Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Misty Southern California Days

On an unusually misty, overcast, rainy day in Southern California, Angel Daughter Number Four and I hopped in the car to visit Angel Daughter Number Two(in the middle) at her new college.  Angel Daughter Number One(on the left) had an audition to attend later on that day, and so she met us up there for a while.  Angel Daughter Number Three was busy with school things and therefore could not join us, but it isn't unusual for us to have to accept that our schedules do not always coincide these days.  Makes me a bit sad, but life sometimes does get in the way.

In September 2008, Angel Daughter Number Two began what we thought would be her college journey for the next few years.  We moved her into an apartment, registered her for classes, cried when she left(well, at least I did) and then watched as she tested her wings.  She struggled and floundered and couldn't quite find a place for herself.  The match was somehow wrong.  It turned out to be only a "test flight" as a few months later, she was back in the nest preening her feathers and spending lots of time by my side.  I have always taught my girls that no decision must ever be final.  I am not of the school that demands that whatever one begins, they must always finish.  I am a veracious reader, but if I start reading a book and it does not catch my interest, I will put it down without any regrets.  If my girls began a sport or a club or any other type of activity and they decided that they did not like it, they were allowed to quit.  In my view, there is no other way to find out if something is the right fit until you give it a try.  Maybe if we allowed ourselves more space in which to try things out, we would be more open to new experiences.  Could some of the hesitancy about trying new things stem from the fear of having to finish something that we absolutely hate?  Angel Daughter Number Two's decision to leave college while trying to decide what her next move would be was definitely challenging.  She was worried, a bit lost and a lot confused.  We were concerned.  She wanted to find a place where her focus could be on photography.  We wanted her to find a place where she would be motivated, enthusiastic and inspired.  This is where the wisdom of age came in.  

My father, AD2's pop-pop, decided to do some research into schools that focused on the field of photography.  He is a bit of a photography buff himself, and has always had great Nikon cameras.  We are now a three generation Nikon family, as we all shoot with Nikons.  They are fabulous cameras and the range of ability that you have with them is infinite.  AD2 began shooting with hers in high school at which time she realized that she really enjoyed photography.  She has a natural ability and the gift for taking a picture that is much more than just a snapshot.  So, when my father found the school that she is attending now, we decided to let her apply.  This school is considered to be the "Harvard" of photography colleges.  We were very proud of AD2 for getting accepted.  Then we found out the cost of tuition and we cried...A lot.  Then my father convinced us that nobody says "No" to his grandangel.  And then...
Here is AD2 in her kitchen paging through some negatives that she shot for a film project.  The interesting thing is how little this generation knows about film cameras.  To them, having a digital camera means taking as many photos as you want and then checking them to make sure that you like the results.  When AD2 began shooting with film, she was amazed with the results.  Now, she not only enjoys shooting with film, but also loves developing the pictures herself.  I really like the idea that in this "instant gratification" world that we live in, my Angel Daughter is learning to enjoy the process, as much as the product.
Angel Daughter Number Four not only loved AD2's studio apartment, but her kitten, Rex, as well.  AD2 called me on the phone, one day, to tell me that she found a kitten outside of her building.  She took him to the animal shelter to see if anyone would claim him, but when nobody did, she asked me if she could keep him.  
Knowing what a softy I am, she didn't have to ask me twice.
The crazy demon kitty.
After spending some time in AD2's apartment, she took us up to see her school.
I love that my girls still hold hands.  Here they are walking down the hall of the college.
It is situated in such a beautiful setting.  Lush, green and restorative.
We went into the photo lab where AD2 spends much of her time.  The dark room where she processes her photos is right next door.  It is so cool.  I told my daughters that I would like to start going to school there, too!  It was so great to see AD2 feeling so comfortable in her own environment.
Can't imagine why the busy students were giving the funny, little mommy with the camera curious looks.  After all, it is a photo lab.  Get it, photo lab...Ha, ha, ha.  Tee-hee hee...
This university is known world-wide for educating amazing car designers and engineers.  Walking around the halls is like visiting a museum.  So much to see, so much to take in.  The creative energy there is contagious!
What an incredible place to study.
Saying good-bye to Angel Daughter Number Two left me feeling both content and nostalgic.  Content because I could sense her happiness at being at a place which makes her feel productive and challenged and at home.  It can take many, many years for most of us to find that kind of serenity.  That feeling of belonging.  That feeling of knowing the fit is a good one.  Nostalgic because, well, she is feeling more comfortable with her own wings now.  With wings come flight, and with flight comes the knowing that home will soon take on a new definition.

The rain cleared up by the time Angel Daughter Number Four and I took to the road again, but there was still a misty overcast obscuring my sight.  As I rubbed my eyes and laughed at something funny that AD4 said to me, I took a side-ways glance in her direction.  She is fifteen.  Yet when glancing at her through the corner of my eye, I could almost visualize AD2 or even AD1 at her young, very in-between age.  In only three and a half short years, I will be viewing her through this very similar, very startling lens.  With independent wings on which to fly mostly solo.  Darn those misty Southern California days, darn them.


Maria-Thérèse said...

What a lovely look inside someone else's life!! I hope your daughter is very happy at her new school. Do they "only" work with analogue photography or do the learn all sorts of techniques?

Jenn-n-n said...

As always an awesome blog entry!!!

I love photography as well and I would love to learn how to be better at it.

Debra, I get so much out of your blog. I gain insight in how to be the best Mom I can be. I like how you allow your kids to quit, I was brought up that you finish what you start and was doing the same to my kids. However, now after reading your thoughts on how will you know whether or not something is a fit if you don't try ... I think I will alter my approach.

You are amazing... one certainly does not have to wonder how it is that you have four amazing daughters!!!

rivergardenstudio said...

What a beautiful story. Oh, what a dream for your daughter to go to such a college that fosters her creativity and spirit. How wonderful that you, her family encourage her. I love your photos and the new kitten... Roxanne

Ness said...

I hope the ADs some day can fully appreciate the honor, joy and beauty of having you for their mom. I so miss my mom but I am so thankful I have you as a friend who has a beautiful family of angels that she is willing to write about. God gifted you with the talent of writing and we who read are made better people by just having known you and your writing. Be blessed, my sweet friend.

Sunshine said...

Deb, always you take my heart with your beautiful written ability. As a mother, as a women and etc you are awesome in so many ways. I know sometimes it makes sad when someone is not with us, but as long as they are going on right path you feel satisfaction. I love your family and speically angel daughter that has so much potential and abitliy to do lot of things... I also think photography is in your family because photographs you post on your blog they are amazing ... Take care

and will wait for your next post
God bless

Mickey Johnson said...

...how cool is that. pop-pop is one smart man! my pa-pa and i used to do photography together. he had a developer, an enlarger, darkroom...the works. we used real cameras with film and worked mostly in black and white. he had the chemicals for color, but was so enamored with black and white that he never once did color that i can remember...that is too funny about not using film...i only a year and a half ago went digital! LOL.

Shauna said...

Wow!! You are blessed with those gorgeous daughters!! And your pictures are absolutely beautiful.

Thank you for visiting my blog...You have a wonderful one over here!!

Gentle Hugs... <3

Debbie said...

You know you tug on my heartstrings with these posts. Letting go...why did I not realize how hard that would be?

kim-d said...

Dearest Deb~

It's been so long since I commented that I don't even know if you will remember me, but I just HAD to leave this comment for you today...

It's been--and will continue to be--a time of change and of some uncertainty in my world, and I've been flailing around a little bit, trying to figure things out. I've been happy, many times, just to tread water, and wait for when I would know which way to go. I've been pretty caught up in just existing, and have not been around to read blogs OR comment.

Today, I read one blog--yours--and I just have to tell you that, as always whenever I come here, it is right what I need at the time. I have taken the time to read back to get caught up on your posts. It is just EXACTLY what I need. Your words, Debbie...they speak to me. And I just needed to let you know that and say thank you. It is always amazing to me that we are given what we need at the time. And this morning, what you have written in the recent past is just what I needed to read.

You are such a beautiful person, Deb, and an incredible writer. I just read the post about your Dad asking why you are not a writer. Here's the way I see it. You already ARE a writer. You just have not been published YET.

Please...just keep doing what you do, because it is wonderful.

Gentle hug...

Irene Latham said...

Deb, what a gift you are giving her to allow her to grow in such a nurturing, creative environment... why, with Rex too, it must feel just like HOME. Love the holding hands pics. Sweetness.

Jeannie said...

how wonderful that she's found a place to study her passion. and i love those misty so cal days. what a nice post.

i also don't finish a book if i don't care for it...life's too short and yes, we should be allowed to stretch and test and experiment with our life. i like your philosophy.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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