Married on the Front Deck: My Little Sister's Chesapeake Beach Wedding

I've been rooting them for more than a dozen years.

They said they do on the edge of the bay, surrounded by parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses and a whole lot of kids.

It was so simple. 

And honest.

And I think every one of the thirty-two of us who were witnesses would agree: it was damn near perfect.

this is all i have

Where can we store these memories?

What card catalogue can we access to pull each moment back and hold it in our hands, shifting it in the light, inspecting it with eyes wrinkled from experience?

I want to go back to when they were each brand new. And to when they each crawled, padded butts skyward. I want to go back to the first words that I have forgotten. To the weight of smaller bodies with arms around my neck. I want to go back to the first time I smelled their hair straight from the ocean. I want to see their tear-streaked faces turn to smile upon seeing me at the doorway.

But this is all I have. This record of the way light hit chemicals and was then transferred to pixel.

It is a cold substitute for the feeling of soft, padded toes, or the way it feels to pull my fingers through their sun-streaked, tangled hair.

Here they are, running through the woods. Here they are walking along the water's edge. 

Here they are during the era of the fedora. Upon waking from a nap that will cease to exist soon enough. Here they are while they can still be held.

These are not enough.

These are all I have.

little golden poems

 

My goal as a photographer is to see you. And to hear you. And to understand you, so that when I send you a gallery of photos you recognize the best parts of yourself. And you celebrate them.

 

So there is something about my relationship with Sarah and Sue that makes me feel selfish. Because when I work with them, I feel seen and heard and understood. They have supported me over and over again this past year. They invite me to keep coming back to create with their family, and it is a relationship that is deeply fulfilling. Their support gives me confidence, and it challenges me to grow and learn in an effort to bring them my best. I want to be be the person and artist they make me believe they see in me.

 

what she teaches

I'm hard on words. Especially words for labeling. Even more especially words for labeling that people use to describe themselves.

It is completely unfair, as my wise twelve-year-old daughter pointed out to me. We need those words, and even though it can be uncomfortable to use them, it's all we've got.

One such au courant label being creative as a noun. In case you aren't familiar with somewhat self-involved arty circles, it's basically used to mean artist. However, in my own mind, it also seems to leave open the possibility that you may or may not have to have any particular skill or talent, but rather just want to be attached to a certain vibe/group/ idea. 

 

Again, I'm not really being fair. Because as much as I hate the way the word is being bandied about, it is sort of useful. I think there are a whole lot of us out there that feel like we are artists somewhere deep inside, but we don't really know how to bring that desire to light. We like to make things and play with words. We notice light and pay attention to color. We try our hands at different mediums and want to think about what it all means, but we would never really feel comfortable with the word artist. So maybe creative feels like "artist lite",  but it also feels like at times it is "artist who has yet to settle into a few select mediums".

This second possible definition is my daughter Sena. In November she wrote a novel. She art journals every day. She designs spaces in her mind. Memorizes monologs. Is teaching herself how to sing watching youtube videos. She acts in plays and practices yoga. She studies medicinal plants and challenged herself to write 30 scenes in thirty days. Her newly launched Instagram melts my heart.

She is a creative, whatever that word means, but stripped of all artifice or pretension. She does this stuff because it is central to her being. 

What just might be most touching of all is the way that she encourages her wannabe parents. The way she makes us want to keep creating and experimenting and exploring.