Growing up, I had a master plan of how my life would turn out. I was fast paced, I had a very type A personality, I was OCD, I was nerdy, I neglected friendships and relationships so that I could pursue my schooling and my future careers. I had a list of things I would NOT do because I felt they'd prevent me from achieving my goals:
"I will not get married until I'm 28."
"I will not have kids until I'm in my 30's."
"I will not stop schooling myself until I've reached my Masters."
"I will not date a military man because that lifestyle will hinder my progress."
I kid you not, these were exactly my "never will I" plans.
And I kid you not even more, I broke every one of my rules... beginning at the age of 16.
At 16 I began dating a boy I'd fallen in love with in high school. He joined the Army. We struggled. We triumphed. And we married when I was 18. There go two of my rules.
At age 19, we had our first child. Another rule was broken.
At age 21, we had our second. I guess that rule is broken twice.
A few months later, with a year left of school, I dropped out of college to take care of our children. Another rule... forgotten.
The funny thing is that it all began with a camera. A tiny spark inside of me led me on a journey I told myself I'd never follow. I found an interest in photography in high school. Actually, "interest" is a pretty mediocre word... I became obsessed. Yeah, that sounds better.
My now husband saw how passionate I was about photography, even before I did actually, and bought me my first camera the day he proposed. He used much of his deployment money to afford both a ring and a camera. And little did I know, his commitment to me would completely change my life.
We married. We had our son. And I photographed here and there. That was the beginning. My son taught me little things - little, little things that I didn't know were actually big things until now. Patience, the meaning of time, the colorfulness of his growth. All of these things, I photographed. And then we had our daughter.
I watched them grow. I watched them grow together and as individuals. I watched my photographs change as May's pictures looked completely different from September's because they were growing and growing and growing. I watched their personalities bloom, their features morph, my motherhood... strengthen. I was able to look back at my photographs I took and remember this, and this, and this. I became obsessed.
I quit school and I dedicated my time to my children.
All of these things I said I'd never do, I did, and I'm still doing. Why? Because you think you can have your entire life planned in a day, but the funny thing about days is that they change by the minute. While your days change, you change. And while you change, the people around you whom you love to pieces... change. And while I enjoyed having an OCD, type A personality in high school, I enjoy even more having an inconsistent and learning and... changing... motherhood. And I enjoy looking back at my photographs and watching my children grow over and over and over, as many times as I want, while still being able to see them just as they are today. My children have taught me that nothing in life is certain, that patience is a gift, that the day to day is a piece of art, and that savoring as many seconds of the day as you can is the key to happiness. And in teaching me this, I hope to teach them their lessons back to them. This is why I photograph them. This is why they are my inspirations. Because they taught me that nothing in life is as sure and as constant as the images you stop to take and remember again and again, and that's the way it should always be.