There's really nothing I love more than capturing a family being a family. That's why I'm so passionate about the "day in the life" sessions. I get an inside view of what bonds a family, their connections and even quirks. When I got the opportunity to do a session with Sandra and her family, I was so beyond thrilled. Sandra has been a friend and fellow photographer for a few years now, and I knew her family was fun, but I didn't know how fun. I mean, what's better than a day that starts with monopoly, followed by kites in the park and dinner at Chucks with a food truck and a beer. This family plays hard and loves deep! Oh, and did I mention that both Dexter and Harvey shoot film cameras, sure fire way to my heart!
I'm going to attempt to find words…I've written and deleted this about 5 times. I was in Texas at a photo retreat when I got the call. Heather, my best friend, had been taken to the ER. They found a brain tumor and she was scheduled for emergency surgery to remove it. My heart stopped beating. My world was rocked, because Heather is my rock. We've been friends for well over a decade, and most of my best memories are with her. We've seen over 100 concerts together, traveled overseas, been on multiple road trips, cried through heart aches, celebrated new loves, moved to Seattle, completed two marathons and birthed two beautiful babies.
It's so hard not to ask "why" when something like this happens. Heather was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is very rare, especially for a female her age. Why her, this new mom who fought like hell to get her little Sofia? Why her, a pediatric oncology nurse who specializes in brain tumors? That right, she takes care of sick babies with cancer?!?! I still have no answers to those questions. What I have learned is despite being scared as shit, she has stood tall. She braved radiation, courageously shaved her head, graciously opened her heart and home to family and friends wanting to help and embraced this new life. All this while caring for a beyond adorable 6 month old.
I've never loved someone with cancer, not like this. I've seen that it can bring beautiful gifts and can be an ugly monster. It can be a reminder to cherish every moment, to hold those close a little tighter, to stop and breathe in the new blossoms of spring. It can also steal your energy, your hair and your days as you spend them in treatment. It comes with a suitcase full of emotion; compassion, fear, anger, gratitude, emptiness, courage, resentment, love and compassion.
Heather, my dearest beautiful ginger.
Thank you for letting me share in this journey with you.
Thank you for letting me hold a small part of it for you.
Thank you for showing me true courage.
And Thank you for letting me do the one thing I know how to do, honor you through my lens.
You are my rock, my person and I love you more than words...
It's been months since I've blogged, 6 months to be exact. I've even contemplated whether I wanted to come back to this blog. Somehow, with life being as it is, it seems petty, inconsequential. The last six month have been downright shitty. In six months I've stared death in the eyes as Lucca seized, my husband lost his job, I moved out as my marriage fell apart and my best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. It's been full of pain, sorrow, grief, self-doubt, numbness, anger, self-destruction and fear. It's effected my family, my friendships, my motherhood, my creativity and my career. And although some days I wasn't able to see life's gifts as they were presented, I'm starting to pull the cobwebs away and see light. I've realized that within the darkness, small treasures lie waiting to be discovered.
Lucca crushed the monkey bars. He now can tie his shoes all on his own. He loves walking on opposite sides of the street, proving his independence. He learned how to read and write and can chop parsley like a boss. I got the directors choice in a gallery show. My best friend and I can still laugh at our inappropriate jokes and dish on life. Through her illness, my friendships have a new richness as we navigate this journey together. And yesterday I shot six rolls of film, which was the first day inspiration has found me since November. These small gifts are lifting my spirit.
So, is this blog petty, inconsequential? Only if I don't show up authentically. I've hesitated blogging, because what I had to write wasn't happy or pretty. But, if I'm not willing to be vulnerable and honest about my life, how can I ever ask that of others? At the end of the day, this is life. My life.
Here are the lovely ladies of Phorgy in black and white. They are stunning, lovely, quirky, raw, authentic ladies. They are my soul sisters. I love them.
I had this idea to plan a retreat with some photographers I admire in hopes to soak up some of their knowledge and talent. That was the plan, and that definitely happened. What I hadn't planned on was meeting lifelong friends who's instant bond didn't need explaining, a group of people who understood and accepted me. They are insanely talented, perfectly crazy, hilarious, supportive, inspiring and honest. It was an incredible experience, one that left me with loads of memories, inside jokes, photos, friends and a new annual tradition. They are my elephants, the video at the end will explain why.
My dearest Lucca,
You are growing up so quickly, and I haven't written you in a while. You are such a loving, affectionate, vibrant little boy. You have a zeal for life, a curious mind and a strong soul. You are stubborn and emotional, both of which will serve you well in life. You are our herder dog, always wanting everyone to be together and happy. You love superheroes, bugs, soccer, reading and snuggling with a movie. You are learning how to spell and can do double digit addition. I love watching you grow, each day brings new conversations and milestones.
Thank you for always helping me cook, letting me take copious amounts of photos of you, dancing with me in the kitchen, picking me flowers and being my partner in any adventure. Thank you for trusting me to hold your vulnerable, tender side.
I am so blessed to be your mother. You are perfect, just as you are my crazy one.
Love you to the moon and back.
Heidi is crazy goofy, determined, with a huge heart. Aaron is calm, quiet, and fiercely loyal. Fisher is a perfect blend of both. And I love them all dearly!