If I Should Have a Daughter....

This poem will always make me think of Jackie and Josie and vice versa. I was so honored to photograph these two the last time I went home to Chicago. Love you guys <3 

“If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.” 

― Sarah Kay

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Tangled

“Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.” 
― Ally Condie

This weekend, I sat on the floor with this person I have known for 20 years and ate mac and cheese. But this time there was a baby there, too.

No one really talks about the beautiful mind fuck that is seeing someone you've grown up with become a mother.

It's been four days since I've met Max, and I still can't get over it. The way Amy looks at him and touches him and rushes to his side when he cries.

Capturing this family whose roots are tangled with mine has been one of my greatest pleasures since I picked up a camera this fall.  

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How to Navigate the Photography World with an Infertility Diagnosis

So, I don't actually have an answer for this. I don't know how to navigate the photography world with unexplained infertility. I just wanted to talk about it.

I'm not sure it can be done. I have zero pain when it comes to photographing families. I consider this a huge blessing. Family sessions are my favorite thing to do, and I love holding your baby so I can get a picture of mom and dad alone. 

But it's not just me and you. Photography is so much about community. It's not just about me and my clients; it's about me and other photographers, photography groups and social media accounts. 

As a photographer, especially when you're new to the game, you have to figure out where you fit in to all this.

Where do you belong? 

You can't be a successful photographer if you live in a vacuum. You have to be active on all the pages -- getting inspiration, participating in weekly fave and themed submissions.

This is where I've started to see a disconnect. So many photographers have children of their own. So many pages are geared towards mom photographers. 

It's one more way for someone struggling with infertility to be on the outside looking in. 

It's one more way for someone struggling with infertility to be reminded that they don't really belong -- anywhere.

This week, I've felt like throwing in the towel. I've unfollowed a lot of important accounts. It's not just the complicated feelings that come along with constantly seeing pictures of baby bellies and peachy newborns -- it's feeling like you can't participate.

During the busy season, I had lots of client photos to share and submit, but now I don't. For most photographers, they can post photos of their children in place of clients until spring when sessions start to pick up.

I don't have that luxury. 

It's not that I don't love these beautiful images. I do. I love the documentary style that comes along with photographing your children in your home. It's so, so beautiful and important. 

But I implore you, photography world, to invite me in. Tell me where I belong. Help me find a way to coexist with you despite this terrible, painful thing called infertility. 

 

 

A Special Merry & Bright at the Tree Farm

"As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm." -- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christa's Christmas tree tradition dates back to her own childhood, when her mom used this same Stanley thermos for hot chocolate.

She lost her mom this year and told me that filling this thermos with hot chocolate before our session moved her to tears.

Now I look at these pictures and I see Deb.

She's still with us in so many ways from her legacy that shines through her daughters to the small, seemingly meaningless things like a thermos at a Christmas tree farm.

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 Book your Merry &amp; Bright session today!

Book your Merry & Bright session today!

A Day in the Life of the Deusterman Gang

This family is everything I ever wanted to photograph.

I loved that mom and I shared a vision for an unconventional family session. 

As she put it, "We don't sit around smiling pretty in parks. We throw leaves in each other's faces and laugh."

I was honored to capture the spirit and energy of this family. 

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A Quintessential Fall Family Date

Autumn carries more gold in its pockets than all the other seasons.
— Jim Bishop

I've enjoyed more fall this year than I have in a long time! Getting to hang out with cool families in beautiful parks and pumpkin patches is a definite job perk. 

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A Day in the Life: Gutierrez Family

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
— Cesare Pavese

Watching your closest friends being parents is an indescribable feeling. Karen was my best friend through high school and beyond. I remember daydreaming out loud about each other's futures, and now I get to watch her in her element -- with Sergio and the girls. 

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Contact me to book a special day-in-the-life session for your family.