Caleb| Rockford High School Class of 2015 | Terri Gillis Photography

Seriously… texting during our session…. “They’re waiting for me to respond!!”

This one belongs to me.  He’s our second child, #2 out of 4, one of three brothers.  He was born 5 days early and I’ve joked ever since that he has two speeds, fast & faster.  He walked at 10 months, climbed out of his crib at 18 months; moved into the bottom bunk shortly after that. Ever since he could verbalize what a grown up was he has wanted to be one.  He is a born protector, wildly curious, he’s adventurous, he’s hilarious, he’s strong, courageous and brave.  He’s wanted to be a police officer since he was three.  He has a strong sense of justice and is intolerant of things that fall into the “wrong” cateogory.  He’s as loyal as they come.  He loves baby animals (bunnies, chicks, kittens, puppies… you name it).  He doesn’t care what people think of him. He works really hard… at everything.It’s not always easy but he always comes through.  And we are on the threshold of launching another kid into “life”.

I just have to note that my kids have just about ZERO respect for me as a photographer, although they have been pretty proud of the photos they’re able to provide their dates when it comes to formal dances.  My kids want to strike their own poses, add their own props and beleive it’s completely reasonable to call/text back friends “they’re waiting for me to respond” right in the middle of the session.  I should really hire someone to do their photos but my fear is this lack of respect might be accross the board to all photographers (being raised by one they’re slightly tainted as well as critical) and I would D.I.E. if I had to pay AND apoligize for all of that.  I told him…. I WILL KEEP THESE AND SHOW PEOPLE.   So after all of that he is flat out not allowed an opinion that I’m now posting these on the internet… my excuse will be the same as his was during the session… “I’m just keepin it real, YO.”  “YOLO”.    I know what your next question is… “Will you try and photograph their weddings?”    Absolutely. Not.

Now the part where I’m really keeping it real… feel free to stop here so you don’t have endure the blubbering….

We’ve been through the senior year and our oldest is starting his 3rd year of college.  This road is not easy to navigate.  It’s difficult to see my kids grow up as I desperately miss the little people that once filled my arms.  I miss being told I’m the “best Mom ever”, I miss the hand drawn pictures, art projects from elementary school. and hand made Mother’s Day cards.   Forget the “What to Expect the toddler years” Someone needs to come out with “What to expect the teenage/college years”….. so we can all know what’s normal and be able to step away from the suit of anxiety disguised as perfection that we step into each morning.  I’m pretty open to some of the struggles I have and when I share I often hear from others that they are “going through the same thing”…”Well we had to deal with …….” and the “He/she is giving us a hard time about _____(you fill in the blank)_____”.    Then there’s the comparison game. We have kids trying to keep up with each other and sometimes parents trying to keep up with the other parents (JUST.STOP.).  Please  skip me on the deal when that hand comes around.  I already feel enough pressure and sometimes “judged” by other parents because my kids have to go to the dreaded….. Community college.  All I know is that if your kid hasn’t nailed down a career choice there is nothing wrong with this, in fact it’s been an incredibly wise decision.  My husband started out at community college and he’s brilliant, educated and employed.  That’s all I have to say about that.

At this moment I don’t feel like I’m done parenting them…. I still do their laundry, prepare their meals, pack lunches, schedule appointments for the Dr. and Dentist. I text to know where they are and wonder when they’ll be home. I advise and lecture whether they want it or not and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stop that. I’m still holding on but at the same time trying to let go.  It’s the realization that even though I’m still caring for them  I’ve always been preparing them to care for themselves. So I ask questions and settle for short answers, I offer advice and keep silent when I could say “I told ya so.”, I remind… again and again….and when they forget I have to realize the consequence does not belong to me. Choices have to be made; lessons have to be learned.  It’s when you still want to do anything/everything  you can for them but the realization that they have minds of their own and the decisions they make do not determine your personal success or failure (this is the hardest part for me). Senior year is the beginning of the end.  We’re heading toward that crossroad where their life with me separates to the beginning of life on their own.   I really feel like it was just yesterday I held your fingers as you toddled through our living room, and wasn’t it just the other night when you woke me up four times because you were sick and “needed me”…. and how many hours did I rock you in that chair sitting right there  reading to you, cuddling you, holding you?  Growing up is a wonderful and liberating thing when it’s happening to you, but sad for the Momma in your rearview mirror who has loved you every day of your life.

To Make you Feel My Love….

When the rain is blowing in your face,
And the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear,
And there is no one there to dry your tears,
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet,
But I will never do you wrong.
I’ve known it from the moment that we met,
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I’d go hungry; I’d go blind for you,
And I’d go crawling down the avenue.
No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love.

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