Ain’t it Funny

I should be losing. my. mind.

Homeschooling four kids ages 2, 4, 6 and 8 with governor stay-at-home orders.  No access to outside enrichment including the aquarium, playgrounds, or museums.  No playdates.

But ain’t it funny?

I lost my mind a long time ago!

Ha!

Take that coronavirus!

I gave up on the illusion of control back when I had my second.

I surrendered to the life-unexpected when my third arrived.

And I hit rock bottom when our fourth surprised us with a chronic, rare syndrome.

I should be losing. my. mind.

But ain’t it funny?

I embraced chaos a long way back.

And thanks to that,

I’m having the time. of. my. life.

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Camille Vaughan Photography

These Days

I do not have a plan.
 
Let’s let that sink in for a minute.
 
Tomorrow is Monday.  I am a previous elementary school teacher with a Masters in Pk-6 education and a doctorate in perfection and I have no idea what I am doing tomorrow.
 
I do not have a beautiful color-coded schedule from 8-5 of what the heck my kids will be doing tomorrow.
 
In fact, as I type, my 1 year-old is completing losing her mind on the baby monitor because she is smack-dab in the middle of a nap and overall-sleep-for-the-greater-good-of-human-kind strike.
 
I’ve vaguely discussed the lack of school for the next month with my kids. I entertained the idea of me becoming “Mrs. Carawan” to the point that they want me to dress the part.
 
Yes, I know from experience that kids thrive on schedules.
 
But life with 4 kids?
 
Is anything but.
 
If I am being completely honest, schedules and expectations let me down these days.
 
Best to make loose plans and adjust as needed.
 
In fact, isn’t that what the world needs most now?
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Camille Vaughan Photography

New Waters

Oh, my.

New waters.

And yet haven’t we been here before?

I see it in my youngest as her brain explodes with new information.  New vocabulary.  New abilities.  New resolve to not ever do once she once did.

Our desire to be in control is ever fervent.

And yet ever not fully ours to control.

We are humbled,

as much as we allow ourselves to be.

As. Much. As. We. Allow. Ourselves. To. Be.

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Camille Vaughan Photography

 

Identity

Around the circle we went.

Name, address, kids’ names and ages and finally, career.

I was anxious and excited for my friends to share with one another what I already knew about each of them.

And yet felt wholly unprepared when asked to answer the question myself.

Career?

I spent the first part of my childhood dreaming of becoming a teacher.  It evolved to aspirations of becoming a National Geographic Photographer and later, a writer.  But all along, the desire of becoming a mother and staying at home to tend to them was as constant as the ocean currents.

I taught fourth grade throughout my pregnancy and am writing now.  I’ve never become a National Geographic Photographer, but I’ve taken some pretty striking photos over the years.

So why do I feel embarrassed to report my dream status?  Stay-at-home-mother.

I suppose it all comes down to identity.

How do we define ourself?

What are we proud to report and what do we have left to achieve?

Who are you or perhaps more importantly,

who do you have yet to become?

It’s your identity.

And it’s yours to create.

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Chapters

Today, I discovered a college friend of mine passed away, suddenly, of complications from the flu.

I am shocked.

Death from flu is supposed to happen to newborns, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, not a healthy mom of two young boys.

Or, so I thought.

She and her husband, whom she had dated since her early teens, were my college neighbors.  I took a cruise with her, and two other girlfriends, to Mexico in our senior year.  It was a momentous occasion for me.  The time after an abusive relationship.  A new beginning.  A rebirth.  And she was a part of it.

I haven’t spoken to her in years and yet, it feels like yesterday.

Why is that?

I searched through old photos and realized,

our lifetime is one big story.

And you cannot possibly have the same ending without each and every chapter.

So often, others have wondered why I hang on to letters, photos, and contacts.

And the answer is, because I never want to forget.

Without it, my story would never be the same.

Pam, thank you for the memories. You were an important chapter in my life and you will never be forgotten.

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In Loving Memory of Pamela Leon

 

Time

I see you.

Creeping on in, like a child scared of the dark.

You might think I’d be surprised.

But I’ve been expecting you all along.

I saw you first, on my piano teacher’s hands.

And asked, with pride, if my hand would look like that one day, too.

You see, I thought those hands meant experience.

And I desperately wanted that.

So here, I am.

With just a little experience.

And a long way to go.

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Captured by Katie McCracken

But What Do We Do With It?

Today, millions are mourning the death of the passengers aboard the helicopter carrying basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13 year-old daughter.

The response seems right in line with any shocking news: Life. Is. Short. Live each day to its fullest.  Tell those you love that you love them.  Apologize before it’s too late. Don’t take today for granted.

But what does that truly look like for people around the world?

The thoughts are moving but the reality of taking my dream vacation today is unreachable.

So, now what?

I crawled into my attic to retrieve the mementos I’ve saved in my lifetime, curious as to what I considered important.

And, you know what I found?

Pages.

Pages and pages of what I’ve written since I could write.

And photographs.

Thousands of prints.

My treasures.

Meaningless to few others than myself, but invaluable to me.

It begs the questions:

What do you treasure?

What are you going to do with it?

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