. You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride. Nothing is guaranteed.
And photography… I love love taking pics. Especially for my girls. But when I’m on a trip I photograph buildings, fountains and locals. Oh yes. I am that lady with a canon around my neck… But now I also have my phone in my right hand. I never thought I would love iPhone pics. When I first was on Instagram I never posted an iPhone pic. Makes me laugh. So silly when I think about it now. But hey… Those phones make great shots. And now at home I have to force myself to take my Canon from under the dust. I am just too lazy. But I can’t deny… Nothing beats a Canon shot! Oh yes there is a lot of difference. One day I will probably hate myself for taking so less “real” pics. I love VSCO. I use the T1 filter. The filter just suits our way of life.
And what about me. I am 35 just like the hubby. We also have a dog, Elza. A German shorthair pointer, 8 rabbits and about 50 fish in our pond. But I don’t think anyone is interested in that story haha. I am a dreamer. I always have the greatest plans and ideas. But don’t ask if they are very realistic cause they aren’t. But I hope that today, the day my bébé, turned 1, will be a new start. Just our life back on track. And maybe 2015 will be our year… If you want to know more about our daily life come and say hi @__mesfillesmavie__
THANK YOU Marissa for sharing your story, your kind words and appreciation for motherhood is heartfelt and so lovely. And thank you Amélie + Esmée for being so darn cute