Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Bell Family


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.

And it's amazing, isn't it, what time does? It shrinks age gaps. The gap between five and sixteen seems so much greater than the one between twenty-nine and forty. The little girl for whom I made blanket forts and french toast has grown into a woman I respect: a Jesus-loving, God-fearing wife and mother.

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.


  1. Thank you so much for this day. It was the best day. :)

  2. Brandee....Thanks for sharing your gifts....and what a precious friendship to have maintained over the years :-)