After taking some time off the last couple of months I figured it was the perfect time to jump back in and share Sophie’s amazing images with you. We had the best time playing in the studio, then hitting the streets of Tacoma, the Roberson Building and the roof top patio of their lovely home. Thank you for such a great time with you and your mom. Happy Birthday Sophie and I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you will accomplish in your life time.
I photographed McKenna a few weeks ago and it was just beginning to feel like fall. It’s amazing how quickly time passes by. I hope that McKenna soaks up all the little memories of her senior year. I just can’t get enough of looking at her senior photos and I’m so happy she choose me to document her final year of high school. Now if I can just get her lovely mother in my studio…
It is so great when you meet a senior that knows exactly what she wants out of her photo session. Sabrina and her lovely mom Bonnie had every detail covered and it is always great to incorporate personal items into a session. Sabrina plays the violin and we had a great time scattering sheet music all around. They brought glitter and balloons, which of course if you know Sabrina, there was definitely a lot of giggles happening. She is one of the happiest young ladies and it shows in all aspects of her life and personality. Aside for all the smiles and giggles that come so easily to Sabrina and created lots of amazing photos, I believe one of my favorite images is of her laying in the grass with her bible opened to a verse that is very special to her.
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
This is Sabrina…
I know I say this over and over, but I am blessed with being able to photography the sweetest girls. I meet Trinh a couple of years ago, but just really had the pleasure of getting to know her better during the planning of her session. Trinh is a true fashionista and even has her on fashion blog http://theclassysociety.blogspot.com. I have and will be featuring Trinh’s latest looks on my website and Facebook. She just recently spent a month in Vietman visting her family and friends. She texted me right when she returned from her trip for us to start planning her session, but she needed a couple of weeks to shop, because she gave all her clothes away to family and friends back in Vietman. They all fell in love with her incredible sense of fashion and without hesitation Trinh passed on all her clothing for them to enjoy. She has a huge heart and her family and friends have and always will come first in her life. Trinh will be attending UW Tacoma in the fall.
Last week my family said our final goodbyes to Kathleen Parker, whom had been a great part of our lives for the last 10 years. Kathleen was many things to many people, but to us she was my son’s nanny and my dear friend. When my son was almost 2 years old I had to return to Augusta, Georgia (where I had spent many many days in the hospital beginning right after my 16th birthday) for the first of two surgeries to correct complications that I had during pregnancy. The second to take place 6 months later in Georgia as well. I wasn’t going to be able to lift our son for almost a year and that is how Kathleen came into our lives. I put out an email for a nanny to all my friends. We knew it was going to be a little difficult to find someone that could just drop everything and travel to Georgia with us for approximately 3 weeks. Within days I was put in contact with Kathleen.
Kathleen had nannied for families from the Puget Sound area to Israel and back again. We met and connected right off the bat. Four weeks later she was on a plane with us to Georgia for a little over 3 weeks in an extended stay hotel. I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks and then recuperating for another week before being allowed to fly back to Tacoma. Kathleen cared for Maxwell in the day and my husband at night. She quickly became Maxwell’s best friend and nanny to the both of us. During the second step of surgery Kathleen and Maxwell stayed home while my husband I and returned to Augusta for another couple of weeks.
For the next year Kathleen was my rock. She was there for me during all the tears and frustrations. Trying to heal and be the best mother I could be. I could have never done it without her. Over the next several years (except a couple of 6 to 9 month periods when she spent time in Alaska with family) Kathleen remained Maxwell’s part time nanny and my shoulder to lean on. She traveled on trips with us and celebrated birthday’s, holidays, took care of Maxwell while we went away for a few days here and there. She was very much a part of our lives in every way.
A little more than two years ago Kathleen was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She had endured many hardships in her years with an attitude like no one I had ever met. Her ability to look life in the face and laugh at it and move on was amazing. She had travel far and wide. Living life like a feather in the wind. Whether it was cooking on a crab boat, working at a fish camp in the wilderness of Alaska with no electricity, even volunteering in the Israeli Defense Force and of course being a nanny to countless children, there wasn’t much she had not done or experienced in her incredible life. Only she did it with a simplicity that only few people could do. One of the many talents of Kathleen’s was writing. She wrote everywhere she went. Always carrying a journal to write short stories, poems and to sketch in.
Kathleen over came every obstacle presented to her during her 77 years on this planet with grace and a smile, except cancer. The cancer was cruel…
I would like to share with you one of my favorite short stories that Kathleen wrote in her memory. This one is very precious to me and as you read your will understand why. The little boy is mine.
This photo was taken in Seaside, Oregon on one of many adventures.
The Dandelion Princess
The old women sat on one of the biggest logs that the high tide had strewn across the beach, her feet dangling over the sand. She sat facing the sea on a cloudless day, the clean fresh sea air filling her lungs. She closed her eyes and breathed deep, and in that breath acknowledged that winter was being pushed aside by the whiffs of sweet salty air that carried the hint of spring. The little boy in her care scampered over the logs carrying on a conversation with himself and his imagination. She watched him with loving eyes. “Come see” he called, his voice full of excitement. How vital he is she thought, she pulled her feet up and carefully walked along the log. He had found two very small dandelions in the grass that hugged the beach. “See” he said “can I pick them?. “Of course.” He picked them so carefully and held one under his nose, “put them in your pocket please” and he was off again leaving behind an aura of freedom and adventure.
She held the dandelions to her nose, these rugged wild flowers, she thought, are indeed the harbinger of spring, and in that instant, smelling the bitter sweet fragrance, her mind flickered into a long forgotten memory. She could see two little girls of long ago sitting at the edge of a country lane beside a very big brown mud puddle. It seemed that the mud puddle was always there. Here in the this valley tucked between the surrounding foot hills of Mt. Rainier, one could count on rain all year long. Such a mud puddle it was , it seemed so large she thought, and how thick the wild grass grew, its blades long and sharp, the kind of grass that would make a whistling noise if you put one of leaves between your thumbs and blew hard. The girls had learned this from their big brothers. They were not sisters, they were best friends.
The old woman gazed far into the horizon of the sea, how old would they have been she thought? She watched the little boy as he scrambled across the logs, the wind carrying his voice that was still in conversation with his imagination. Perhaps they were seven, she thought. What a different time that was then. The country still at war, everyone in the country, old and young alike, putting all their effort together for the war effort, the radio holding center stage in keeping everyone in touch with the goings on across the sea. No computer then, no cell phones, or television. A time of excitement in going to the movies and watching the news on the screen. The fear and heartache on the faces reading the names in the newspaper for local boys gone, the stars in the windows and the ten party telephone lines that kept everyone up to date.
The old women remembered what her mother had once said, “we are not poor, we just do not have a lot of money.” This was true of all the neighbors, for what they had in abundance was a richness of spirit and pride. They did without. They had come through the big depression of the thirty’s and now gave what they had in money for war bonds, and the life blood of their sons. They saved and smashed and recycled the used tin cans to build ships and planes. Their daddy’s worked for the shipyards to help build the war ships. The old women could see in her minds eye her own daddy riding a bicycle to to catch a ride fro work. The family did not have a car. She remembered the ration books, the mother’s using them as sparingly as possible for the necessities, flour and sugar and shoes, she remembered that much. They were good honest hard working family’s, “only people without hope are poor” the mother had said. Hope for a better world kindled the spirits, this war would be over and better times around the corner. The women remembered all these things. These words of value had been implanted deeply in the little girls mind. Never was a lack of money to be confused with being poor, the lack of spirit and hope made one poor. One must put on a good face, and face the world.
The little girl’s friends had created a world of their own, a little girl’s world filled with kings and queens and pretty things. Their imagination knew no limits. One day to be nightingale girls, on another to be pretty girls. They had created a code system so the grown ups would not know what they were playing. N.G. for nightingale girls, and P.G. for pretty girls. She remembered that the parents were worried about the P.G. game, and asked for an explanation, and seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when the answer was so innocent. It was an innocent world for the little girls, happiness found in a new coloring book and a new box of crayons all clean and sharp, and paper dolls and the tall fir trees that grew in the grove where the wind made songs as it blew threw the limbs, limbs that invited little hands to reach and climb and climb, feeling the tree sway as they reached closer to the top.
As though blown in on the East wind, there would come that one day that held an anticipation, a magic day that seemed to pull the little girls toward the big brown mud puddle at the end of the lane. A whisper of a breeze on a hot lazy summer’s day. A day when the dandelions were in full bloom and just right for picking. The perfect day. Perfect for the little girls that were best friends to meed and make dandelion princess’s. Only there beside the big puddle, their summer brown lefts curled under their dresses, each holding a carefully selected lap full of bright yellow dandelions, was happiness, about them an aura of freedom. Their little girl laughter filled the air.
It was necessary, if one was going to do this right, to have two things in plentiful supply, water and big long soft stemmed dandelions, and both of these could be found right there at the end of the land by the side of the road, half way between the little girls homes. There they would meet. Here was the place for the creations of each dandelion princess and her court of ladies in waiting. The little girls did not know what the ladies in waiting did or what they were waiting for, they only knew that a princess had as many ladies in waiting as possible. How many satisfying hours the two little girls had spent along the side of that puddle, the old woman thought. Two little country girls, bare legged, bare fitted, meeting at the puddle.
The challenge to create the perfect dandelion princess was no small feat of finger dexterity and imagination. Each little girls inspected each dandelion for its roundness of stem, the fluff of its flower. Was the stem long enough, was it soft? The softer stems could be peeled back easier that the harder brittle stems. Such serious concentration, she thought, and not without a determined sense of silent competition. When would the subjective judging begin? To have a good healthy dandelion was the first requirement and of all the places the little friends had looked, they had both agreed that the dandelions that grew in the long grass beside the big brown mud puddle were the cre’me de la cre’me of dandelions.
The silent competition begin, each little girl running to select and pick as fas as possible her handful of dandelions, friendship put to test when one flower was wanted by both. Sections made, they curled up beside the big puddle with their dandelions, each peeling back one dandelion stem at a time. Now was when a perfect stem was most important. IT was the soft supple stem that could be split into as many separate slices as possible without cracking the stem, so that each slice of the stem could be curled up tight, then placing each curled stem carefully into the muddy water, not to get the golden flower wet but to tight each curl. One by one they were taken out and little fingers pulled the tight coils into long tendrils. Many would be princess would be born, alas the less perfect relegated to ladies in waiting. The dandelion to be the princess, would have long golden tendrils falling down upon her full golden skirt. Only the more golden yellow skirt be full enough? Would the perfect curls reach her golden skirt or would a shorter style be more fitting?
The old women smiled to herself, how innocent we were, she thought, and kept the smile for the little boy who was running toward her with another handful of discovery’s to share. The old women put the little dandelions the little boy had given her in her pocket. What young wonderful carefree days those days had been. She wondered what had happened to the other little girl. She remembered her carrot red hair and wise brown eyes. The little boy now out of breath stood before her looking into her face with his own wise brown eyes that held such pleasure and spark. “See” he said, “see what I found!” the old women laughed and clapped her hands in joy over his treasures. “Put them in your pocked too please,” he said, dropping them into her lap, running away again toward the sea, a sea that now reflected its own brilliant sparks from the light of the afternoon sun. She watched him run down the beach. What a wonderful carefree day this had been, she thought. What a gift this child. She slid off the big log the sea hand flung upon the shore in a moment of wildness, her legs stretching into a run, “wait for me” she cried out happily, “wait for me”.
By Kathleen Muller Parker