in a perfect world, my daughter will never leave my side.
She will never tell me she hates me, will never kiss a boy, she will never sneak out of her room at night, will never try alcohol before she’s 21, and will never go farther than a weekend drive distance for college.
But then i breathe. it’s an easy breath, because i know we have a bond that no matter how horrendous the fight, how crazy the boyfriend, or how far the distance to Princeton (her current obsession, not mine. i say Bates Bobcats all the way, sheesh), we will overcome.
I know these things will all happen, because i believe it is a right of passage, of sorts, for girls.
Now, let’s all acknowledge it’s 2011. Which means things are different than when i was a teenager in the 80’s.
First of all, i believe wholeheartedly that mothers and daughters have a different relationship now. We’re strict, of course, but of the hundreds of mothers i know today, i see a friendship, a closeness, a TRUST, that i don’t think existed back when i was young.
Second, i believe the age of social media has changed the course of things for the relationship between a mother and her daughter (i use this gender-gender only because it’s the one i live and therefore the only one upon which i can comment).
We have cell phones, we have facebook, we have texing, tweeting, and MMS’ing.
I know, without a doubt, that i can, at any point, track my daughter’s whereabouts (with aforementioned trust) and therefore spend many fewer sleepless nights than MY mother did where there was nothing more than a landline upon which she could rely.
and finally. most importantly. why a boy? why not a person with whom she falls in love?
Why IS that always the fairytale, to this day?
Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine.
All fought for the prince. All needed the prince. All, weirdly, knew how to ride a galloping horse riding sideways, which is utter bullshit…. but i digress.
Here’s the thing.
My daughter. My beautiful, sweet, loving 9 year old (or “almost 10 year old” as she reminds me daily), has been asking to try on my wedding dress recently. It’s been in storage for years whilst building our house, so it didn’t really exist in her life.
But she remembers it well, as she was our flower girl in our wedding, at age 3.
And now, 6 years later, it is out of storage and hanging in my closet. She is relentless with her request to touch it, feel it, play every girls traditional game of “dress-up” in it.
But life has been busy. Weekends get task driven… do the things that fall behind during a 50 hour plus work week.
Today was about my 9-almost-10-year-old being able to live out her fantasy of trying on my wedding dress.
But on my terms.
Which means we got to do it in barefeet, in the mud, with no makeup, and showing the trueness of my wildchild instead of the bullshit fantasy of a Disney princess following the rules of society and hoping for acceptance from wicked stepmothers, too-pretty-for-their-own-good princes, and surly-ass queens.
This is the photoshoot we did. Together. Me and my daughter.
With nothing more than my Canon G11 and my new found love for Lightroom.
And if, when she is older and ready to say “i do”, i hope, pray, and know in the very essence of my soul it will be to the man or woman she loves.
To the princesses, be damned.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
Beautiful even in the dirt and leaves.
oh thank you thank you! this one got personal, really personal, so the positive feedback means a TON.
Extremely well written AC, it WAS personal followed by photographs that captured the words written quite perfectly.
no words, Sabeeka. just thank you. thank you.
Nice images, I like the mood. This time, in the dirt…to differentiate between when she is older and will be trying a wedding dress for real, for whomever her partner will be. Well done.
Jeff, thank you so much! And you nailed it. the contrast. it’s always the unknown that is scary, isn’t it! so much appreciated. AC
I like to count…
1. Savannah is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She is wise beyond her years, kind and caring to depths that should not be comprehendible to a 10-year old, and has an intelligence about her that is slightly mysterious. This photo shoot really provokes my thoughts about her.
2. your wedding dress is gorgeous
3. I adore your relationship with Savannah…and yes, I think that there is a different level of trust today…because there HAS to be. The world is opened up to youth as soon as they are able to open their eyes and hear words.
4. amazing PHOTO editing and shoot…
5. xo to the moon
you just made me cry, Zilla. to the moon, my fellow lycanthrope.
Your daugter, the letter and the pictures are beautiful. Hits close to home as my babygirl is 9 almost 10 as well. She is a mini version of me(lol) I’ve had a lot of people give me a lot of guff over the bond that she and I have. Hearing that someone else has the same bond with their daughter brightens my day. Thank you.
we are soul sisters, then! having a daughter this age is priceless, and i am so happy to hear your bond with her is very close as well. scoff the guff… embrace that bond! thank you so much for the comment!
I have no words. You open your heart with every blog, and you let us into your world.
I love looove the contrast of the seriousness/maturity of the wedding dress vs the innocence of an-almost-10 little girl. Your daughter is gorgeous and you capture the moment sooo incredibly well !!
Your relationship with your daughter is definitely a testament to what a great mother you are …
oh god you are too kind, E! thank you so much for supporting my crazy blog and accepting the madness that wanders through my mind on a daily basis. I think YOU should start one! Regardless, long as i have something to get off my chest, i’ll keep pushing these things out… and when it goes deep, all the better. xo, my friend. AC
There are not enough words to say how deeply you touch with your words and pictures.
Your deep soulful love and connection to Sav moves me- makes me want to have my young son back- even for a day- to hold the precious child he was- and precious still is.Love you. And love the scarf:)
Thank you Laura! I knew the basic intent of what i wanted to shoot today, but i didn’t have the “accessory” nailed down, and i knew i needed one! so we’re wandering through the house looking through rooms and boxes, not finding anything… then walked into her room, saw that scarf on her shelf, and it practically reached out to me itself… it was perfect! thank you for YOUR gift… it pays back in ways beyond warming our neck… YOU are the artist! And yes, our children grow up so fast, it’s why i have to photograph her as much as possible…it’s what keeps them alive as we start loosing our minds :). love you too.
I guess I’ll have to make her one of her own!
Please tell her that when she is old enough, and doing her college applications, I will be happy to write her a letter of recommendation for Princeton. It is a school that she will truly love, and you will too, even from 3,000 miles away. Go Tigers!
Mark, i didn’t realize you were a Tiger! what a very sweet offer! I am surprising her next month, on her 10th birthday, with a trip to NYC and Princeton! she’ll have no idea until the day of, when we’ll just drive on out to the airport… trust me, you’ll get pics of the adventure!
Nan- stumbled upon this blog and am absolutely blown away by your clever yet beautiful prose and your incredibly stunning photos (5 page spread worthy -W mag – except for the fact that she is only 9.9 years old! – wow). I am heart-warmed by your deep love and respect for your beautiful daughter and it sounds to me like your relationship with her is one to be envied by many. You – and your daughter – are blessed! Look forward to reading and enjoying more of your blogs and photos. xoxo
Wow, Sarah! those are simply just the kindest words ever written! A couple things. First, i am so sorry to hear about your mother. I can’t imagine, even remotely, how hard that must have been, and still is for you and your family. Writing about the bond Sav and i have is my gift to her, i hope, when she comes to truly appreciate it. And the photos, well, thank god we live in a digital age where i can edit the crap out of pictures and make them look better than they actually are! Secondly, and way more unexpectedly, hearing “Nan” is like soup for the soul… don’t hear it often, and love that my friends and family from “back then” still call me that :). Anyway, i really appreciate what your wrote, and would love to see you sometime – i’ll even bring my G11 and you can let me loose on a shoot w/ your gorgeous boys… i would LOVE that!!!! Best to you and your family, we miss your sister too! xoxo back atcha. Nan.
AC, I sat here @ my desk 2day during lunch and read this post. Amazing what words, your words, can do to evoke emotions. I’ve got quite a few years 2 go, but my daughter (now almost 5) has been photographed in my wedding dress, since she was 1 years old. We do it every year, just after her birthday, and these pictures are my all time favs. Each year, I comment that I don’t see how she could be any more beautiful in her own skin. Each year, I envision the time when this “dress-up” will be 4 real. Her eyes always filled with hope and wonder and love and innocence. As she grows and matures, I hope she never loses that look. I hope she can see her strength and beauty in her eyes, even at such a young age. Bonds with your children are a beautiful thing – son or daughter. I am so very lucky to have both. Thank you, AC, for taking me on yet another emotional journey.
Sharon… seriously… send me those photos.. i really, really really want to see them! i wish i had thought of that! what an amazing gem you hold, all those photos, year after year. Thank you so much for this comment, it means the WORLD to me. to mothers everywhere…. it simply just IS. thank you! xo. AC
What to say to a woman who feels, who see’s and who has the miracle of holding a daughter, one who cherishes the gift that was given… Who doesn’t take for granted. Your words are beautiful and the photos are breathtaking. Thank you for sharing what some of us can only dream about!
Beauty, lovely, heartfelt, a gift that is clearly appreciated. Thank you A!!!!
ah woman, you leave me speechless. what would i do without you in my life! thank you thank you and i shall see you soon :). many stories to exchange. xo, my friend.
Beautiful, Nan. Both the words and the photos.
my fellow Batsie!!! thank you, Emma. Miss you and would love to see more pics! that boy is the perfect combo of you and Jeff! hugs to all. xo.
Hi you!! I have never left a “comment”on a blog before but I had to because I LOVE LOVE LOVE these pics. Beautiful!!!
that means so much, Jenna!!!! thank you thank you… welcome to the mother/daughter world of wonder. miss you a ton… and hope to see you very, very soon! xo.
wow. I have been stalking you for a while on this blog and you have touched my heart with your writing…love the pictures, but stories are so much more than the photography. Friends with David in HS and so happy he has such a deep, fun partner…and BEAUTIFUL daughter. Keep me grounded! Thank you!
Thank you so much Debbie!!! it is so nice to hear that people connect with some of the crazy stuff i write… i started it for me, as an outlet, and though that’s what it continues to be, it’s comments like this that enable me to write more, to open up more, and to continue to find inspiration in everyday random things! thank you thank you!
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