Amy and I were close friends in high school and college and, at some point, we grew apart. We kept in touch here and there through facebook, but we hadn’t seen each other in over 15 years before this photo shoot.
But, there is something about having history with someone you shared your teenage years with. Someone you laughed with and cried with and got into trouble with. Someone who knows you better than most, even though you haven’t been close for years. And we have the same tattoo that we got together when we were 17. Ha! During her photo shoot, we spent a lot of time talking about life. Talking about our successes and our struggles. It was like no time had passed.
I photographed Amy when I was in Michigan. When we initially talked about her shoot, she said she wanted to do it “stripped down” — meaning she wanted to forgo the hair and makeup makeover that usually comes with my glamour photo shoots. She wanted no makeup and she would let her hair air dry. At almost 37 and with 4 kids, she said she feels more beautiful now than ever before.
When I asked her to write me her 10 things about her list, she decided to really open up with a “stripped down” version, just like with her photo shoot. I felt really emotional reading her list.
Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. My twenties. I got pregnant when I was 21 years old. I was not married. I was scared and felt alone. I was a child who was going to be raising a child. I had not even graduated from college. I cried and ate a lot. I gave birth to her and she was an absolute miracle. She was perfect and made my life complete. I never knew I could love someone so much. She made me a better person. She was meant to be.
2. My husband. I married a amazing man. I love him. My marriage is not perfect and we have our struggles. We fight, we argue and sometimes I feel like we are roommates. Marriage is work. I fall in and out of love with my husband and he falls in and out of love with me. What I do know is I will work every day to make my marriage stronger because he is the man that I want to grow old with. He is the man that I know would take care of me if I was sick. He is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.
3. Kids. I was blessed with four beautiful, healthy kids. Three girls and a boy. They are awesome. They are great students and athletes. But, they too have struggled in life. It seems once I get one child on track another one falls off. That’s life, though. Everything is not always going to come easy or be perfect. I feel like if I am there to help them to pick up their pieces at low points or cheer them on at high points I am doing my job. Am I the perfect parent?…oh heck no. But I do my best, I do my very best and I give them every last ounce of love that I have in my body.
4. My parents. My parents are my life line. They are selfless, loving, caring, giving…I could go on and on. I am scared of losing them. Scared out of my mind. I just can’t imagine the day. The day that I can’t pick up the phone and call them. The day that I can’t wrap my arms around my dad. That day. I feel like I am being punched in the stomach when I think about it. I enjoy and cherish every single moment with them.
5. Business. My family business where I work is a crematory. We cremate 400 people a month from babies to elderly. Life can be short and every day is a gift. Treasure your life. Love your life.
6. Parenting. Once I let go of “mommy guilt” I was golden. I am not the perfect parent. I have yelled, lost my temper and on occasion, have acted like a complete lunatic. But, for every bad moment I have had so many many more good ones. I am human and will make many parenting mistakes. I am learning along the way. I love my kids and they know that. They are my heart. My everything.
7. Friendships. Every woman from young to old needs friends to laugh with and to cry with. I am so very lucky to have friends who are loyal, non judgmental, and love me at my absolute worst and best. My girlfriends can make me laugh even when I am at low points in my life. My girls are my soul mates. I don’t know how I would go through the ups and downs of life without them.
8. Life. I am a true believer that every single person comes into your life for a reason. A purpose. This photo shoot is a perfect example. It was set up last minute. We made it happen and it fired up a 20 year old friendship. We bonded. I will never forget those moments. It was totally meant to be.
9. Me myself and I. I took me 36 years 3 months and 9 days to love every part of myself. I love my beautiful parts and my flaws. I treat myself and my body with respect. After all, it was my body that gave me my children. It is my body that takes me on long runs when I need them. My body is truly my temple and I take darn good care of it. I finally feel content with every aspect of myself. I finally feel beautiful.
10. What you see is what you get. I am a very “real” person who wears my heart on my sleeve. I don’t pretend to have the perfect marriage. I don’t pretend to be the perfect mom with “little angels” for kids. I know I make mistakes in life every day. I learn and move on. Life is an every day adventure. I used to be such a planner…whether it was meals for the week or where I would be 6 months from now. I am finally starting to live for the day. Enjoy the moment. I think it happened when my daughter got her driver’s license and I realized it’s all just going by way too fast. Every day I remind myself life is short. Life is precious. Life is an every day gift.