Friday, December 30, 2011

Come Walk With Me

Each day, I am treated to several ever changing views of the San Clemente Pier but mostly from a couple of nautical miles away from my front yard.  The view is spectacular.  Yesterday, I had the sudden urge to change perspectives(a possible sign of things to come?) so I called Mark and invited him to take a stroll with me down on the pier.  The sun was still fairly high in the sky when we arrived and the well worn, sea-beaten wooden slats below our feet were pulsating with the vibrations of life being lived.  It felt so good to be out in the open air.
It felt good to be among a random group of people in which everyone seemed calm.  No set agenda, no pressure to maneuver beyond the ultimate speed of light and sound, only some moments spent doing nothing more than taking in a day that was much too beautiful to miss.  Lord knows how much I have craved this pace.  December took its toll on me.  It always does.  Repetitive music everywhere makes it very difficult to focus on anything other than jumpy rhythms and musical arrangements on speed.  For me, it is all overstimulation to the max.  To a body that is chronically riddled with pain, it is far too much to metabolize.  I spent a good portion of the month hibernating and staving off situational depression.  There are times when it is all too much and the very best thing that I can do is to be honest with myself and hide...
But yesterday was about reconnecting with the world in a more peaceful and tolerable way.  It was about taking on a reasonable pace.  It was about absorbing a different kind of energy.  It was about quieting the hermit-crab inside of my body(I am a Cancer baby, born in July when the world seems to be at its most relaxed) while sticking my head out of my shell to peek around and signal that it is really okay to come out.
And what better place to free myself from my self-imposed hibernation than the place that has become more home to me than anyplace else I have ever known in my entire life.  A place in which animal, fish, bird, and human can coexist most peacefully in unison with one another because we are all living by the rhythm of the sea.  A place that has beckoned to me from as far back as I can remember, only I could not make out the exact name of it until recently.  A place that will soon become our permanent home because I never want to be far away from here.  Yes, I am New York city born and raised and if you listen carefully and are very good with picking up dialects, you will quickly realize that I am a transplant.
But sometimes, the soul can lead you on a long and somewhat winding journey to your home.  And when you finally arrive there, you just know it.  You just know it.

May the coming year bring you closer to home and if you are already there, may it bring you even closer to your home.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy, Happy

As the sun sets on this gorgeous California day, I can somehow feel the buzz of anticipation that so many Christian children(and adults who were once children) around the world must be feeling right now.  Santa, reindeers, bright lights and cookies, but nothing more important than the day that many people believe that Jesus Christ was born.  I have to believe that if I were Christian, to me, this would be the most important reason for celebration and contemplation of all.  And in that, there is a quiet amongst the chaos, a peacefulness beyond the stressed-out crowds, and a spirituality well above the glitz.

To my Christian friends, may you basque in the light that is radiated from the love that you feel from your family, your friends and your God.  I wish for you moments of quiet introspection.  I wish for you moments of deep gratitude as there is almost nothing that feels as good as being grateful for the lives that we have.

To my Jewish friends, may you bathe in the warmth of the Menorah lights as you rekindle old memories and build new ones with those who you love.

And to those who share in any beliefs other than Christianity or Judaism, I wish you the blessing that we are all much more alike than we are different.  So much more alike...

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas Eve, and a very happy and healthy New Year to all.

With so much love,
Deb(Four Angels Momma-most days)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Homes Have Eyes

Somewhere in Mission Viejo, CA
There are just too many ways to make fun of this garish display of excess in action.  There is even music being blasted out of loud speakers to accompany the display.  I must say that if I lived anywhere in the nearby vicinity of this home, no jury would convict me for what I might do come December 30th, so thank goodness I do not.  It is kind of cool to look at once or twice and it definitely proves who has the biggest one on the block, but still, in some ways all I can do is stare at it and think about what the people who live inside of this house must be really feeling.(Sorry, balebusta, darling, about the psych reference;)  Just had to.)  Mark and I went out to dinner with Angel Daughters Three and Four last night, and afterwards, they insisted on driving us past this well-lit home.  Somehow, I am positive that almost every neighborhood in America must have a home or several similar to this one, but witnessing this up close and personal really made me think about this time of the year and the amount of excess that takes place in the face of all of the inner-sadness and longing that so many individuals are experiencing right now.  A happy veneer in the face of spending far more money than people should be spending at a time of year when the weather is colder, the days are shorter so that daylight and vitamin D are in scarce supply, and we are expected to walk around humming happy little tunes about a fat man, jingling bells and other assorted merriments over sung by way too many covers.  Should I just say bah-humbug and get it over with now?
What I guess I am really trying to say is this.  I get it.  For several weeks now, I have been coping with increased physical pain which becomes increased emotional pain which then becomes a longing for what I have lost.  And then, I look around at everything all wrapped up in its bright, shiny packaging to wonder why I am feeling so blue.  Why there seems to be an underlying tone of sadness in so many of the people who I come across on a daily basis, and even in the blogs that I read.  
San Clemente Pier
In many ways, this photo that I took several months ago, more accurately depicts the inner turmoil that is churned up during these winter months than the overabundance of colored lights and catchy tunes playing round and round wherever we go.  It can be absolutely dizzying.  Some of it might be caused by the forced cheer that we are supposed to pretend is real even if we aren't really feeling it, but what I truly believe is that this time of year causes a deep longing for those whom we miss.  The people who we love who are no longer here to share life alongside of us.  The memories of people we have loved and lost.  It's very difficult, especially if some of the people who you loved the most are no longer around.  And there are so many reminders.  So many reminders.  For me, this year at Chanukah will mark the fourth year since I last spent time with my brother while he was alive.  The last time that I felt his chin resting on the top of my head as he embraced me in one of his big bear hugs.  The last time that we laughed out loud together.  The last time that we sat back and watched as our six daughters played together like a room full of miracles.  I will never forget the last gift that I gave him, Steve Martin's biography, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life.  I wonder if he even had the chance to read it before he died.  I loved to make him laugh.
For everyone else who might be struggling with the pain of loss during this time of the year;

I send you peace.  And love.  Lots and lots of love.

And I pray that for every moment of grief that you might feel, you also feel a moment of gratitude for all that you still do have.  For the people who you can still hug, for the time that you can still spend, for the laughter that you can still share.  For every memory, I hope that you will be able to create a new one with the people who are still here.  The people who love on you, the people who encourage you, the people who support you, the people who lift you up.  It is so important to remember that if we put too much focus on what we have lost, we also lose sight of what is standing squarely right in front of us.

So tonight, go take a ride in the car with some people that you love.  See if you can find the most ostentatious house in the neighborhood and when you do, go ahead and send me a picture of yourself standing right in front of it.(We can have a contest to see whose is bigger!)  I promise to post it here.  Because you are a part of my now, as I hope that I am a part of yours.  And this is how it should be.  If we cannot make one another smile, then what the heck else is there?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All is Well

Have I told you all how much I appreciate your friendship and your kindness and all of the love that you share with me?  Sitting here with a cat on my lap(fighting for the attention of my hands as I try to type sentences that make sense!) and a dog at my feet, I am inundated with a feeling of gratitude not only for those who physically surround me, but also for those who surround me from faraway places.  I cannot tell you how many difficult days you have helped me to tackle.  I am a very, very lucky girl.

We spent the week up in the gorgeous mountains of Lake Arrowhead.  When our Angel Daughters were little, Mark and I decided to purchase a second home up there because we had grown up with snowy winters and wanted our girls to experience a bit of the white stuff.  This home has been a part of our family for fourteen years(so many wonderful memories) yet for the past two years, Mark and I had not been up there at all.  Dance competitions, work schedules and just life in general dominated our weekends and driving the almost two hours made it very difficult.  We used to go up for every Thanksgiving.  My best friend since junior high school who now lives in Las Vegas would meet us up there with her three children and we would share the holiday as one big family.  Well, as the children got older, other obligations disrupted our tradition.  Two of her children got married and went on to have babies.(whom I absolutely adore!)  They needed to remain closer to home so that they could split the holidays with in-laws, etc.  Last year I felt like I needed to be out of town for the holiday so we took the girls up to San Francisco for the week.  We had a lovely time, but some of the girls(you know who you are) complained that I was not making the traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and that preparing it on another day was not the same thing!  So up the mountain we went with two new boyfriends, one very old boyfriend(Is seven years a long time for a twenty one year old to be in a relationship?) and a sweet girlfriend whose family was going to be tied up with her brother's hockey tournaments all weekend.  Mark took everyone skiing/snowboarding, we ate, we shopped, we laughed, but most of all, we had a really wonderful time.  The higher altitude did take its toll on my body but that was a small price to pay to spend Thanksgiving in the mountains with my husband and our girls.  I have stories to share but those will come later.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, good food and lots of laughter.  I just wanted everyone to know that I am still here, fighting the good fight, living contently in spite of.    Battling the pain while soaking in every single joyful moment possible, trying my best not to give in to the focus that the aches can sometimes overshadow.  I am here.  Once again, thank you for visiting, for checking in on me, for your kind words and your sweet emails, for caring.  I only hope that you know that I feel the same way about you that you do about me.  It truly is my pleasure.  I plan on visiting, catching up and saying hello in the next couple of days.  Until then, just know that you are on my mind and in my heart, always.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here For Now

Angel Daughter Number One as Peter Pan at Disneyland on Halloween
A little fun because sometimes my mind gets so busy working overtime that I need to find some peace amongst the chaos just to quiet it down.  Nothing in particular other than life continuing on whether I feel well physically, or not, and for the past month the status quo has been well into the or not category.  I hate to focus on my physical pain and most of the time, I am able to push through it to a place in which it becomes nothing more than a dull ache, a nuisance lingering remotely in the recesses of my mind, a gremlin in my brain.  But sometimes, it is very, very hard to live a life in constant physical pain.  And no matter how much I rest, how much strong(almost frighteningly strong) pain medication that I have on board, or how hard I try to push my mind back into a positive place, I begin to feel beat down, beat up, beat period.  I have been here before, and I accept that I will be here again.  The weather has been funky with heat and then rain and then cold and then heat, again.  This is Southern California after all, and although we do not have the changes in seasons that other parts of the country experience, we do get weather.  This time of year is notorious for some pretty extreme changes.  So here I exist.  Until something nudges my physical body into a better place and suddenly I stop to realize that an hour has gone by without any mind distracting, mind numbing pain.  And then another, and then if I am lucky enough, a decent reprieve so that I can take a decent full-body breath.

Tonight, as I was scrolling through photos, some that I took, some that I (a-hem) borrowed from my daughter's Facebook pages and some that they texted to me, I began feeling the joy that can only come from loving so hard that the smiles make your face hurt and that is the kind of pain that I know that we can all use more of.  Please indulge me as I remind myself that these are the most important reasons that I keep on truckin' along when I might feel as if I am running on empty.
For Halloween, Angel Daughter Number Four and her darling friend, Daisy, dressed up as Harjuku girls.  They were absolutely adorable.  The blow-up pirate ship in the background was on our front lawn at our main home on the ranch.(as opposed to our smaller homes on the beach and in the mountains)  The girls are seventeen years old but they wanted to go out trick-or-treating anyway.  Heck, I wanted to go out trick-or-treating!  When they dressed up, they kind of looked like they were around fourteen which is fine with me:)  I only wish that I could keep them that way for a while.
I love this picture of Angel Daughter Number One and Angel Daughter Number Three.  They got up very early in the morning because they wanted to visit the Tim Burton Nightmare Before Halloween exhibit at the LACMA in Los Angeles on the very last day that it was going to be there.  I love it when my daughters make plans to just get together in different combinations.  It reminds me that they do feel connected even when outside of the whole family as a unit.  I have been feeling very disconnected from that type of bond lately because my only brother is gone and I am no longer a part of his children's lives.(for now)  I truly am very blessed to have the family that Mark and I have created together but aside from them, I am pretty alone in the world now.  Yesterday my doctor reminded me that this is the time of the year when people tend to focus on losses and that it really is not quite as jolly as all of the retailers would like for us to believe that it is.  That resonated deeply with me.
I love this picture, too.  I borrowed it from one of my daughter's Facebook pages.  Angel Daughter Number Two and Angel Daughter Number Four found out that a very popular band that they love(Mumford and Sons) was playing at a local store without publicity and for free.  They were not sure if it was a rumor so they decided to meet there anyway along with around fifty other lucky people. The band showed up.  My girls were in the front row only a head-shake away from the lead singers sweat.(very cool and big yuck at them same time)  Sometimes life can really shine upon us when we take a chance to follow a lead that others might not bother to.
Angel Daughter Number Two and Luis, her new marmalade cat, a self-portrait.  She rescued him and now he rescues her from loneliness and a cold lap.
AD3 arrived home from work, one evening, looking content and happy.  The glow was back.  There is nothing more in the world that I could wish for her.  I love the way the shadow from her eyelashes gently kisses her cheek.  She spent around three weeks shaking the mud out of her wings, but she is learning to take flight once again.  I suppose that is what being nineteen is all about.
AD1 is my woman-child at twenty four years old.  Listening to her talk about her own plans, ideals and goals for the future really makes this momma proud.  I do not really spend too much time worrying about this one anymore.  She has proven that her wings work really well.  I am proud of her beyond compare and I just know that life holds wonderful stuff for her.  Watch for her commercial coming out soon!  This one will be on national television so I will let you all know when it comes out.  This way we will all be able to be proud of her at once;)
My baby and her baby, Micah.  This child was born under a cheerful star.  She is filled with warmth and joy and compassion.  She came into this world with a twinkle in her eye and a dance in her step.

When people talk to me about nurture vs. nature, I must admit that I used to believe that the emphasis was on nurture but when I look at my own children, I can see that who they were as babies and as children is a lot like who they are now as young women.  Mark and I are the very same parents with the same values and ideals who are raising four female children in mostly the same way.(I say "mostly" because each child has different needs, strengths and weaknesses.)  Yet our girls are all unique, all special and all different. Some things just are as they are, inherently.

I will try my very best not to draw back into my cocoon of chronic pain.  There are times when I end up here and do not even remember the onset. I try to pinpoint an event or a day when I overdid it, or even something emotionally overloading that burst like an infected cyst into the rest of my body.  I only know that my soul feels broken open and that my body feels beat by the pain, right now, and I want it to stop.  I need for it to stop.  But in the in-between, I will hold myself accountable by doing things as if the pain has subsided.  I will continue to cut myself some slack(fighting with oneself is mostly futile) but I will remind myself that in spite of it all, I have a pretty darn amazing life and that unlike my brother, I am still here to care for the people I care for and to love on the people(and pets) who I love.  When I breathe into that thought, it momentarily soothes my soul enough to get me into the next minute, and then the next one, and then the next one...Until I know that there will be better days ahead. I just have to hang tight for a bit.

With love to all,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tough Love

Each one of us holds facets of our personalities which can sometimes seem directly oppositional.  For this reason, I am going to clarify that I am a gentle soul who is married to a gentle man and we are raising/have raised gentle children.  One of our dogs is a Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit-Bull who weighs in at over 110 pounds but who is a well-trained ambassador for large dogs and would sooner lick you to death than to harm you.  One of my greatest teachers is His Holiness The Dalai Lama whom we took our four Angel Daughters to see when he was in Orange County on a speaking engagement, several years back.  We did not expect that they would recall the content of his words, so much as the incredible aura that emanated from this gentle human being.  I felt that it was important for our children to observe goodness in one of its purest forms.  And yet all of those things being said, my daughters know that if danger arises, I am the first one to confront it.  Yes, my husband would be on it as well, but he tends to hang back while I spring into action like a rabid dog if someone even looks like they are a threat to one of my family members.  My spirit was brought into this world by a man whose spirit asks no questions.
Recently, Mark and I decided that it was time for another layer of home/self protection.  This was not something that I was at all comfortable with when our girls were much younger but, quite honestly, I believe that the world has become a much more dangerous place in the past decade.  Whereas an alarm system and a dog used to provide enough protection to ease my worries enough so that I could sleep well at night, I have watched as things have become more and more precarious and the criminals have become bolder, more vicious and crimes much more violent.  I sleep with wasp spray next to my bed.  Plain old wasp spray, and seriously people, if you do nothing else to protect yourself from "the bad guys", go out and buy yourself and those you love a can of wasp spray or two.  Wasp spray shoots up to twenty feet and disperses when it hits its target.  It also causes serious pain to whomever is standing on the other end of the room.  This will give you an opportunity to scream and run.  Anyway, along with everything else that we do to be proactive in life, we decided that it was time to learn how to handle and if need ever be, shoot a gun.  Mark has been practicing at the gun range for several weeks now and so, he decided to set up a private lesson for the girls and I.  It was not my first time shooting.  My dad, being a lifetime gun owner, made my brother and I go with him to the shooting range so that he could educate us on gun safety, etc.  He believes, as both Mark and I do, that the only people who should own guns are those who know how seriously and responsibly they should be taken.  Yesterday, our four daughters and I took a two hour gun safety lesson for women while Mark did some target practice.  Now here is the other truth about guns...Not only are they meant to be taken seriously, but,
they can also be a lot of fun to shoot.(once you get past the intimidation factor)  Angel Daughter Number Four was the first one to volunteer to do everything!  That child has moxie!  After an hour in the classroom, our lovely instructors brought us into the shooting range.  We started out shooting with a small rifle.  Not bad for her very first shot!
We all had our own reactions to our first shots, but the look on Angel Daughter Number Two's face is priceless.
She wasn't a bad shot either.  Interestingly enough, she is the only one in our family who is right handed and left-eye dominant.  She always has to be different:)
Angel Daughter Number Three who is our most cautious and reserved child really took to handling the guns immediately.  She was the one who we thought might be the most hesitant about it but not at all.  She cannot wait to go back for more target practice with her dad tomorrow!  They already set up a father/daughter date.  I think it's cute.
Mark came in to check up on all of his girls when we were practicing with the rifle.  We let him take a few shots and he reminded me of The Terminator;)  He loved it because normally, they do not allow "rapid fire" meaning more than one shot at a time, but since we were in a lesson, they allowed us to walk toward the target while taking five shots in quick succession.  It was sort of like what you see in the movies.  Between each shot, we had to reload the barrel while walking forward and keeping aim.  Quite a bit to remember!
Obviously, it was a lot of fun.

Angel Daughter Number One knocked the plywood off of the holder.  She meant to do that.

Okay, she didn't mean to do that.

I was at a bit of a disadvantage since I had a dangling target, but I managed to hit it!  You can see how tense my body was but once the gun went off, I had the same reaction as the rest of my family did.  Lots of laughter at myself and the recoil on this very small rifle.

I adore these people.

Next we moved onto .22 caliber pistols.  My dad says that these are just "toy" guns, but let me say that shooting them felt pretty serious to me.  Mark was so proud of us.  Our instructors told him that they have never had a class that picked up so quickly on safety and did exactly what we were told in order to insure that safety came first.  I told him that that was all those years of my Jewish mothering showing itself in our children.  I knew it would pay off someday.
AD3 preferred something called "The Weaver Stance".  It's more like what you see in the movies, one leg in front of the other and then arms bent a bit.(Charlie's Angels)  She was in-between breaths when Mark took this picture.  We were taught to control our breathing so that the trigger is released at the correct moment.  She picked up on that right away.  I wonder if there is a Zen guide for gun handling.
AD4 chose "The Isosceles Stance" which is exactly what it sounds like.  You hold your body like an isosceles triangle.  This is the most common position that people use when shooting a gun.
This is what I call the "never come between a momma and her cubs stance"; seriously.  Although now the cubs will be able to protect themselves if need be which makes me feel a little bit better about having my children out in this crazy world that we seem to be leaving them.  Sigh...

And because I did not want to make this post all about this...
yet sadly in so many ways, it is, here is a bit of the catalyst.  Very sadly, I do not know too many individuals who have not been the victims of crime in one form or another.  On October 15th, AD3's car was parked and locked in our gated driveway down at our beach home.  Sometime between midnight and seven AM, someone climbed over the locked gate, smashed her car window and stole her laptop computer which was buried under mounds of her clothing, etc.(She is a college student who works two jobs and so, she practically lives out of her car!)  The computer was not at all visible from the outside, but the thief probably figured that it was worth a quick shot that there might be something of value inside of the vehicle.  Pretty brazen.  I guess he hit the jackpot that night.  The officer who came out to take the report told us that they call it a "surf and smash" on this block.(beach reference?)  He was a bit surprised that this individual had the chutzpah to jump the gate and smash the window, though.  There are always cars parked up and down the street that are much more accessible.  After taking the report, the officer sent out somebody from the Crime Scene Investigation unit so that they could dust the car for fingerprints.  This is not something that most police departments bother to do because they do not usually recover the stolen property or catch the criminals, BUT, apparently our police department has had a very good success rate in this area and so they do dust for fingerprints.
The guy from CSI let us know that he discovered some decent prints on the vehicle and that the investigator who would be handling our case would run the prints through the system to see if a name came up that matched them.
Since both Mark and our daughter opened the door of the vehicle without thinking about it, the CSI investigator took Mark's prints just in case they were the ones that came up.  He told us to call in a couple of weeks to find out if a name came up when the prints were submitted and we would let them know if the name matched that of anybody we already know so that we could dismiss them as a suspect.  The CSI investigator also let us know that although this type of theft seems "low-level", these thieves begin by walking up and down the streets looking for unlocked vehicles.  They then become bolder and begin smashing windows to steal a vehicle's contents.  After that, they begin stealing cars.  Next, they break into homes while people are out.  From there, things become much, much scarier.  In the past month, there have been two break-ins on our block(our house is on a very long road) in which someone has been home.  Sleeping.  One person noticed their purse missing the next day, the other was a single woman sleeping on her couch.  She awoke to see the criminal walking around in the shadows and remained still, scared to death, and quiet until he left.  Thank God he left without harming her.  Thank God.  After much discussion, Mark and I decided that it was time for us to take advantage of our second amendment right to bear arms.  It really did not take us a long way to get there.  Nobody will ever be harmed by anyone in this family unless they decide to make the very, very poor decision of entering our home uninvited.  We have taken the necessary precautions to safeguard ourselves and those who we know and love(or even don't love) from accidently being shot because believe me, I am just as concerned, if not more so, about the possibility of hurting someone "by accident".  But please believe this very gentle soul when I say that if someone enters my home uninvited and expects to walk back out again on two legs, that simply will not happen.

Now go out, buy yourself some wasp spray, and keep it in an accessible spot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Wings

The title of this article made me chuckle when I first read it because she is only twenty-one years old.  21.  Still one of my babies...  And yet to me, the title implies that somehow, there have been years upon years upon years culminating in The Biggest Shoot of Your Life!!!  In my mind, I hear a booming voice announcing those words as if the person being written about is 35, or 42, or 67 and everything has led up to this single moment.  But the truth is, her career in photography is only just beginning and if she continues to focus her energies in the right places, she is going to be very big in the field of photography and this shoot, which she both completely orchestrated and shot over the course of a very, very long day, will be one of more than she will be able to count.  Angel Daughter Number Two is my photographic creative genius.  Upon graduating high school a few years ago, she began college and quickly realized that the academic route was not right for her.  With the help of my father(her Pop-Pop),  we found a college that was a much better fit for her, moved her up to The Art Center in Pasadena, CA, and there she remained for a year and a half.  This year, she decided that she was finished.  She felt that she had gleaned all that she could from The Art Center and decided to go out on her own without finishing school.  Mark and I were not at all comfortable with her choice, but AD2 and her grandfather presented us with all of the reasons why she was ready and we finally gave in(kicking and screaming).  It has been a very rough start for her, I am not going to lie, but suddenly things seem to be piecing together for her.  This article is appearing on newsstands right now in the largest digital photography magazine in the nation, Digital PhotoPro.  It is in their November 2011 issue and if you care to take a look at it, it is also available online, here.  In the photos above, AD2 is the one with the camera;)  On the right page, she is the one squatting down with her back to the camera taking the photograph of the model.  Her longtime boyfriend, Joshua, is standing right next to her and his dog, Dakota, is modeling with the pretty lady.  I told AD2 that next time, I want a picture of her face in the article!  She is beautiful enough to be a model herself, but I am glad that she is not one.  It is a tough industry.
Here is page two of the article.  I hope that you are not offended by scantly clad women because she does shoot a lot of them.  It's all about fashion and sometimes that means skimpy clothes which is kind of ironic.
The layout above shows the final photos from the article but there are more words about AD2 on page 124!  You can read those if you click over.
I feel so blessed to know that my Angel Daughters are following their dreams and making them come true at such young ages.  Angel Daughter Number One is still getting lots of attention for her Groupon commercial(and auditioning, and auditioning, and auditioning while working, working, working!) and now AD2 is being recognized for her own work in the arts.  She was just asked to shoot an eight page spring fashion pictorial for a very prestigious magazine and she is SO excited!  It will be shooting very, very soon but won't come out until January 2012, so we will all just have to wait.  I get the feeling this child is about to start flying high, but as her mom, I will always remind her to remain grounded and to enjoy the view while she is finding her wings.  There are so many dimensions to life.  Keeping things in balance can be a challenge while floating with the air currents, but soaring with our feet planted firmly on the ground is the only way to stay sane and happy.  By the way, if you happen to pick up a copy of Digital PhotoPro magazine and you would like an autograph of the up and coming photographer who is being featured on pages 86-90, I think I can hook you up;)

These are my girls.  I am so in love with each one of them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


And here she is.  Wings outstretched, open to what is, voluminously open to what will someday be.
Confident, alive, beautiful, undisguised, sincere, witty, effervescent.  Life personified.

I caught her playing with the wispy wings on her Homecoming dress and for me, that was better than any possible posed moment of perfection that I could possibly have captured.  I am good at waiting.(with four children, I have to be)  And snapping the shutter, click.  Click, click.  Click!  I take in the moments, but without the camera, the moments become lost in a menagerie of hours, days and then years blending together to create a montage of moments lost.  Colors blended.  So I do the best that I can to bring them into focus and then collect them in a more lasting place.  
This way I will never forget.  And neither will they.

Because truly, this is what is real.  The posed photos are nice to have, but to me, they often come up short.  A little blank.  Well, posed.  There is more, so much more.  There is an entire history to be pieced together and how will they ever remember if the moments become lost in a vague set of arranged smiles.  Admittedly, the candid pictures are more difficult to capture.  Sometimes they come out with eyes closed or mouths grimaced or faces scrunched in unnatural looking contortions but if you wait, and take so many pictures that your children finally laugh about how many times you release the shutter on your camera, you will eventually capture the truth of the moment.
Angel Daughter Number Four is a very good sport.  I suppose that being the fourth child in a fairly large family teaches you to develop patience and endurance and so, she has.  She is even-tempered, kind-hearted and well-loved by many.  In this photo, she was waiting for her friend to get off the phone so that they could go get something to eat before the dance.
Then she looked up at her dad.  So much love flows between the two of them.  It is one of the sweetest things that I have ever witnessed.
And then she turned her gaze back up at me.  And the sunlight caught in her eyes.  And my mother's heart skipped a beat.  And I told her not to move while I lifted my camera to capture a single moment in time.  Click.  Click, click.  Click, click.  A split-second of connection forever secured in my soul and now, forever imprinted immortally for us to always remember.  

Dance your heart out tonight, AD4.  I love you, my child.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunrise, Moonset

6:15 this morning.  That cold, familiar nose begins nudging gently at my outstretched hand(not Mark's) and I climb out of bed to let Becca outside so that we can both quickly retreat back into our beds, back into the warmth, back into the restful worlds of our dreams.  But just as I expect that I will barely have to open my eyes before snuggling securely back underneath the soft weight of my down comforter, I am startled into a sudden hyper-awareness by the mirrored beauty of the full moon as it reflects upon the water. I gasp out loud and the noise sounds as if it has come from someone else.  I consider keeping this moment of absolute sudden beauty to myself but my desire to share what I am witnessing gets the better of me and, as usual in moments like these, I reach for my camera to preserve.  I think about the idea that a moment does not become any less holy just because my second or third thought is to snap a few photographs of it and the next sound I hear is a soft, repetitive click, click, click.  I am now more inside of the moment than I was before and as I turn from the side of the horizon in which the moon was beginning to set, I am once again struck by that feeling of awe.
For behind me, over the San Clemente pier, the sun is slowly beginning its lazy ascent into the sky taking its time as if to gaze at the moon.  On one side, the moon finishing its glorious light show and on the other, the sun ushering in a brand new day.  Oh, the possibilities.  Oh, the colors!
Becca runs past me back into the house but I am no longer in a rush to close my eyes so I stand outside and watch as it happens all around me.  Moon, earth, and sun.  Everything feels as if it is perfectly aligned.
And as the colors begin to blend into one another, I take one more look at my world as it appears right at this moment at 6-something in the morning and I wonder to myself if I will ever be able to readjust my circadian rhythm to become a morning person.  No, I decide.  If four babies within six years was not permanently able to change it for me, then there is probably a very small possibility of it ever occurring in this lifetime and that is okay.  For there are wonders that happen on both sides of the day and more than likely, by witnessing one, the chance of being awake to witness the other is fairly unlikely.

As I make my way back to my bed, I stop to cradle Becca's sweet face in my hands and I kiss her firmly on the snout.  She looks at me as if the sun and the moon rise around me and I realize that to her at least, they do.  I have witnessed more than one incredibly magical moment this morning.
Related Posts with Thumbnails