This is what I wrote down under “2013 goals.”
Take more pictures.
I refuse to let another year go by in which I don’t make time for my creative self.
I didn’t take many photos in 2012, but there were a few that I am proud of and wanted to share here. I hope to be better about documenting our family life this year.
A couple of months ago a friend of the family told me she was getting remarried and asked if I would be her wedding photographer.
“I just love your photos.” She said. “I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”
This woman has been like a second mother to me. I love her dearly, so I wanted to say yes, of course I’ll take your pictures! But, I’m not a professional photographer and well, it’s a wedding. A wedding requires a professional.
I told her that I was flattered, but I also reminded her that I was not a professional, that photography is something I love, but not something I get paid to do.
“I trust you.” She replied.
Because she is dear to me, and because she did so much for me growing up, I agreed to do it. I had no intention on charging her because again, not a professional. I was going to do it because I love her and because it was something she really wanted me to do.
The wedding was on Sunday. On Saturday night, I’m not sure I slept for more than 3 hours. I tossed and turned all night. I was terrified, nervous and insecure. I did not take this job lightly. My called my sister and expressed my concerns. “Be confident, own it and kill it.” She said.
I arrived an hour earlier than they asked me to be there so I could check the venue out. I was sweating before I had even taken my camera out. I was nervous as hell.
The bride arrived and I just started shooting. She didn’t have specific requests (aside from traditional family type poses before the wedding.) So, I just watched and tried to capture the beauty and details of the day. I’m telling you, the next day, every muscle in my body ached from standing, squatting, laying on the ground and running. My respect level for wedding photographers went up by the BILLIONS.
I posted the album of photos the day after the wedding. I was nervous, afraid I had missed things or not done a good enough job. Then, she left a comment (and later that day, left me a voice mail) that said the following:
“Yvonne I don’t know what to say… Every picture is perfect. You are the best! Another talent you have you have been blessed with.”
It wasn’t until I read those words that I realized just how stressed out I was. I actually cried with relief to know that she was happy with what I had captured. I was happy to do that for my dear friend, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for anyone any time soon, or probably ever. I’m way too big of a wimp to deal with that kind of pressure.
After seventeen days, Andrew’s leave ended today.
We left the house at 6am and just a few hours later, I was saying goodbye in a parking lot. As I walked around the car to give him a goodbye hug, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I fought them back.
“Stay strong. Son.” I said. “Make me proud. I love you so much.”
He hugged me, I hugged him back.
“I will, Mom. I love you too.”
He turned and walked away carrying all of his things. I sat in the car and watched him walk away.
“He’s a man now. My son is a man.”
I wanted to roll down my window and shout out “I love you! I’m going to miss you!” like I used to do when he was just a little guy. But I just sat there, watching him, proud of him. And then, I drove away and left him to do continue his journey.
His time here with us was simply wonderful, but the days flew by too quickly. He’s gone again and his presence here is already missed deeply. I can only hope the next three months pass as quickly as the last seventeen days did.
Our son has been home with us for twelve days. Having him home here with us has been wonderful. We’ve gone out for pizza with friends. We’ve gone out to breakfast. We’ve gone thrift store shopping. We’ve sat on the couch late at night and reminisced about the past. We’ve watched our favorite T.V shows together. We’ve eaten our favorite foods together. We’ve visited with friends and family. We’ve laughed. A LOT.
My son is definitely a changed man, but the core of who he is has remained unchanged. He’s still kind, loving and hilarious. He’s been transformed into a confident, strong, focused individual. He’s also not ashamed to admit that he is proud– proud of what he’s accomplished, proud of who he is. As his mother, this brings me immeasurable joy.
His time here at home is short– there are only five days left until he has to leave us again for another three months. (He has Marine Combat Training for thirty days, followed by his specialty training in Missouri for two months.) When I think of him leaving, my heart aches because I know I’ll miss him like crazy. However, I’m better prepared emotionally this time around. Even though I will miss him, I won’t allow myself to be consumed with fear and worry this time around. My son is no longer a little boy who can’t take care of himself. He’s a strong, capable, brave man. Not to mention, a freaking U.S. Marine.
My sister’s father in law had a wind chime made for every dog he ever owned. He was an avid dog lover. Just before he passed away from cancer last month, his wife had a wind chime made with his name and put it with those of all of his dogs. He was able to see it before he passed away.
Yesterday after his memorial service, I snapped a photo of the back of the wind chime with his name on it. Such a moving tribute, I think.