Motherhood with a Camera: Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo

(i write a letter to my daughter every month. part of a project i share with a group of mothers, started by amy lucy, who have become more than friends. no matter the words, we all share this world of feelings, like gravity on our hearts and lives. but the words do matter. they turn the storm into specifics. into something we can share and cherish and refer to when everything changes around us, within us. if you do this already, you know. if you don't yet, i so highly recommend it. it will matter.)


“the core reason for it all was beauty. walking was a divine delight. everything was rewritten when he was up in the air. new things were possible with the human form. it went beyond equilibrium.

he felt for a moment uncreated. another kind of awake.”

- colum mccann

my baby girl,

you are still that. you are always that. this new and wild and and growing force. the arc of a wave of all that is good. from somewhere else, somewhere better. it is in the tiny things, the beauty that comes out of your mouth, the pure place you seem to start, when the rest of us wear scratches from thorns. i wonder, ‘can this last?’ i have been wondering this since you were a year old. because light came from your fingertips, and all you have ever had to do is point one our way. i wonder less and less, and worry less too. i listen from the kitchen as you teach your brother at the pretend school, “i will teach you how to love”. i listen as a simple washcloth in the shower, made in pakistan, unlocks all the economic injustice of the world, child labor, your ever spilling over heart. i watch as you tenderly and instinctively know exactly what to say, as your best friend loses her dad. you are you, and it is always more than enough. you have had loss in so many different incarnations. and yet you are still on your feet. and you hardly walk. you dance. i felt you on the verge of a road that broke, and watched you jump in the mud, make the bridge across, smiling, thoughtful, and pick a new one nearby. one leading to a clearing.

when i was little, and not so little too, i was afraid of the blank page. i could sketch anything i saw, but i was terrified with nothing in front of me, when i had to close my eyes to see. i could not bear not knowing. i could not handle not getting it right. it took years of unraveling and untying knots to let in the wonder. you were the beginning. the crack in the shell to the outside. you were light pouring in when i was frozen. but you have none of this. you cannot help it, as much as i slowly learned i could. your mind is the mother of so many characters with sweet and tiny stories and faces, of lines and arcs and ideas. you are about becoming, and you sweep up the world when you grow.

we went to the ocean last week, and you were as wild and beautiful and brave as you have ever been. in a tiny, steep cove, the beach as narrow as our living room, the waves strong and turquoise and high, you were the lone soul called to them. a teenager was scolded by his mother to get down off the rocks, with you at his side. i waited. i bit my lip. and waited. and watched you with your arms out, in a stance of joy and freedom, posed only by your nature. and still, i waited. and i felt the other beachgoer’s eyes through to my spine, which held straight. for you. to let you feel what you needed to, as much as i needed to run to you. and then i saw them. a line of three giants waiting to carry you off with them, coming slowly and getting higher as they rolled. and i handed off my camera to a woman behind me, set your brother, in his tiny cocoon towel, against the rock wall, and i ran like i hadn’t since i was twelve. i ran into the waves and held you close and watched your face turn white for two seconds. before you threw back your head, smiling, alive, wanting more. you went right back out again, this time finding a tiny cave. and somehow i wanted to follow you. since you were tiny, your teachers have always been telling me about the way you move on, and find yourself. i am only glad they are able to see it.

i loved you first,


About Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo, based in San Diego, CA:  Website Facebook  | Contact