Friday, March 6, 2015
I will be very honest with you - doing an 8 week session when mom and dad were hoping for a newborn (days 5 - 14) session was a little scary. They had been scheduled for earlier in the year but the snow..... well, you know the story. Two month olds seem HUGE compared to tiny little newborns and I was sure we'd never get this bundle to sleep. In fact, we didn't even try. I figured spending an hour of their valuable time trying to achieve something that was next to impossible wasn't the smartest use of our studio time. But boy look at the these. Silvia was AMAZING. she did fuss a bit and kick a lot but we were able to calm her (PLEASE ALWAYS BRING A PACIFIER WITH YOU!!!).. and managed to get a TON of different looks.. including some sleeping shots.... She was a doll!
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Sometimes rose-colored glasses are the wrong accessory
From the moment Teagan had her own room she’s had those glow in the dark stars on her ceiling. And every night as she lay down to sleep, we would recite Starlight star bright, first star I see tonight. She’d make a wish quietly to herself and then it was my turn. “What did you wish for mama?” “shhhh” I’d say. “It won’t come true if I tell but I promise it’s a good one”. Our ritual lasted years. My wish, every night year after year, was always the same. I wished for happiness. That we would all end up happy. I wasn’t. Six years later her father and I went our separate ways. My wish had never been for the three of us. It had been for each of us. He is a good, honest and decent man who loves his daughter with all his heart. I wanted happiness for him as much as for our daughter and myself. We just weren’t going to find it together.
This decision didn’t come easily or lightly but after years of soul searching the conclusion seemed clear enough …that it was better for our daughter to be raised by parents who were friends than in an unhappy and dishonest environment. Anyone who has ever been through this form of hell on Earth will know how painful it is to make this decision. How utterly hopeless and depressed it renders you and how insecure you feel in your choice no matter how sure you are in your heart. Without doubt we scar our children and leave them with emotional baggage they will carry with them their entire lives.
I think we handled the transition fairly well. Her father and I work together to assure Teagan she is loved and it “wasn’t her fault”. In the beginning we continued to spend time all together and for now we still make sure there are two parents there for birthdays and holidays. We say nice things about each other and make sure she knows that mom and dad are friends. She may not be in love with the idea that her parents are no longer together but I think she is coming to terms with it. Not wanting to endlessly talk about it… Teagan that is…we made a deal. I wouldn’t overwhelm her with oppressive ‘mother concern’ on a daily (dare I say hourly) basis but I would check in with her from time to time to see if she was okay or wanted to talk about anything.
It’s been almost three years and I am engaged and the happiest I’ve ever been. I know my daughter is happy for me. She now lives in a home with laughter and love and smiles and hugs and is seeing her mom at her best. I believe with all my heart that this is a good and right.
The other day I could tell something was up. Teagan was difficult and wrestles – I’m learning these are signs that something is bothering her. She’s a tough nut to crack and doesn’t open up easily. So I lay with her after the lights were out and spoke softly about how important it is to talk about your feelings. How just by sharing them it can make things seem better and that I was there for her if she ever needed to talk. After a long pause and with tears sliding down her cheeks she started to ask me questions. Questions about my parents. “Who left who Grandma or Grandpa?” Grandpa I said calmly. “Who found someone else sooner” Grandpa I said again, as flashes of my childhood flickered across my heart. “When did Grandma meet Papa?” “It wasn’t for 16 years,” I told her, tying to sound matter of fact. “How old will daddy be in 16 years?” Ahhhhh I saw where this was going. My sweet, emotional, empathetic child was beside herself with sadness that her dad was not dating. Would he be alone forever? Did I think he’d ever have a girlfriend? My heart ached with the weight of responsibility and knowing all too well how much it hurts to feel someone else’s pain.
So, I did what every overly protective mom does. I pulled out a nice pair of rose colored glassed and fit them on my daughter’s little tear-stained face. “Daddy’s just fine. He’s happy. Look at all the single people we know who are happy”. “It’s not for you to worry about.” “You just concentrate on 4th grade and friends and homework and ice-cream”. Words poured out of my mouth – anything to make her feel better. Anything to stop her from thinking or feeling unhappy or uncomfortable. What a good mom I was. With a polite sigh Teagan wiped her eyes and said, “Okay mama, good night” and rolled over to go to sleep.
It didn’t take more than five minutes after leaving her room to realize the horrible mistake I’d made. What had I done? After assuring my daughter she could open up to me and I’d take her problems seriously I’d completely dismissed her concerns. Teagan can spot BS a mile away. I had betrayed her trust and had given her nothing to help her deal with her feelings. I felt sick. I wanted to run back into her room and smash those stupid rose-colored glasses into pieces. What use are they in helping our children grasp and deal with big issues in life? Is it our responsibly to emotionally protect them or more importantly to emotionally prepare them? To teach them how to take what they sense or feel or believe to be bad or wrong or unfair and look at in a way that is constructive and comforting… especially if it isn’t something we can change? Isn’t it our job to teach them how to spin negative or worrying or upsetting feelings into something hopeful… how to find the positive in the negative instead of teaching them to deny, ignore or cover up their feelings. Boy had I screwed up.
It took me two days to pluck up the courage to approach her. “Teagan” I said one morning at breakfast. “I want to retract what I said about daddy the other night. Can I have a second chance?” Somewhat surprised and a little bemused she graciously agreed. My heart was already lighter. I sat beside her and started to tell her my story. The story of when my dad left my mom. Of the times I saw my mom cry and how I worried she wasn’t happy. But also about how when I looked at her what I saw was a strong, loving extraordinarily capable woman who I knew would survive. I shared how as I got older I wished every day that she’d meet someone and not be alone.
“So you see? I understand how you feel… and I think you are so kind and sweet for being concerned about your dad”. “ And the honest truth is Teagan, I don’t know if your dad is happy”. “But I do know a few things…” Then with the aid of a stick figure and lots of thought bubbles I drew pictures while we talked about what makes people happy. “In this bubble we’ll put work, and this one hobbies”. I explained as we surrounded our stick man with things like family, friends, kids and yes partners. “You see…” I tried to illustrate “Happiness comes from many areas in life not just one”. “Your job can make you happy and your friends and your family and just being you. Our happiness doesn’t rest solely on whether or not we have a special someone. Sometimes”, I went on hoping she was following me “ we don’t’ have happiness in all the areas of our life all the time…life is always changing and at times we’ll feel good about one area and not so good about others.”
Looking at our little stick man with all his bubbles, we decided that at this time in life, although he wasn’t dating, dad had a lot going for him, with friends and family and work and hobbies and a wonderful daughter. And that the future always held the promise of more.
Did I do the right thing telling her a person may not always find happiness in every area of their life? I think there is a time and place for wearing rose-colored glasses but this was not one of them. I hope I’ve given her a realistic and honest way to work through feelings. Showed her how you can still feel someone else’s unhappiness without letting it overwhelm you… how to find something positive in a situation that looks bleak or sad. I’d rather she pack that in her bag when she heads off to collage and save the rose-colored glass for Spring Break.
I still put Teagan to bed every night but now we read adventures like Tom Sawyer and Narnia. We rarely recite our little poem anymore. But every now and then we find ourselves looking up into the night sky and saying it for old times…
Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.
My wish… is always the same but the belief it will come true grows stronger with every star.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Monday, February 9, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
OMG - Karla was ADORABLE today... baby girl has two big brothers so mom was SUPER happy to have this little angel. She was so good... a bit fussy but once we got her settled she was just great.
Long couple of days and now I'm ready for a few days off to play in the snow! I hope everyone is staying warm!!!
Friday, January 23, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
well - I seem to have had a run of not-go-newborn newborns this month... this little guy is ... wait for it ... ONE MONTH old. I know, right! We all know that newborns are supposed to be photographed at 5 - 14 days for all sorts of reasons that I'll get into in another post so you can imagine how thrilled mom and I were when this little one decided to sleep for us. We got some amazing 'newborn' shots we hadn't expected. Full disclosure - this was the last 15 minutes of a 3 hour session and doesn't always happen when kids are this old but... with a patient mom and photographer anything is possible!!!!!
Friday, January 9, 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
By now you all know that 'newborn' session are usually day 5 - 12 ish... during this time the baby will sleep and isn't easily woken up. By three weeks some of this is gone and babies tend to not want to sleep through the session.
BUT that doesn't mean you can't have an amazing newborn session with your 3 week old. It does involve more wrapping and we'll get more eyes open but the images created are just as special and adorable... don't you think?
So, I've been playing around with all the wraps and fabrics I have including this amazing fuzz in the top picture. Julien did NOT want to settle so it was hard getting a good shot of his body too... not sure about this pose but loved the feel of the fuzz surrounding him!!