Double digits you guys...double digits. It's never been a secret that I am somewhat of an emotional and sentimental creature, so this milestone birthday hit me just as it should. Arrow to the heart. Milestones with this oldest child are always my milestones as well. Ten years of life for her, ten years of motherhood for me. It's big stuff.
People often ask me how I got started in photography, and that again comes down to this milestone. I took a course in high school, and always loved taking photos. However, the intensity and the drive to document moments arrived with Halle. I guess we could call her my muse.
So, as I stop to share these images and mark this time...this decade...it is important to me to jot down some words to fill them out and help me remember. To remember how we had a mother-daughter battle over what pants she would wear for these photos. She wanted yoga pants...."but Mom....I wore jeans for you LAST year." Clearly I am a stubborn ox of a mother and won this battle. To remember the emergence of her increasing sass and wit. Her ability to banter with me and say things that I can literally hear rolling off my own tongue (Note to self: tone down the sass). Watching her climb the hill with exuberance and excitement. She is an explorer...loves discovering things...IF she feels safe. The hormonal tsunami that is already starting to come in undulating waves. I want to remember the leap from primary to intermediate. That subtle, but distinct change in her school life. The things she is learning...not just from books, but from watching those around her grow and face challenges. Her heart is extremely tender and inquisitive. She sees friends in her life hurting; she watched her sister...our whole family...go through a scary time of sickness; she learned her precious Auntie has cancer (and is going to completely kick it's butt)...and she is increasingly understanding what these things mean. Her feelings and comprehension are going beyond primary and she is making connections that wouldn't have been made a handful of years ago.
And everything in me wants to grab a giant receiving blanket, and swaddle her up like I used...to protect her from this next decade. I remember this decade that literally took me from girl to wife (and trust me...there is NO way this child will be a 19 year old bride like her mother), and I can't believe she's taking her own steps into it already. But I can't swaddle her...they don't make swaddling blankets that big for a reason. So I must learn to just hold her hand...when she lets me. To watch her run up the hill ahead of me like she did for these pictures. To teach her that I am always waiting at the bottom, and watch as she jumps and twirls at the top. To prove myself steadfast, and continually try and hold loosely, to pray fervently, as I already know she is in the best of hands. And when the waves of hurt and anger and tears come, to relish the opportunity and once again hold her against myself and be her home, as my momma was to me. That's my plan for this next decade. .I'll let you know how it goes.
Happy Birthday to my baby girl...I love you so.