Fan Girl Friday: Enjoying the Small Things

Van Gogh used paints to portray what inspired him... Me?  I like photos and words.  I invest in this blog not only because I love the art of weaving words and images together to tell a story, but because, in doing so, I find myself looking more deeply for the beauty in life and consequently finding it in more places.
I've accidentally taken (most) of this week off of blogging. I didn't really mean to. Back to school and a new schedule meant I had some spaces of time for me. I was not cramped to blog this week...so what's up with the vacancy of posts?

 

It seems that I flat out wasted time this week (what?!). I luxuriated in going to bed early, baking cookies, even cleaning some neglected areas of my home. I won't let it happen again. :)

 

Kelle Hampton was one of my first inspirations as a blogger. Somehow I found her sight, clicked over to her about page, and identified. She had also been a fifth grade teacher; she was a blossoming photographer. She loved her kids.

 

Her site, Enjoying the Small Things, was and is covered with large, gorgeous images, mostly of her children but also her world through the well-lit, sharp lens of her eye. I've never met Kelle or her children, but I found myself captivated by her images and touched by her words.

 

She helped me recognize the beauty of honesty on the internet. She as a mom shared her raw feelings and photos of her daughters' birth stories, one more complex than the other. Me as a new mom felt liberated to know that it was okay to feel the whole gamut of emotion as a mother and woman. We are not shut off to feel only joy and rapture; we feel it all. And sharing those challenges and sadnesses and triumphs only brings us closer to one another.

 

At this moment, I heard the sounds of our birth song begin to fill the room...When You Love Someone.

And I began to cry.

My husband, my friends, my dad, my nurses...all of them smiling...cameras flashing...

One more push.

Oh, this is so hard...

I pushed. I pushed and watched as the tiniest little body came out of me, arms flailing, lungs wailing...and then, they put her in my arms.

...and I knew.

I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome and nobody else did. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn't have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn't my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over...she locked eyes with mine and stared...bore holes into my soul. 

Love me. Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me.

That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story. 

I've followed Kelle's beautiful journey. I've wept happily, wept sadly with someone I've never met, and I related. A piece of her life is captured in her book, Bloom.

I don't often bare my soul here, but I do feel it's a space where I can. And thanks to brave people like Kelle, I know the power that raw and honest has to reach people in a place they didn't know existed.

Thanks, Kelle.

I'm a fan girl.

xoxo, MJ 

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