The more we learn, the less we know. As we open doors to unknown territory with our questions, (as we quest more ions), we realize how much more there is to know. A beautiful day on the beach is a starry night at a different time of the day and what seems to be truth is just another facet of the great unknown.
The magic lies in the journey and not the destination, as we, in our impatience and need for instant gratification seem to forget.
Day 60 of 365~
Image taken in magical New Zealand with my daughter
When you have your first child you become privy to the most well guarded secret: you have just signed on for the most important and permanent job of your life. It looks so easy. Everyone does it. Our parents did it. Our friends and neighbors seem to do it. And then your child arrives! I used to hold important job after job before having my child, each with a heavy series of responsibilities, but I dove into them armed with the knowing in the back of my mind that I can just quit when I choose to. Then came the parenting job, and I realized that this is one job I can never quit!
I would not exchange this job for any other in the world because it is the gift that keeps on giving.
Day 58 of 365~
Image taken of my 8 year old daughter overlooking the valley of the saints in Lebanon, 2012
Today we had a little scare that Lea’s little finger was fractured. It was a close one, but luckily she escaped the worst. We spent some time after that looking at the X-Rays together and we were fascinated by the look of the human bone structure. It is incredible to see how much amazing engineering goes into the mechanics of the human complex, starting with the very foundation of our physical strength, our bones. And then one small accident and we can fracture that strength and spend weeks recovering. I remember breaking my arm 3 times as a child before reaching my daughters age (she is 10), and each time it felt somewhat heroic to go through the whole ordeal. And of course there was the white cast for everyone to sign 🙂
Have you ever been lost in the process of your art? Have you ever visited that place where time stands still and you are transported on the wings of creativity? So much peace attends this state and it is a wonderful gift to be in the presence of its happening.
Isn’t that why we chase art from place to place and beg to be in its world? Photos are of my daughter inside the state of her music earlier this evening.
In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
The old alleys of Shanghai with their unique way of life, tradition and charm are slowly disappearing to give way to the fast invading modernism of this great metropolis. This little boy and I had a brief staring contest, and he won.
As my little girl grows up, I watch with quiet desperation how her innocence begins to recede to the background. The old simple jokes that made her laugh again and again are now silly, the complete freedom with which she skipped all over the world and its problems is beginning to allow bits of worry into her magical world. Questions about the state of the world arise causing a frown to form on her previously every radiant and smiling face. Nothing prepares a parent for the inevitable letting go of their child’s innocence. We hold on to it desperately, we pray that the hugs will last longer, that the laughter will ring louder and that worry will keep its fangs away from our babies.
In Qibao, and old area of Shanghai, is a neighborhood(if you can call it that) of green lanes. Confronting realities wait there behind each door and in front of some where young women prepare to sell themselves for a living. As much as this practice is as old as civilization itself, it remains heartbreaking to witness people’s daughters going through this to survive. And most painful of all was seeing a little girl forced to grow up in that strange world of green lanes.
Every year our little family waits for Halloween to step out of the ordinary into a little something extraordinary; because life is just that; extraordinary; until we forget. I find so much joy in planning events since my daughter was born 9 years ago and together we plot and plan and create. Last year we had the idea to create Halloween characters with her and her friends making studio portraits with them in costume and this year we will do that again. Here are a few of our favorite portraits from last year.