En Esta Casa | An Oakland Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Rico Rangel Family; Alma, Roberto, and cutie pie Carlos Amari:

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This session was so much fun for me because I got to do something I don't usually do during typical family sessions. Alma wanted to highlight Oakland and where they live before making the transition to move to Texas, so we got to explore the town together. Our session started at Roberts Regional Recreation Area, which is just phenomenal for a rustic, natural feel. These beautiful redwoods are so accessible, yet they feel like a million miles away! Gorgeous AND easy for a family with young kids to access?! YES PLEASE!

After the redwoods, we dotted over to the grizzly bear murals in the Laurel District, dubbed the "Laurel space bears" because of the galaxies painted within the silhouettes. (These murals are actually part of a national campaign to save endangered species and reintroduce them back to their former habitats. Super cool!) 

Once back home, the little guy, nicknamed Pollito (little chicken), snacked on some broccoli and had fun playing guitar with dad. He was in the best mood during the entire session. Well, maybe except during diaper change, but that was very quick. Even his little cry face is sweet, though!

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It’s the love of a family that makes a house a home.
— Unknown
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The Dynamic Duo | An Oakland Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet Oakland parents Temi and Matt and their beautiful twin sons, Isaac, in mommy's loving arms, and Abraham, gettin' all cleaned up by daddy (don't worry, more of their cutie faces soon):

Been catching up on some blogging and I have been getting so much joy from looking over this awesome family's photos again! Temi, a fellow Twins by the Bay mom, reached out to document her family right at the cusp of her sons' first birthday. Fully expecting to arrive at our consultation to meet two babies, I was (pleasantly) surprised to meet two exuberant, active FULL-ON young boys. I discovered, shortly after contacting Temi and Matt, that not only are they die-hard USC Trojans fans, but also that Matt is a basketball coach - so the fact that Ike and Abe were active and athletic little dudes was, in hindsight, absolutely no surprise!

Being a twin mom (and twin) myself, I feel like I have heard "it all" when it comes to beliefs/superstitions surrounding twin-dom. But, Temi, being of Nigerian ancestry, shared with me the coolest information regarding beliefs about twins in Nigerian culture. Check it out:

"Two of the most common destiny names among the Yorùbá are Taiwo (or Taiye) and Kehinde, which are given primarily to twins. It is believed that the first of the twins is Taiwo (or Taiye), whose intention in coming out first is to perceive whether or not the environment that they are about to enter is a good one for his or her superior to be in. When he or she is so satisfied, he or she grants the other twin, Kehinde (sometimes shortened to Kenny), the go ahead to come out."

Super cool, huh?

Mr. smiley and curious Abe:

Mr. Ike - making sticking your tongue look cool ;)

Brothers!!!

This family's energy kept me on my toes and was truly refreshing. The love they shed upon one another was abundant and I felt right at home with their welcoming nature.

What an honor to get a glimpse of this beautiful family's everyday life. Can't wait to for the next time!

Mini-Session Wrap-Up

What do you get when you mix a beautiful California fall backdrop, one super goofy photographer (a couple rad assistants I might add), a bunch of cutie patooties and their amazing families? Any guesses?! Some INSANELY FUN mini-sessions, that's what!

Here's a little sampling from my fun fall sessions at The Little Farm at Tilden Regional Park and UC Berkeley. Be sure to drop me a line >here< to stay up-to-date on future mini-session dates and other offers.

Enjoy!

As you can tell, I LOVE what I do!

Quality Time At Home | An Oakland Family Documentary Session

Back in June, I donated a photo session to Twins By The Bay's annual consignment sale raffle, and was thrilled to discovery this beautiful family had won...

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"I'm A Big Sister!" | An Oakland Newborn + Family Photography Session

Meet proud mommy and daddy, Diana and Greg, very excited big sis, Emma, and the newest addition to their joyful family, Payton:

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Serendipity + Smiles | An Oakland Family Photography Session

I met this lovely family the DAY of their session, due to some (quite unprofessional) circumstances with a photographer they had booked for a family session. Her loss = my incredible luck!

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Welcome To This Vibrant World - Part Two | An Oakland Newborn + Family Lifestyle Photography Session

Who can forget this amazing family?

If you need a refresher, check out part one of their family photo session collection riiiiiiight here.

What a pleasure it was to not only meet this local East Bay family but to get to hang out with them TWICE in a matter of just a few weeks, I mean, how lucky am I?! For this second newborn and family session I had the privilege of meeting Sean, Milo and Liam's loving grandfather. When I say loving I mean completely, utterly, undeniably smitten grandfather. Take a look:

I think Milo's sweet smile says it all! This is one deeply loved grandfather. And, of course, any child with that capacity for love, must have an amazingly loving family to demonstrate it right back:

And, what could be more important than self-love? Liam knows what I'm talking about:

Documenting this family is a sheer joy. I can't wait for the next time!

Featured on Life + Lens Blog | "Father's Day Inspiration."

The Warrior's took home the NBA Championship last night. I was woken up by a kiss from my amazing (and amazingly happy) husband. The girls were in great moods all morning and went down easily for nap. I flipped a perfect omelet and actually had my tea while still hot. How could this day get any sweeter, you might ask? How about getting FEATURED on Life + Lens Blog's "Father's Day Inspiration" post!

Two features in two weeks!? (okay, one day over two weeks but "two features in 15 days!" just didn't sound right). What an honor!

On Memorial Day, Joe, Ruby, Vera, and I walked up to the UC Berkeley campus, as it is a quick twenty minute walk down the street. On the way we stopped to grab sandwiches and when we got to the campus, laid out a blanket to have a low-key picnic on the grass. The girls had other plans! The moment they got out of their stroller, they were on the GO. Daddy, to the rescue, found a nook (California Hall) to read the girls a book in. But, that was short lived. I think the stairs were far too tempting. Then, as per usual, Ruby wasn't too happy about being put back in the stroller, so daddy caved and let her play some more. What a softie.

I'd have to say what made this day especially memorable was, as we were strolling through campus preparing to exit, we heard "The Star Spangled Banner" resounding from the bells of the Sather Tower. It was a lovely reminder of why we were able to spend the lovely day with one another.

Some more photos from Memorial Day:


For My Daughters: Twinheritance

Hi boo boos,

We had some friends over last night to watch the Warriors game. You two have really made progress in your reaction to daddy -- well, pretty much everyone in this case -- hootin' and hollerin' at the top of their lungs when something exciting happens in a game. In fact, you even joined in; flailing your arms up in the air and shouting "yeah! yeah!" when you noticed the commotion. Vera, you have always been especially sensitive to abrupt noises. I'll never forget, when you were just a few months old daddy had a little cough and you would WAIL each time he cleared his throat. It made for some long nights, but was certainly adorable. So NOW, your growing ability to pause and determine the type of reaction you have to those loud noises, it just makes me so proud of you.

 
Here you are, Vavvy, strutting your stuff at Hazel's school carnival last month

Here you are, Vavvy, strutting your stuff at Hazel's school carnival last month

 
Daddy asked you to pick out your own outfit on Saturday, Ru. You got SOOO excited and, when you did your fashion show for me, holding your plush doggie "Door" tight in your arms, you giggled with delight! Then daddy and I did too!

Daddy asked you to pick out your own outfit on Saturday, Ru. You got SOOO excited and, when you did your fashion show for me, holding your plush doggie "Door" tight in your arms, you giggled with delight! Then daddy and I did too!

Girls, I've had something on my mind lately that I want to share with you. Two days ago, on June 6th, you turned 21-months-old. I think for any other mom in the world they might say, "Today you girls are 21 month old! Only 3 more months until your 2nd birthday!" Something of that nature. But, for me, you girls turning 21-months old immediately made me think of one thing. My mom. Your Grandma Melody. 

I'm very sure, by the time you read this, you will have been told approximately 1,000,000,000 times that it is "sooooooo amazing" that you are twins that have a mommy that is a twin and uncles that are twins. Well, at the risk of sounding redundant, I will tell you that it truly is amazing, love bugs. In fact, back when mommy was just a few months old, your uncles, auntie, and I were photographed by the local newspaper in Fresno and your grandma and grandfather were interviewed for a little article about just how unusual it is to have two sets of twins! Kind of cool, huh?

This article says "19 months," but I think your grandma may have been too tired to do the math. Oh well!

This article says "19 months," but I think your grandma may have been too tired to do the math. Oh well!

Aside from the sheer amazing-ness of you girls being twins, I often times ponder (and probably even more often am asked by strangers to ponder), "How in the world was your grandma able to manage so many children at once and (on days when your Great grandpa couldn't help) on her own?!" As, shortly after this, your grandfather was no longer in the picture. Then, sadly, my next thought is "I'm not sure she did manage."

Eight days old. Eight. Days. That is how old your siblings would be today if mommy (and daddy) had a second set of twins at exactly the same interval as your grandma Melody did. I've been thinking a lot about how it would be to incorporate two newborns into our family. Even with the wonderful support system our family has, it would be a struggle. A struggle financially? Sure. A struggle physically? YOU BET! A mental struggle? Let's just say, I am sure I would probably be too stressed for my own good. Period.

You were so fascinated by your cousins' slinky, Vee. You knew you were being silly and just kept on doing it. I love that about you!

You were so fascinated by your cousins' slinky, Vee. You knew you were being silly and just kept on doing it. I love that about you!

Ru, you want to be a big girl so bad! I think these girls were jealous of your sweet shoes ;)

Ru, you want to be a big girl so bad! I think these girls were jealous of your sweet shoes ;)

I think I may be subconsciously skirting the main reason I want to share this with you. So, I want to be frank. When I said that I am not sure your grandma was able to manage all four of us at once, what I am saying is that she allowed that stress to get the better of her.

Your grandma Melody had Bipolar Disorder.

Simply put, when she was up, she was up -- extremely energetic, creative, impulsive. It was during these "up" episodes that she would go on her vision quests, of sorts; once vanishing for a couple weeks, returning home to tell us she had been seeking out her biological family, spouting off tales of her adventures; never alluding to her real goal of trying to find understanding and acceptance of her own childhood struggles.

And, when she was down, she was down -- erratically violent and abusive, recklessly self-medicating, and deeply depressed. It was during this time that I would find myself pacing outside her room, told "LEAVE ME ALONE!" in my 8-year-old effort to comfort her as she loudly wept behind her locked bedroom door. My heart still breaks for her in recalling those low moments.

Because she is no longer living, the only way to recollect those very dynamic moods is through the hindsight of memory. Unfortunately, however, in an effort to protect both you girls as well as myself from the pain of my past, it's difficult for me to ruminate on your grandma's mental condition. So, for these thoughts to cross my mind, upon you girls reaching 21-month-old, I wanted to be open and honest about them with you.

I guess the big thing I want you to know is that you don't ever have to be ashamed of your feelings. Right now in your life you are both unabashedly honest about how you are feeling and what is on your mind. It is an admirable quality to be freely expressive of your emotions. Even if it is not the most positive of emotions sometimes.

One of your very favorite books is "Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You" by Nancy Tillman. Whenever we get to the page that reads, "So hold your head high and don't be afraid to march to the front of your own parade..." I repeat it emphatically, as the thought that you would choose to be anything other than YOU in an effort please others would be depriving the world of the unique marvel of Ruby Joan and the unparallelled wonder of Vera Kathleen. So, I'll reiterate it again:

 

 

Hold your head high

and don't be afraid

to march to the front

of your own parade.

If you're still my small babe

or you're all the way grown,

my promise to you

is you're never alone.

Promise promise.

Being chased by daddy on the UC Berkeley campus. You are so beautiful Ruby!

Being chased by daddy on the UC Berkeley campus. You are so beautiful Ruby!

I love this expression, Vee. You were NOT happy when we first arrived at Hazel's carnival (you CANNOT deal with no nap), so we left and decided to try going again after you girls had eaten and calmed down a bit. I'm so glad we did. You were roaming all over that elementary school lawn like you owned the place. Love that sass!

I love this expression, Vee. You were NOT happy when we first arrived at Hazel's carnival (you CANNOT deal with no nap), so we left and decided to try going again after you girls had eaten and calmed down a bit. I'm so glad we did. You were roaming all over that elementary school lawn like you owned the place. Love that sass!

At Illum's 2nd birthday party, you girls wore your new swimsuits that your cousin gave to you. Ru, you were most excited to swim...

At Illum's 2nd birthday party, you girls wore your new swimsuits that your cousin gave to you. Ru, you were most excited to swim...

and Vee, I think you were most excited to show off your new suit :)

and Vee, I think you were most excited to show off your new suit :)

I love you so much boo boos,

Mom

 

 

 

Welcome To This Vibrant World - Part One | An Oakland Newborn + Family Lifestyle Photography Session

Meet (from left to right) Padraic, Milo, Joanna, Liam, Ruth, and Jeff:

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this family is JOY! The second would be BOUNDLESS ENERGY. Well, from one member of the family in particular ;)

Joanna reached out to me in hopes that I could do an in-home family lifestyle session while her parents were in town meeting their (here 12-days-old) new grandson. I was more than happy to oblige, and, am so pleased that I had the opportunity to meet this fellow East Bay family!

The abundance of love that each member of this family exhibited toward one another was inspirational. They were unaffected by the presence of my camera and, because of that, the spirit of their individual personalities really shined in each image.

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of returning to this family’s home for yet another lifestyle session; with Padraic’s father visiting this time. Stay tuned for Part Two.

I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful family to document!

18/52: Silhouette


Yesterday I had the pleasure of doing a family photo session with a lovely family here in the East Bay. You’ll be seeing much more of them in the weeks ahead. When I arrived at their home, this man opened the door, greeted me with a welcome smile, and alerted to his wife -- nursing their precious 12-day-old son, photographed here as well -- “honey, the photographer’s here!”


What a beautiful life.

For My Daughters: Temps

Hi lovebugs,

Yesterday was "Take Your Kids To Work" Day. So,  I decided that it would be fun to dress you up in band t-shirts and head over to daddy's work for the activities they had planned. What a fun day it was!

First order of business: mess with the blinds.

First order of business: mess with the blinds.

The sun was shining so brightly on your face here, Ruby. But, I wanted you both to see how elated your dad was to have you two (and mommy) come spend time with him at his office.

The sun was shining so brightly on your face here, Ruby. But, I wanted you both to see how elated your dad was to have you two (and mommy) come spend time with him at his office.

Ru, you were fascinated by the enormous window overlooking the streets. We counted the cars and whenever I would get to 3, you'd say "niiii... ten!" A for effort, my love.

Ru, you were fascinated by the enormous window overlooking the streets. We counted the cars and whenever I would get to 3, you'd say "niiii... ten!" A for effort, my love.

There was a band there just for kids your age! They were called the "Alphabet Rockers" and performed songs all about things you girls love: animals, the ABC's, food... very heady stuff.

Your first concert! You go INTO IT, Ru!

Your first concert! You go INTO IT, Ru!

Daddy's company brought in a frozen yogurt cart, as well. Needless to say, you two were ALL OVER that. Good thing there were plenty of distractions, otherwise I'm afraid, when I took away your yogurt, we would've seen the biggest tandem tantrum (you see what I did there?) in Schmidt history!

Vera, your eyes were on your prey!

Vera, your eyes were on your prey!

Cool kids with your Beatles and Bob Marley shirts.

Cool kids with your Beatles and Bob Marley shirts.

Vee, you took a while to warm up to the whole new environment. You set in the comfort of daddy's lap for quite a while, but, as soon as you were acquainted with your surroundings, there was no stopping you (literally, you were running circles around your daddy and me!).

Vee, you took a while to warm up to the whole new environment. You set in the comfort of daddy's lap for quite a while, but, as soon as you were acquainted with your surroundings, there was no stopping you (literally, you were running circles around your daddy and me!).

Daddy and his girlies.

Daddy and his girlies.

At one point, dad went downstairs to grab your diaper bag and I was chasing after both of you like a crazy person! One moment I stopped you, Ru, from pulling down a (very expensive yet unmanned) laptop from a table, then turned around to see you, Vee, about to take a sip of an abandoned, opened soda container. By the time your dad got back, I had worked up a sweat and, almost certainly, everyone in the place knew your names (middle included) from me bellowing them loud enough for you to know I meant business.

Chaotic as it is at time, there's no way your daddy or I would change a single thing about your exuberant, budding personalities.

I love you two crazies!

Mom

15/52: Balance


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Dear Lovebugs,

The moment your daddy and I discovered that we were going to have you both (at once!), we were thrilled and, believe it or not, relieved. As you know, your Auntie Michele and I are twins, and your Uncle Marshall and Uncle Marco are, too. So, we weren’t as surprised as others in the same circumstance may have been. But, that didn’t mean our jaws didn’t drop when the midwife, quite taken aback herself, asked me to “count the heartbeats” on the ultrasound monitor. It gives me goosebumps, even now, just thinking about that moment.

The several weeks leading up to that first ultrasound, I had experienced horrendous morning sickness; feeling extremely queasy all day; displeasing scents within what seemed like a mile of me setting me into fits of dry-heaving, resorting to shamelessly lying down on any stable surface as an attempt to calm the perpetual spinning in my head. You can ask your dad to tell you the stories about just how bad it got. At points in those first weeks of your gestation, I certainly asked myself, “How the hell do women do this more than once?!” No fun, to say the least. Yet, at that moment, when we discovered that all of that morning sickness was due to the fact that there were two of you -- and, more specifically two robust, life-giving placentas -- within me, I learned to embrace the discomfort, knowing that with every twinge of nausea was a sign of your further, healthy growth. In the cheesy, infamous words of John Mellencamp, it hurt so good. Bad, I know.

On the day you were born, once FINALLY in our arms, a new type of feeling overwhelmed me; fear. Not fear of being a good mother to you two. Not fear of being able to feed you two. More so, I feared that I would be able to strike the right balance when it came to dividing myself between the two of you. What if you both needed me -- to nurse, to wipe your tears, to stroke your head, to kiss your boo boos, to read your favorite story, to dance cheek to cheek, to go down the slide with -- at the same time, and, I simply couldn’t attend to those needs without hurting one of you by tending to your sister first?

I will say, in the last 19.5 months, some days it has been very difficult. But, really not as many as I had feared. You see, one thing I had taken for granted is the times that you two would, indeed, not need me whatsoever! For instance, a couple days ago, Vera, you were playing with one of your toy boxes and ended up dumping it out and climbing inside of it. I grabbed you one too, Ru, as you were giggling uncontrollably at your sis sitting in there. Needless to say, you two were blissfully unaware of mommy’s presence.

I love you silly girls,

Mom

2/52: Family


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This is Scarlett.

Not the raggedy-haired, wide-eyed, boogie-nosed little girl. Not the teddy bear. She’s the one with the antenna-like appendages, clutched tightly in the ever-loving grasp of Vera’s left hand. Scarlett is unequivocally a member of this family.

We introduced “loveys” when Ruby and Vera were about 7-months-old and transitioning to their cribs. Generally speaking, a lovey is an inanimate object, usually doll or blankie, used to comfort the child and offer a sense permanence; especially handy when introducing big changes, like them sleeping in an entirely new location! Around the time the girls were born, we had received a gift from their Aunt and Uncle that live in New York. This gift included a set of pajamas -- which they *just* were fitting into at 7 months of age -- with an accompanying doll, assumingly meant to be used as a lovey. So, we gave it a shot. And. It. Worked. At least for Vee. She ritualistically rubs Scarlett’s “feet” all over her face and, just *like that* her eyelids start to droop. Truly it’s miraculous.

Long story short, Vera can’t even contemplate sleeping, be it nap or bedtime, without Scarlett firmly in hand. And, of course we had to pick a lovey that is super tough to duplicate. Though the girls’ Grandmom (“Mum-mum”) did find a nearly identical one, as Scar is getting haggard real quick. Yay for grandparents! Though now Vee thinks it’s amazing that there are TWO Scarletts to snuggle her to sleep. Oops.

1/52: Where You Live


This one is particularly literal. But, I have good reason.

We just returned home to Berkeley after going back East to see my husband’s family for just about two weeks. Unfortunately I brought back a bit of a sinus cold/ headache. So, for the last couple days we’ve stayed cozy in our jammies, said “the hell with it” to taking down holiday decor (scant as they were), flipped through our books, jammed to our music, and basked in this lovely California sun via the light of our living room window.


It’s good to be home!

My Icarus Complex


Photo Credit: Meghan Schmidt

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Daedalus, before embracing his precious son, Icarus, for the final time, cautioned him:

“Take care to wing your course along the middle air;

If low, the surges wet your flagging plumes,

If high, the sun the melting wax consumes:

Steer between both:

Nor to the northern skies,

Nor south Orion turn your giddy eye,

But follow me.

Let me before you lay rules for the flight,

and mark the pathless way.”

In one ear and out the other.

My “Icarus Complex.” That’s what I call it.

I’m sure you know the type...

The type that daydream in the back of the class and, only when called upon without warning, you come to realize were lost in their own thoughts for the last hour...

The type that seemingly have no verbal filter, chatting insistently while interrupting you mid-sentence in a thoughtless but well-intended attempt to wedge in their two-cents without the slightest regard for courtesy...

The type that find such true insight and resonance in a piece of music that, while bussing to school/work/home, they can’t help but ignore the stares as they tear up and get lost in the melody…

The type that grin widely and wave hardily at a beckoning stranger, moments before cowering in embarrassment as they catch a peripheral glimpse of the oscillating hand (and eyes) of the intended recipient behind them…

The type that actually stop to smell the roses; then grab their camera, put on the perfect lens, adjust their settings, take seven photos of the roses from differing angles, stop to smell them again, look around for where their friends wandered off to, then go on their way...

The type that find it impossible to not express (all over their face) what they are feeling the instant they are feeling it...

The type that, though try as they might -- be it bleaching their arm hair to the point of numbness, extreme dieting to be able to beat the scale and squeeze into smaller jeans, even traveling the world in an attempt at self-realization -- simply will never fit into the mold society deems appropriate for them.

Now, I’m sure you’re savvy enough to know that this is me we’re talking about here. These types are my people. I love, nurture and wholeheartedly accept these aspects of myself now. But, there was a time I neither loved nor accepted my strange brew of idiosyncrasies.

Although I feel I’ve been an anomaly since birth, being in one of two sets of twins, I do have several very specific life experiences -- some of which I will doubtlessly share at another time on this blog-- that help to shed light on my disposition. From childhood abuse and severe trauma to bouncing from one temporary home to the next as a very young child (until my aunt and uncle intervened when I was nine), the chances of me becoming a square peg were pretty much guaranteed. But, you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me explain my “Icarus Complex.”

I tried so so hard to conform. To fit in. But, I wasn’t being my authentic self. Like Icarus, in trying to be somebody I wasn’t, I foolishly flew higher than my fabricated wings could handle because I thought it felt right, and, as a result, felt myself plummeting into a sea of negative emotions. For a long time I felt constant, overwhelming anxiety, bouts of paralyzing depression, unfounded heated jealousy and, probably worst of all, an aggressive, unrelenting sense of self-doubt.

I felt doubt in my ability to truly listen to and reciprocate happiness or even sympathy for dear friends. I felt doubt in my ability to excel academically when rightfully challenged by a plethora of highly intelligent peers. I felt doubt in my ability to grant the type of emotional support and understanding that my husband so instinctively and consistently provides me. I felt doubt in my ability to connect to my daughters in such a way that they fully understand the aching love that swells in my heart for them, the unconditional appreciation I have for their uniqueness, and yet still the deep-seated, petrifying knowledge that I mustn’t shield them to the sometimes harsh realities of this world (at this point in their lives their “harsh realities” include not being allowed to eat books or dip their hands in the toilet water, but you get the idea). And, I think perhaps more than anything, I felt doubt in my ability to escape the self-fulfilling prophecy of somehow following in the footsteps of my mother.

So, I had a decision to make:

A. Sink under the weight of the negativity and ever-mounting stress.

B. Continue to doggie paddle through, dodging the tempests as they come.

C. Stop the wading, grab onto the outstretched hands reaching in from the shore, dry myself off,  fashion some kick-ass wings, and soar.

Through the encouragement of my insanely supportive and creative husband, as well as other dear friends, I chose C. This Icarus survived, is wiser from the long journey, is forgiving to herself (mine’s a chick). This flight may still be foolish and undoubtedly filled with risk, but I believe that taking flight despite the risks is related to the profoundly interconnected nature of the human spirit and overall meaning for purpose in this life.

So as I stand here at the precipice of this tower, prepared to embark on this new flight, determined to stay the course, staving off the storms as they come. But as I hunker down in preparation to push off, I will reflect upon these befitting words of Oscar Wilde’s...

“Never regret thy fall,

O Icarus of the fearless flight

For the greatest tragedy of them all

Is never to feel the burning light.”

and take the leap.