This is Elena, she just turned 7. When I gaze into her eyes I ask myself as an aunt how can time actually be going so fast? When you are living and working in the moment it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of life, and at times you wonder how the day can possibly still be dragging along. However, other days you have a birthday party for your 7 year old niece and you wonder how did we get here? That was me this past weekend.
As a Maine portrait photographer who is literally obsessed with taking pictures of everything, I naturally brought my camera to take pictures of this well planned and stunningly colorful party (designed by the oh so beautiful and talented April). Little did I realize it would be so emotional for me, and I would be reflecting on this moment with flashbacks of when she was learning to walk, stealing my makeup (she still does by the way), and “no” was her favorite word. This was a surreal moment in more ways than one for me as her auntie.
This birthday party planned by her mother April, was special for me because I was able to be part of the decorating and planning process, and I was able to see her reaction when walking into this stunningly beautiful paint party. Most importantly I have developed this deeper bond with Elena since moving to Maine and starting my life here which naturally made this party more emotional. Not to mention seeing my best friend (Elena’s mother) filled with love and joy as she watched her now 7 year old waltz into this party with a huge smile on her face and excitement in her eyes. It was at this moment I was so happy to see my best friend gaze at her beautiful daughter her face flooded with many emotions. This was surreal for many of us there to share this moment with Elena, but these moments can never be more emotional than for mommas, because this is the moment they became a mother.
Once Elena’s friends arrived the place was filled with many family and friends and kids Elena’s age that she has grown close to. It was so nice to see the amount of people that showed up to celebrate this beautiful day for Elena. I sat back and watched as Elena greated and hugged all her friends and raved about how great her party was. Seeing Elena painting and laughing with her friends was everything her mom envisioned for her on this special day. Everything was perfect!
Over the course of this day I was reflecting on all the life changes April and I have gone through as best friends, and I was looking at these two beautiful children that I call my niece and nephew and it got me thinking of some things I would say to Elena.
My Dearest Elena,
I will never forget the moment your mother found out she was pregnant with you, what a beautiful surprise that was. Having a girl was going to change everything for her and how delightful it has all been. You my dear have always been the spunky active little thing you are today, and no one would change that for the world.
You are a beautiful, talented, funny, and intelligent young girl. From the moment you were born with those big beautiful eyes you came out seeing the world for all it has to offer. You look about the world with wonderment and curiosity. As your auntie I will always encourage you to see the beauty in everything and foster your love for life.
You have made me so happy to see your smile and hear your laughter everyday. I have no doubt you will change the world with your wonderful ways. Please remember I love you with all my heart, and I will always be here for you, I will be your shoulder to cry on when life gets a little rough, your secret hideout when you are mad at your mom and dad (or visa versa), and I will always be a call you can make anytime of the day or night. Our bond is something that can never be broken and I will always be your light when you might need a little push.
I love you with all my heart little girl and you make me so happy. Remember to always chase your dreams and let no one get in your way for you will move mountains.
Being someone’s aunt and partaking in their life in a different way than their parents develops into a forever bond that cannot be broken and is built on love. Elena, Lucas, and I will always have a different type of love but one built on trust, support and laughter and there isn’t anything better than that. I can’t wait to share all their birthdays and adventures of life and be the person they can confide in and share their emotions, struggles, and adventures with. Being an auntie is the greatest experience thus far and I can’t wait for the many years to come.
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Owl My Love,