Everything else is cake

Around this time last spring, I was fortunate enough to spend some time photographing a fellow yoga mommy, Melissa and her daughter Charlotte. Melissa and I met at a mommy and me yoga class when our daughters were still under a year old. Though I was nervous newbie, she showed me such warmth and empathy, welcoming me into her tribe. Through her I met an incredible group of respectful, likeminded yet diverse women.  It was here where I found a safe place to process and dispel many of my new parent frustrations and fears. As a creative herself, Melissa has always been very generous with her ideas, knowledge, and her time--she was always (and still is) a great collaborator and connector of people. When she became a single mom, I do not doubt that it was a tumultuous life changing experience for her and her family.  But through the transition and transformation, I could see that her values and priorities remained constant and unwavering, if not emboldened and strengthened.

One thing that resonated with me during our session was how in sync Melissa and her daughter were together, as if they could anticipate each other's next step. At the time, they were going through some major transitions--in between apartments, taking care of their aging sick pug, preparing for a long overseas work trip, among many other things.  I can only imagine the stress and anxiety that comes with so much change and uncertainty at one time; to handle it as a single parent seems impossible.  But despite all of that, watching the two of them together seemed effortless.  Whether it was their morning breakfast ritual of making tea and waffles, or blowing bubbles and riding scooters in the park, I could feel them both breathing in every single moment with each other, as if it could be their last. 

I've learned by now that no matter how much we try to plan, the universe has it's own beautiful plan.  When life turns in an unexpected direction, the only thing we can do is embrace it and try our best to make good choices from what is presented to us (and maybe try to influence the ones we care about to do the same.) Everything else is just cake waiting to be eaten and enjoyed.

 Woman mixes batter while girl licks fingers
 Woman and girl wash hands in kitchen sink
 Woman and girl sit at table to build Legos
 Girl stands and leans against hallway wall
 Woman holds girl in her arms while sitting on a couch
 Woman gathers girl's hair into a ponytail at bathroom sink
 Girl stands in front of mirror reciting affirmations with mother
 Woman checks girl's leg while sitting in bathroom
 Girl sticks snack out of her mouth while sitting on picnic blanket with seated woman
 Mother rides scooter towards girl standing with water bottle 
 Girl frolics through tree shadowed lawn