I've known this beautiful woman since she was one year old, and I babysat her for a summer when she was five or so. (The mac and cheese flowed, for real.) Our mothers were close friends, and our families attended the same church; still, when I think back, I'm a little surprised that--given the eleven-year age difference--Stacey and I were so close. She's just always been so fun.
Stacey's an only child, and I loved to hang out at her house...during my teen years, especially. Again, a little odd, but the eatin' was always so good over there, and Stacey's mama has a big (magnetic!) personality and some serious, musical abilities. I loved singing with her and to the music of her guitar. She loved me and still does, and Stacey's daddy loved me, too. He always called me Brandee May; I have no idea why but plan to ask him, someday, on that other shore. Miss him.
Stacey's house was a safe, happy place to land: a home away from home.
Stacey's and Daniel's son Caleb is adorable, as you can see, and he has his mama's easygoing spirit. Carley has a completely different energy, and I'll be honest: tired as I was, I could've photographed her all day. I was captivated by the complexity of her expressions.
Later, editing through the photos of Carley, I wondered if she'd been feeding off my (tired) energy. That's when her mama said something I hope to remember...something like: "Carley's not me. She's not the happy-go-lucky child I was. She's my gorgeous, guarded little wildflower."
Isn't that beautiful? Would that every mama saw and celebrated her children for the individuals they are right now: including the parts to which she can't relate, personally, as well as the parts the children might outgrow.
My all-grown-up friend Stacey is wiser (and much lovelier) than she knows.
And her family is gorgeous.