Recently, a local magazine asked me to photograph a family to accompany an article. I swallowed my insecurity and said yes, I’d be honored.
I knew I was to photograph a nonverbal little girl who communicates with an iPad. I drove into the country and knocked on a big white door. Greeted by three eager boys, I stepped into a home totally outfitted for people of all ages and abilities. The couple has nine children. Two biological, seven adopted and eight with special needs. I viewed this family through the small box of my camera and felt my body swell with love. That’s all that was there: a family who loves. We all have a different way, a different journey. There are so many ways to experience success and fulfillment.
I left the photo shoot and, at the first stop sign I came to, I was struck by the view’s poignancy.
Dead Ends don’t exist. Only Different Paths.
I know what it is to be in a hurry, to feel annoyed at my kids’ walking-through-peanut-butter pace to get ready. Come on! We’re late! Put the cat down! Get your shoes on! You know what I’ve learned (and am still learning)? This:
Take a breath and let children be.
When I take it down a notch and let my kids skip wildly and inefficiently through tasks, it doesn’t really take any more time. And we are all happier. Zipping a coat, buckling a car seat, opening a jar, walking into the post office, cutting up pancakes, putting on tights… Oh my goodness it can take forever. Yes, I can do it all faster. But my stepping in to “help” when they haven’t asked for it steals their wonder and quickly changes the mood from joyful to anxious. And what are we living for? Adventure and happiness. Relationships and passions.
Time will keep passing and every minute is an opportunity.
I love to spend time outside. And I live in Montana, where it is cold and snowy many months of the year. I struggled to find winter boots that satisfied my criteria: functional (warm and tough) and beautiful (hip and fun). Most boots that can stand up to my sledding, hiking, schlepping were some variation of large and brown. And the ones I like aesthetically, were poor performers. Until! I discovered the Sorel ’88 Boot. This boot was created by Sorel for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary and rereleased to the public a few years ago. They are funky and cute AND, most importantly, super warm, waterproof and durable.