A good friend of mine, Emily, reached out to me in April to talk about the possibility of photographing her son’s graduation party, and I said yes without even thinking about it. If you know me or have followed me for any length of time, you know that motherhood drives my passion for documenting. To me, this request was about so much more than a party, and, although my children are both 4 and under, I understand the process of change and feel a deep urge to hold on to every memory I can by taking photos and telling stories. This inquiry was about holding on to this stage for just a bit longer.
And then she sent me this:
“…he finished his last day of school. Looking back, it’s all a blur. I remember his first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday. He was one of the tallest boys in his class and he was instructed to bring his favorite stuffed animal. He brought the Goofy that we bought him at Disney the year before. He stood there along the brick wall with his star nametag and his Goofy. And then, all of a sudden, it’s his last day of his senior year of high school. This year has been a combination of sadness, pride, and introspection.
I’m sad that his childhood is over. I’m sad that he is grown. I’m sad that I’ll never sit through another ride to school with him. I’m sad that I’ll never take the stats for his lacrosse games again.
I am proud. We have raised a fun, happy go lucky, spirited boy into a man of integrity. He is a man who takes care of his family & friends. A man cares about others and has a heart of gold. A man who can light up a room with his smile and make even the saddest person laugh.
But mostly what I feel is blessed. Every single day of this his life has been a day of sheer gratitude for the gift that God has given me. I will never fully understand how I could ever deserve this gift of motherhood, but I accept it with an open heart and will never take it for granted. Every day I pray for my sons, starting with a thank you to God then asking Him to help them to be healthy and happy. Yes I will miss so many little details about his childhood, but I will always thank God for giving me my sons and for blessing them with health and happiness.
So, it’s here. The day that has always been in the back of my mind. The day that I always tried to bring forward when I would get irritated by homework or permission slips or practices. The day that ends this first chapter of his life yet opens the book on the next. And I remind myself that this is the job that God gave me. He entrusted me with the life of a child. He gave me the tools to keep him alive and to teach him to become a good, honest man. A man who will be a good husband and father. A man who is a part of the good in the world. And I drop to my knees and I thank God for this gift. And I continue to pray for health and happiness. And my soul is full.”