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
The best part of every adventure is , for me, the coming back home moment. I always long to go but I long ever more to come back. Home is such a place of safety, recharge and warmth. When you are lucky enough to have someone there that you can’t wait to hug, then it’s only the icing on the cake.
Day 29 of 365
Images of my daughter as we played around with some lighting.
Our children have this magical way of growing up without us even noticing. The greatest miracle of expansion from a little fetus to a wonderful human taking their place in the world, cannot be taken for granted. It is an amazing thing, growth. It’s a golden truth, magical in every way. It fascinates us, we gush over it and it catches us by surprise when our little baby turns 11.
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 🙂
No matter what books you read, what stories you hear, and what preconceptions you may have, nothing ever prepares you for the moment when your child is born.
Everyone has their story from the magical to the confronting and mine was a mixture of both. For years before, I had been chasing and building my career in a very aggressive manner and I looked at jobs as something to conquer and when one did not suit me, to have to the confidence to just drop it and move to the next. With this state of mind I waltzed into my pregnancy thinking it was just another task to win at. And then she was born.
All my preconceived ideas came crumbling in one big heap. I realized that nothing is as I thought. This job will be for life. There are no options for quitting, no turning back, no chance at slacking, and the responsibility of it was just mind-boggling. It was like joining a secret parent cult that no one warns you about.
If there is magic in life, then this is where it lives where I am concerned. Watching a life grow, evolve, develop and become the human it is meant to be.
The honor of being entrusted with the care of another human is the greatest honor of all.
Today, with this post, I begin my third 365 photography and writing project.
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.
It is so endearing in Asia to see how grandparents create a living womb for their grandchildren and how they care for them tirelessly, carrying them on their old backs, feeding them, singing hymns to them, and carrying them into adulthood on a fluffy cloud of love.
How strengthening it must be for the children and how infusing with confidence.
innocence has many faces~ girls in Mushan village~ Yunnan
Have you ever noticed how children can change expressions so fast without being hung up on the effects of each emotion they experience? We adults tend to carry baggage through our emotions that causes us to often hold grudges, feel anger, thoughts of contempt, attachment, jealousy, animosity… the list goes on. When children fight, they are able to make up in a split second and whilst we are still wondering how to solve the problem they are already hugging and running off to play again.
Children, no matter what we expect, plan, project and wish for in them, their futures are blank pages as far as we are concerned. We are unable to control what they will become, who they were meant to be and the things they are destined to accomplish. Despite our blindness to the theaters of their future, every action we take can affect them in their vulnerability. One would hope and pray that most of us act wisely.