Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Indistinguishable Summers

These past two weeks at the beach will melt in to other weeks in the very same place. Other vacations on that stretch of sandbar. They won't loudly pronounce themselves and stand separate from years of memories. They were sweet and quiet and likely forgettable.

It's hard to tease apart the years. To remember the precise differences between Arlo being two and Arlo being three. To remember what the years of just having three children, or just having two.  So little stands out in our days marked by a routine unknown at home. Slow mornings with trips to the coffee shop. A standing twelve o'clock date with our friends on Airport Beach. Snacks pulled from backseats and coolers when the whistle blows.

And when we get home, we make ourselves a drink as kids take turns in the outside showers. The cabinets are scavenged for nuts or crackers. And we make a half-hearted attempt to clean out the beach cars. Big kids make circles around the village on bikes. We make dinner plans with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  We take walks to explore old graveyards, to get scoops of ice cream. We all pile into the living room to watch cable tv, read books, fight slow internet and braid hair.

Next year will feel the same as last year, though Alamae will hopefully be slightly less demanding in trips to come. Soon enough, Sena and Gus will peel off. Staying behind, limiting how often they will be seen in public with their parents. And Arlo will miss them nearly as much as I will.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Self-Doubt and the Creative Process

If you aren't already aware, I started a photography business in May. If you aren't aware, you probably haven't spent much time with me lately, digitally or IRL. If you had, you would know because I talk about it too much, and I think about it even more.  It has been nearly all consuming. I try not to let it be, but it's exciting and challenging. It requires all sorts of skills I have not had a chance to sharpen until now.

But it also involves so much self doubt.

Because it's hard to tell people to pay me for something they could do themselves. To convince them that I do it better.

Because selling my art/ product / service feels like selling myself.

And it's impossible to avoid feeling like an imposter. To avoid feeling like a cliche.

At my worse I feel like everything I do is either boring or wrong.

But I'm pretty damn sure that's how everyone feels.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Vacation, One Week In

The ocean is, arguably, my very favorite place. Every time I visit her shores, I wax euphoric. This visit, I will do my best to spare you, but rest assured, my love for her remains. 

And while the first week was marked by  all consuming, albeit minor, adversities, Tom arrived late last night, and so now at least I have help dealing with the most challenging aspect of the past seven days: a very beautiful, but completely demanding 17 month old baby. 

My sunburnt lips are still trashed, and a wisdom tooth I should have pulled a decade ago is still bothering me. But the salt water, the drip castles. The cups of almost instantly melted ice cream. The morning walks down dirt roads canopied by live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Those things are happening too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Poorly Laid Plans in Beautiful Places

It was a long, slow drive down the 95 corridor on Saturday, punctuated with the traffic of beach goers getting in one last week away before the school year starts. I was driving solo with three kids, and we were already to stretch our legs in ways beyond a trip to the bathroom and wandering fluorescent lit isles in search of snacks and cold drinks.

When we finally hit the Outer Banks, I decided to take them up Jockey's Ridge, the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast. I was hoping it was late enough in the day and that the sinking sun would make it a bearable adventure.

Up we went, Alamae in my arms as Gus and Arlo raced ahead. The familiarity of a place I had gone so often as a child but hadn't been to in at least a dozen years held on to me tight. Spring puddles filled with tadpoles. Summer sunsets with kites flying high before going off to get ice creams. Fall birthdays spent playing hide and seek.

But it was hot and the sand stuck to our sweat and there was no adult to help me as I wrangled children, camera, and a bag that should have held a water bottle. Arlo face planted and Alamae got sand in her eyes, and by the time we got back to the van I questioned why I had ever conceived of such an idea.