"someone i loved once gave me a box of darkness. it took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift."
- mary oliver
there are the eyes on our heads, and then there are the eyes that are rooted from within. they have seen every disappointment, every loss, every fear and revelation and comfort. the best pictures i take are born of these eyes. the WAY i love comes from knowing how much i would give for it. there is a back story to this love story of mine. i am the photographer i am because i am the mother i am. i am the mother i am because of the person i have been, learning, walking through some dark things, growing strong, finding my voice, using it in all my honesty. sometimes things do not go the right way, but they lead us right where we need to be. the life i have now is a gift. simple things that i know are everything. the fight in me turned out to be the love that i feel so fiercely. i have walked through times that seemed better forgotten, sealed far away from my heart, only to realize that some of the sweetest memories of my daughter were mixed in like points of light, cutting the dark, showing us the way.
i have only a few pictures of my little girl when she was very young, though i took many. every one of those pictures is laced with a memory, a key to a world that we shared, the rest that we lost. the moments, the memories are all i have. i appreciate every single messy detail now in a way i would have never known. i want my kids to have the space to figure out who they need to be, and the freedom and safety to make their own rules and friends and opinions. i know what it feels like to yearn for these things, and no one will ever feel a drop of that in my presence.
we all have stories. use the story of who you are and how you came to this place. use the shadows and light as they mingle, in the world and in your own soul.
so often, i only have a minute. or i know that it's all i'm willing to ask of them, before i become the mother without the camera in her face. we never know which minutes will become indelible in our memories, which ones we will root for when we need them most. i have paid for these eyes, i have won them, they have been a gift. i will use them gratefully.