I’ve been having some strange moments of nostalgia lately.
It started when we were going through stuff for the garage sale and I popped open a box of all of the girls’ favorite baby outfits. The one they came home in, the one they learned to walk in, the one with the silly hat, the one with the matching shoes. I actually got a lump in my throat and had to close the box.
Why such a strong reaction?
I think it has to do with all of these massive changes we’re going through right now….one kidlet entering Jr. high (a time in life that would be fabulous to live abroad for three years and avoid altogether!) and the arrival of my new Soccer Mom status. The first instance of, “Shh! Mom, you’re embarrasing me” when I do the Wiggles dance down aisle five at Safeway. It’s all so funny to me and yet kind of brings the “weepies” too because as the cliche’ says…it. goes. so. fast.
My models require payment now (I believe this little adventure ran me $10)…sigh…but I am a willing employer in that I desperately want to capture all of these stages as they whiz by the Blair Abdode.
I love looking at their faces through my lens more than I can admit…seeing the DNA stamp of PH on the oldest and my own features on my horsey girl. I even don’t mind the rough-housing if I’ve got my studio lights on.
Do you ever stare at your kids and study them when they’re not looking?
I can’t help it…that’s what I love about photographing them. It’s a license to really stare at them for an extended period of time without being told to stop. It’s also a chance to capture out and out silliness and the stages we’re standing in.
I love these girls so much I can feel a tiny twinge of physical pain when I let my mind wander to a place nine years in the future when I will find the box that houses these images…going through them in a quiet house.
My friend Sainta Maria and I (our girls are the same ages) talk a lot about how to teach the ladies the things they need to know to avoid mistakes we’ve made. The biggest topic seems to be raising girls who know why they are and never let anyone allow them to feel less than worthy of love, success and happiness. It’s a challenge, for sure, but I think we’re up to it.
On my Nostalgia Day I had in g-sale prep, I also found an image of a young Modern Prairie Girl (who happened to be living in the city at the time) doing her thing on her front walkway in bitchin’ rollerskates that seemed to come off only to go to bed (cool pants, too, btw!)
I really looked at that young face and a letter popped into my head that I would write to her if I could. It’s what I would write to my daughters as well.
Dear ten-year-old girl,
Enjoy every minute of your front walk rollerskating days. This is the time to play outside and frolic and be worry-free. I bet you feel pretty fearless at this moment. It’s such a great age to believe that one day you will be doing exactly what you were meant to do. Hold onto to those big dreams of what you want to be when you grow up. Remember the talents that come naturally to you and don’t be afraid to use them even if others tell you that you can’t make a living doing them.
Know that you are worthy of love at all times and never, ever let anyone make you feel small. Simply walk away in confidence when you sense that someone doesn’t know the value of your love. Hold your head high when you make mistakes (admit them too–out loud) and know that there will be many…but it’s okay…because that’s how we learn.
Marvel at how well your body serves you as you grow into it. There will be so many changes, but through it all remember to be grateful for your health at all times. Part of being grateful is taking care of it by not getting too much sun and eating lots of live foods. You know, like the pounds of cherries and apples you ate in hot summer months. They’re still important when you’re forty…you’ll see. Also, know that there is future invention called Photoshop and retouching that will make magazine models look perfect. Remember that it’s hocus pocus…better yet, avoid looking at them altogether. You’re lovely just the way you are.
Being positive might not be something that’s modeled for you in your home, but it’s your responsibility to keep that chin up when you’re frustrated. Language yourself in a way that others know you have self-respect and hope for the future, even when things don’t go your way. Ask for help and give help when you can. Be sure to include those who seem to be pushed aside…the clique thing changes a bit as you get older, but not much. Value what everyone can bring to the table…you’ll see that one day the eccentric ones are the people who achieve amazing things in this world. Look to them now for insight and inspiration. They will teach you a lot.
I asked my friends what they would say to their 10-year-old selves. They had some great advice:
My friend Amy wanted to tell you to avoid living in fear and that it’s okay to try something new. You will surprise yourself with the things you’re capable of. I’d like to tell you that you will be amazed at what you can do if you just give it a try—and please don’t expect perfection when you give it a go…it will come, but experimenting with new skills is what’s most important. Doing things that scare you makes you extraordinary.
Melissa said to trust your instincts and don’t lose yourself in others…especially with BOYS (that part is from me). They take up way too much time when you should be focusing on your own dreams. April added that you should go to college and don’t get wrapped up in dating, focus on yourself first! Wise words from women who know.Also (from me too) TRAVEL as much as you can. Get it out of your system…learn from people in different cultures…live a wanderlust life.
Maria said that it is extremely important to be the person someone would want in their foxhole…in other words, be the friend you want to have. Pick friends who you can be authentic around all the time. They love you and your messy house. They love you, warts and all.
Jen wisely recommended that no matter how bad things seem, remember that you get to start over each and every day anew. I agree that it’s never too late to be who the person you wanted to be. Don’t let t0-do lists and huge lofty goals keep you from enjoying the “right now”…because the goals will always be there, but some moments happen once and they’re gone. BE PRESENT, Lara, be present.
Know that the mistakes your parents made don’t have to be a sentence for how your operate in life. You are your own person with your own idea of what’s valuable and important. Cherish the dreams you have right now at this tender age, but know that they’ll change over the years and shape your amazing life. Forgive, forgive, forgive….and know that your parents did the best they could with what they have. Look at them with loving eyes whenever possible.
As your future favorite poet said, “Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Know that the answers may be disguised as disappointments–don’t give up on them…
The answers will come and you will feel it so deeply inside your soul that sparks will ignite in your heart.
It is then that you will know what you were meant for on this earth.
So much love~ L
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What kinds of things would you tell your 10-year-old self?
Happy, happy weekend!