365 Project – Day 250 – Behind the Screen

For all of the wonderful things the internet has given us–online shopping, gaming and fantasy sports, Ebay, YouTube, Facebook, email, etc.–there is also a darker side, because you just never know who is lurking behind that computer screen. The internet has both connected and isolated us, allowing people to connect and keep up with each other through a veil of comfortable anonymity.

When I received an invitation to join a small group of photographers in an online group last year, I was delighted. I’d been following several of them and admiring their work while trying to launch my own business and continue to develop my style and hone my skills. I quickly developed friendships with these amazing and talented women, and often wished that we all lived closer so we could actually have the chance to meet in person.

The joke quickly developed that we were all, in fact, a bunch of old, fat, hairy guys getting our kicks by pretending to be a bunch of young, up-and-coming photographers. And I guess you always wonder unless you get a chance to see for yourself who (or what) is hiding behind the screen.

As luck would have it, Erika, one of the photographers from the group, lives in Arizona, so I jumped at a chance to meet up with her as soon as I scheduled my visit. Since it is still hotter than hell here in Arizona, Erika welcomed me and Cadence into her home to meet her two young daughters, Elika and Selah.

From the moment we walked in the front door, Cadence and I felt totally at ease and welcome. There was no old, fat, hairy guy waiting to kidnap us or murder us with a  hatchet. Instead, we were greeted warmly with hugs from Erika and smiles from sweet baby Selah. Just three months apart in age, Cadence and Elika were best friends the moment they laid eyes on each other. They spent the first 20 minutes exchanging hugs and kisses and smiles, before taking off running and chasing each other and playing with Elika’s toys. They hooted and hollered and giggled and yelled and talked and laughed as if they had already been friends for a lifetime.

Funny, but that’s exactly how I felt about Erika too. Sure, I’ve been getting to know her this past year in our online group, but I have to admit, I was sort of amazed at how quickly we clicked and how the conversation never lagged. Add a delicious meal t that Erika made, and you’ve got yourself a damn near perfect day.

My only regret is not taking more photos while I was there, but I guess I just go so caught up in all the fun I was having with an amazing new friend. It’s just too bad that Arizona and Nebraska are so far apart. But, I guess that’s what vacations are for.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to a day well spent with some wonderful new friends. Here are two photos I snapped of Cadence and Elika’s impromptu percussion concert courtesy of the coffee table and a few of Erika’s knitting needles. It just doesn’t get much cuter than this.



365 Project – Day 210 – My Girl

Funny how a photographer can be photophobic, but there is a big difference between being behind the camera and in front of it–and I much prefer to be the one peering through the viewfinder, setting up the shot and capturing the moment. But, every now and then I just have to jump in the shot, especially when I get to share it with such a photogenic little girl.

Yeah, I know I’m biased, and it’s a really poor quality camera phone shot, but I think it’s amazing anyway.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to fun day spent with my favorite girl. I love lazy weekends!

365 Project – Day 194 – Everything I Asked For

Most people who know me know that I am adopted. It’s not a secret, and that little tidbit of information helps people understand how it can be possible for me to have three sets of parents and eleven siblings. Sure, it still sometimes takes an intricately illustrated playbook for most people to figure out just exactly how I am related to everyone in my extremely extended family, but at least they get the gist of it.

What most people don’t know is how difficult it was for me to come to terms with being an adopted child. Author Alex Haley once said, “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are, and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning, no matter what our attainments in life, there is the most disquieting loneliness.” I think that pretty much sums up the way I felt about my adoption back before I reunited with my birthfamily. In spite of having amazing parents, a great family, and a wonderful childhood, there was just always something missing.

I used to sit in front of the mirror and try to imagine what my birthparents looked like. I used to wonder if I would know them immediately if I bumped into them on the street. I used to study every line and every curve in my face, trying to memorize my features so I could search the faces of strangers on the street. For some reason, it was so important that I looked like someone, and it left me feeling alone and invisible when I didn’t.

Sometimes, even now,  when I think about the reunion with my birthfamily and how quickly and seamlessly my three families blended into one, I think that it is all too good to really be true.  I mean, really, how can one girl be this lucky? Three sets of amazing parents–heck, four counting my in-laws. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, neices and nephews. It is everything I dreamed about, everything I ever asked for, and so much more.

Some days, I still find it hard to believe that I am a mother. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a little girl myself? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I got my driver’s license or graduated high school or left everything and everyone I knew behind to move to New York and start college. Now, here I am, happily married, pushing 31, and every morning when I wake, there is a little girl that calls me from her crib, a little girl with my face looking up at me and smiling and holding out her arms to be held.

Funny how things turn out.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to my little Mini Me, and to all of my amazing family and friends. Without all of you, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. One of these days, I promise I will finish my book about it, because it is certainly one story that deserves to be told.

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