Those of you who know me, and even those of you who don't , know very well that I love my daughter more than anything ! She is now 23 and in graduate school at JMU and I can't begin to tell you how very proud I am of her.
I am also very proud of our journey together as Mommy & Darty :)
I had my daughter 'late' in life at the age of 40 and I wanted her as much as life itself. I had suffered several miscarriages and a still birth before she was born and I could not imagine a life without being her Mother. I knew , from the moment she was conceived that she was a girl. I was already making her baby clothes.
Cassidy Joy was born on Halloween morning , 10 days past her due date and weighing almost 10 lbs. It was a long painful labor ending in an emergency cesarean , but it was all worth it of course. The nurse told me ''This ones got a temper", and I laughed at her , as she turned back at me and said "Honey, I been rocking these babies for 20 years, I can tell. "
We spent her infant year and saw her take her first steps and speak her first words in an old Victorian house apartment in Downtown Hampton right smack behind the Hampton Library . I pushed her stroller there every single day and brought back wonderful picture books and first readers and we ate them up like a good meal every night! Cassi loved being read to and I was unaware how well she was paying attention and learning how to read through 'osmosis' . The librarian would tell me , when she was around two, "That child is already reading Susi , listen to her!" but i just thought she had memorized the books in the same ways she could recall all the words to a song.
We moved from Downtown to the beach and from the ages 2-6 we had a blast riding bikes, roller skating, running on the beach, flying kites and walking to the local diner and Bob's pizza parlor in the evenings. We still spent many hours at all the local libraries.
I was working as a portrait artist, antique furniture painter, House cleaner and embroidery artist and so I got to have my baby with me while I worked. One day I was making a seat cover for a customer and Cassi climbed in his lap and started reading the "Learning Tree" to him. She was only around three and so I still thought she was memorizing and he insisted she was reading , so I got down another book she was not as familiar with, and sure enough she knew all the words! All I could think, was dang this child is smart ! But , I do believe she read early because we had no TV when she was little and I talked with her all the time and all that reading had to of helped !
Because of her reading ability which, of course , helped her in all learning areas , I had her tested to start school at 4 because she was well ready. She took to school like a duck to water, with the exception of missing home and that dreaded task of homework, she has always loved the 'learning' and she still does.
We moved to Wytheville , Va, when Cassi was seven (Where I was born) and it was a tough transition for us both to leave our friends and cozy beach town where we could walk and ride a bike to get about anywhere we wanted and then be here in this rural environment where most places we wanted to go, was an hour drive!
Then the teen years hit and , for the first time, my daughter went from thinking i was the 'coolest' to thinking I was the 'clueless' :)
Any Mom knows these years are riddled with so many unpredictable emotions and heart breaking friction!
There were times It felt like I had a stranger walking around in my daughters body :) But, as hard as it was on me, I knew that her anger and dramatic emotional swings were also taking its toll on her and so I tried my best to be patient and compassionate , as I knew we would come though it all and be all the more closer and stronger !
I'm proud to say that is what happened ! These past few years we have truly become best friends who share every joy and sorrow with one another and talk or text several times a day.
This was actually supposed to be a short introduction to my latest gallery ! Ha! Yes, I can go on :)
I have been missing her so much lately and had been thinking about that time when she was about 13 and started to pull away from me into her own world.. a world called 'Adolescence'. It is a sort of dance of leaving and arriving, of pushing and pulling, of hating and loving and of both parent and child accepting the inevitable reality of 'Growing Up'. Its a tough dance, when neither person knows the steps , but in the end , there is growth, maturity and harmony for everyone ! Don't we love happy endings !
I wanted to show this emotional stage and how it feels when it first starts to reveal itself. As an artist , and photographer, it is natural to want to predict this visually. I had met a little girl about this age, at wedding I shot last Spring and she turned out to be the niece of the Brides Mother!
So Last Friday 'Kassie Hackler' , and her Mom, Lisa, agreed to come to the Reed Creek Farm (Where I shot the wedding ) and 'act out' this sentimental time between a Mother and daughter. I call this style a 'Story Board' Session. It was fun!
I hope you enjoy the gallery !