Gravity of Time

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Quote of the Day:  “Time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older, too.” ~ Stevie Nicks

I’m feeling nostalgic today as I turn a year older and the small child graduates from Third Grade.  They say that your past comes back to you as your child journeys forward. Perhaps it is because we feel so intrinsically close to our children, that we not only want to share our joys with them; but, also share our pain and hardships in order to protect and guide them.

As much as I try not to do it;  it is very hard not to compare our lives; the similarities and the differences.  It was 1972 when I graduated from Third Grade.  My parents split that year and we shuttled between Germany, Cleveland and Ohio.  I was a straight “A” student (tickets to the Big Red Machine to prove it:), the best speller in the Mrs. McConnaughey and Ward’s class and the most terrified child on the planet.   It wasn’t easy trying to figure things out when you are eight going on nine years old.

As I look at my beautiful child and reflect on her Third Grade year I feel a sense of relief and gratitude.   Relief that history did not repeat itself.  Gratitude that I was able, for my family’s sake, to remain an optimist about love and life.  And a certain feeling of honor and ownership that I am able to share with her knowledge about worlds that are not so perfect.

I always accused my Mama as looking at life through rose colored glasses.  Thank you, Mama, for leaving those glasses on the nightstand for me. I promise I will leave them behind for the small child; however, I think she was born wearing a pair of her own 🙂

On June 8, 1963, Herta Renges Craft gave birth to the last of  her six children.  Thank you, Mama, for the gift of life, the gift of contentment and 48 happy birthdays!!  xoxo!!

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Barbie

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Quote of the Day:  “The woman wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.” ~Naomi Wolf

I’m tired.  I’ve been editing all day.  I can’t even figure out how to turn off the italics on this blog.  With that said, I’ve decided to keep it light.

Hold on to your hats all you politically correct mommy and daddys; I gave my daughter her first Barbie when she was 2.  Yes, according to many of you, I have set her on the path of complete destruction of self esteem and body image.   And, I wasted no time in doing so.

Call me selfish.  I loved Barbie when I was a kid.  I played with my Barbies until I was, embarrassingly, too old to be playing with Barbies.  I don’t think Barbie messed with my self image.  I had and continue to have great self esteem and body image; and, I looked more like Skipper on a good day.  The only thing Barbie did to my psyche was plant the seed of my dream of moving to California.

Barbie has many roles in our home.  Initially, she served as a chew toy for my teething 2 year old.  As the child grew, I couldn’t wait for the dialogs and role playing we would do with the Barbie stash we collected from my childhood home.  She, recently, received the gift of a Ken doll which thrilled me because the communicating and relating could now include boys; the species which she finds utterly disgusting.  However, my daughter wanted nothing to do with communicating and relating with her dolls.  The Barbies are, of course, all horse riders.  There is no dialog exchanged, no dating and picking outfits for the day at the beach.  There is only walk, trot and cantering.  The Barbie townhouse serves as the hotel in which they stay for the horse show.  There is no pink Barbie convertible, only the Breyer Trailer and Pickup which will take the Rider Barbies to the horse shows.  As for Ken, he is the designated Groom.  In his ascot and bellbottoms he mucks the stalls.  Always with a silly grin on his face.

With the addition of our newest baby, the pup, Barbie has come full circle.  She is once again a chew toy.  To the chagrin of the child, anything left on the floor is fair game.  CEO (of a Software Technology Company) Barbie is now missing her nose, arm, leg and some patches of hair.  Oh well, Babs, age gets the best of us all!

I took these shots as I am gearing up for a shoot I will be doing in a few weeks and needed to play with some settings on a new lens.  Chew toy Barbie was handy.

When I uploaded the photos, my mind immediately jumped back to when I was 8 years old.  Oh, the joy and endless hours of imaginative play I got out of these dolls.  It takes more than a plastic toy to destroy self esteem… don’t you think?!

Poise and Grace

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Quote of the Day:  “By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

She arrived at Thermal with no expectations other than to do her very best.  She had dreamed of this moment for over a year.  She practiced and she prepared.  Moments before she headed out for her first jumping round, she looked at me and smiled.  It was a smile that spoke a thousand words.

I watched nervously.  I was not nervous about the ride, because I knew she would put everything she had into it, and my trust of the pony never waivers.  Nervous isn’t even the correct word to describe my emotions. The emotions were full of pride, respect and a knowing that it was time to let go.  She did not need to hold my hand for this one.

When it was over, her face said it all.  I think she felt a little like Rocky after he ran the steps in Philadelphia.  The definition of poise is balance; stability; ease and dignity of manner; self-assurance; composure; the condition of being calm or serene.  Today was share day at school and she wanted to share about her experience at Thermal.  I asked her if she wanted to take her ribbons to show her classmates and she said, “no, Momma, I just want to tell my friends about how it felt to ride my pony in the desert”.  It wasn’t about the awards, it was about the experience.  The poise of this small child never ceases to amaze me.

The definition of poise, the transitive verb, is to be balanced or held in suspension; hover.  This is what we get to look forward to in the years to come.  The poise and grace which this lovely 16 year old exemplifies goes beyond measure.

Haley, thank you for being such a beautiful example of poise and grace!  Good luck this week at Thermal!!  I promise many photos next weekend.

Thermal

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Quote of the Day:  “There is no end.  There is no beginning.  There is only the passion of life.”  Federico Fellini

Five years ago, almost to the day, my family went on a holiday that would forever change our lives.   We received an invitation from a family at our daughter’s preschool to join them at their vacation home in the California desert.  Little did I know that this journey would transform my life AND provide the most life altering additions to my soul.

The reason the family was in town on this particular trip that February was because the mother, Tarni, was competing at the HITS Desert Horse Show, which takes place annually in Thermal.  Thermal is a small, unincorporated community near Palm Springs, CA.  Equestrians simply refer to the show as “Thermal”.  We spent the day at the show grounds where Tarni introduced my daughter, Ally, to her beautiful horses.  She introduced us to riders, the grooms and trainers.  It was at the cafe where we met a trainer named Wendy.  She was very kind to take some time to chat with us.  On that day, Ally’s little life was forever changed; because on that day she fell in love with horses and began her journey on the path to discovering her true life passion.

Fast forward; it is now five years later, and, once again winter break is upon us.  As we ready our bags to head to our own little vacation home near Thermal, my mind goes back to that poetic February day so many years ago.  My cameras and lenses are packed, ready to take hundreds of photos of the little girl who fell in love with horses 5 years earlier.  Ally will be showing her pony, Paint by Numbers, for the first time at Thermal.  And, yes, as you probably guessed, she will be jumping her pony under the watchful eye of her amazing trainer, Wendy.

Thank you, Tarni, for the gift you brought to our family and the gift of your friendship.  Godspeed, little one, on your journey on this next big adventure.