Presidential

Perhaps it is because I’m older. 

Perhaps it is because I have four daughters. 

Perhaps it is because we’ve been living through a pandemic. 

Perhaps it is because I’ve been homeschooling this year. 

But today, I felt like I took my first breath in a long time.  

I’ve rewatched Amanda Gorman’s poem more times than I can count, nearly memorizing every verse. 

And each time I am refilled with a sense of hope I hadn’t even realized I’d lost until it was refilled. 

The term “Presidential” regained the meaning I’d always acquainted it with: goodness, leadership, honorability.  

A new era for my daughters that I can be proud to raise them within.  

Yes, it feels good to breathe again. 

Camille Vaughan

To the Ends of the Earth

To the Ends of the Earth

I will go, for my child. 

We are tired and worn.  

But here’s the deal:

You either give up or you fight. 

Right?

You either accept status quo or you keep searching. 

And in the face of agony, we will continue searching until we find her relief. 

I texted my friends the other night and exclaimed, “I will call Kanye West!  I will call Brad Pitt!”

Not that they can do anything specifically for Elizabeth but that they are considered inaccessible.  

Not for me. 

We are tired and worn. 

But to the ends of the Earth I will go for my child. 

To the ends of the Earth. 

Better Together

Oh, hey you. 

You now working upstairs in our house with four children. 

You who I fell madly in love with 13 years ago. 

You who is walking right. with. me. Along our journey. 

It ain’t always pretty.  

And lately, with our youngest, it’s been downright ugly. 

But there you are. 

And here I am. 

And we love just the same. 

I knew that day we took our vows. 

Baby, we are better together. 

I spent a childhood, dreaming of a fairytale. 

And I never settled. 

And you know, what?  

Neither did you. 

Alone, we are great. 

But baby, we are always better together. 

Grace

You are asleep.

But I am awake.

Utilizing the only alone time I have in a 24 hour day to research alternatives and specialists that might be able to help my child.

This is LIFE UNSEEN!

We are all juggling something unseen.

Not all must be shared but sometimes it’s easy to believe all is well, when in reality, it is a-n-y-t-h-I-n-g but.

This is not a cry for attention but a cry for grace.

Grace to all you meet for you CANNOT know what they are battling.

We must give love to heal one another.

And if spreading this message is Elizabeth’s purpose in life, then, Lord, here we are.

Cinderella Shoes

My first year of teaching, he entered my fourth grade classroom on a first grade reading level and yet, by far, the biggest and oldest child in the class. 

His physical presence dominated but his smile and warmth melted anyone’s heart. 

Through services, he received free breakfast and lunch and it bothered him. 

I took to him like kindle to a fire and he, to me. 

There was a trust and bond that endured. 

So when this child who had nothing presented me with clear slippers three sizes too small for Christmas, I accepted them with gratitude. 

A child who saw me as his real-life Cinderella. 

A reminder that we are much more to others than we may ever realize.

If only we can continue to give with our hearts.

A gift I will always treasure. And never forget.


Live & Let Go

Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t burn a bridge.’?

Well, I have. And in my history, it has meant a lot.

But at what point does holding onto burning embers do more harm than good?

Imagine it.

Cutting them loose.

Sad, but free.

And yet . . . always wondering . . .

What if they were still there?

Camille Vaughan Photography

Live

First, it’s a bump.  A setback. A hinderance. 

Then, quite suddenly, a demand for attention. 

We explore options.  We’re optimistic. 

Sure, we stumble, but who doesn’t? 

And then, 

it’s different. 

It’s not a challenge to overcome anymore. 

It’s a new way of life. 

One we never asked for, nor wanted. 

We’re faced with a Dead End. 

Or, are we?

We stop.  We cry.  We lament. 

Then we retrace our steps and get our asses back on the 

Right. Damn. Track. 

Because when faced with a dead end, 

Other than dying, 

What are we supposed to do?

Live. 

We live. 

Camille Vaughan Photography

The Road Not Taken

Los Angeles. Studio City, to be precise. 

That’s where I was headed in 2005, with a roommate I’d spoken with for months over AOL but had never actually met in person. We had the lease to our apartment and I had a lead to a job as a script-writer with Dreamworks Studio. 

Instead, I pulled the plug two weeks before I was set to move.

It remains to be, the road not taken for me.

In place of California. I lingered on the East Coast taking a room with a family of 6. In exchange for room and board, I provided care for the kids.  As the youngest of 8, I had never had 4 younger “siblings” before and was terrified.  Quickly, I adapted, finding myself taking particular interest in that first grader mastering reading.  

I read the book What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles and shockingly wondered if he could be right- were the childhood games I played as a teacher my destiny?  Had I known and denied all along? 

I moved back to my hometown in my own blissful, 1-bedroom apartment,  and volunteered in the fourth grade classroom at my tiny, private elementary school, just to see if it was worth pursuing.  

And, oh, it was. 

I. Came. Alive. 

Yes, this is where I was meant to be all along. 

Until I had my own four children and stayed home to care for them. I quit my job as teacher and became Mama.

 I started my own blog to continue my pursuit of writing.  

Then a Pandemic hit and again, I became teacher. 

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost
Camille Vaughan Photography

Necessity

Let me guess,

You didn’t want to, right?

But you had to.

Out of necessity.

Yea, I get it.

I’m that advocate, too.

And, likely, over half of those poor bastards you interact with on a daily basis are in the same spot.

Stuck, but still caring.

Trapped, but still loving.

Cornered, but still exploring options.

Always, continuously, every day.

Caring. Loving. Advocating.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Tired, but Repeat.

Exhausted, but Repeat.

No other options so, Repeat.

Yea, we’re tired.

But you know what else?

We’re resilient as hell.

We can see others differently, in spite of.

We can empathize.

We can offer a hand.

We can endure,

Out of necessity.

Camille Vaughan Photography