Apr 26, 2010

Looking back..

I’m not big on regrets, not big on looking back and wondering “What if?” While I find great reward in learning from the past, I try very hard not to dwell on it. But every once in awhile I take a bit of a side trip, asking myself if I had chosen a different road, a slight detour, how would things really be?

I love my job, but many of you know that I for many years wanted to be an Apache Longbow pilot. I know odd. How exactly does one go from loving my job as an maternity and infant photographer to wanting to fly one of the deadliest helicopters in the United States military?

Aside from being downright deadly Apache’s are one of the biggest deterrents our military has. The enemy sees an Apache overhead they decide that particular convoy isn’t worth their lives. They provide the kind of deadly cover that no other helicopter can offer. Fast, graceful, and downright lethal they can come to rescue or remove danger in a an instant. Many a solider will tell you that in the heat of battle an Apache on the approach turned the tide. You simply can’t hide from a hell fire missile.

The first time I saw an Apache was right after I married my husband and moved to Fort Bragg, NC. In 2002 the base was still reeling from September 11th and helicopters were always in the air. The Apaches would buzz the roads, low and shockingly quiet for as large as they are. Their pilots and crew always watchful for anything out of the usual. It created a sense of safety in a world still a bit tilted from the terrorist attacks.

As our on post house was between their flight path and the airfield they flew over our house at all hours. As a girl from a tiny Kansas town where the planes we saw mostly were crop dusters, an Apache was down right amazing. I have since seen every kind of military aircraft and know most of them on sight. None are as graceful as the Apache.

Although I did a great deal of research into joining the Army as a pilot, in fact was downright begged by an ROTC official (there are very few (albeit very talented) female pilots) it came down to a very simple fact. I have a family and little ones. Three in fact that I adore, all though they drive me bonkers, and my hubby is in the Army. Having two parents in the military is really tough on kids and families. My children are not holding me back, I hate people who blame their life choices on their kids, but they were a huge part of my decision.

So I set those thoughts aside and persuaded my photography, a job that I really do enjoy. Sometimes though the thought would pop in my head. “This is great but as a pilot I could really be making a difference.”

Last week a good friend of ours got me into an Apache hanger. I seriously could have died. Although I did a very good job of not hyperventilating I felt very much like a kid a Disney world who just saw Mickey Mouse. Sliding into the pilots seat of a trainer I had this overwhelming feeling of “right”. Now just “how cool is this” but also “Yeah, I could do this.”

There is no feeling like walking out on a flight line and hearing the sound of helicopters taking off and landing. No greater rush that the feeling on the air hitting you from the take off of one of those amazing pieces of machinery.

It was an amazing experience, one that I’ll never be able to thank our friends enough for, and one I will never forget.

I wish I could say that I came back to my studio that day and thought very much of chucking it all to the wind and going to flight school. I didn’t really. Honestly I don’t know if I would have if I wasn’t so crazy busy getting ready for move the studio and our family to Fort Campbell. But I am, so I didn’t. Until last night.

Last night while everyone was sleeping I thought very hard about how amazing it would be to fly, to be that helicopter pilot close the action and making the difference. The snuggling of my youngest son, who was in bed with us caused me to set those feelings aside at least until this morning.

I walked into my studio now packed with boxes and set down at my desk where an image of me standing by huge Apache is my desktop picture and sighed ready for a full blown looking back with regret pity party. “Am I really making a difference, does this all really matter”. Then as I often do when I’m frustrated or need inspiration I looked up at my image board that hangs above my props. The board is full of my clients, albeit a few months behind as I’m so busy in here.

I saw smiling faces of expectant mothers, sweet faces of precious newborns only welcomed by their parents a few days before they met my camera. I know that these images will be treasured forever by these families and more than I few have been carried into war. I hope that looking at those images of home, of loving spouses, and children waiting to be hugged hope lift the spirits of those far from their loved ones.

Perhaps I thought with a small sigh and a smile that even though I’m not on the frontlines making a difference, the images that I shoot are. They mean so much to the families that I photograph, and that is such an overwhelming honor to me. So yeah, no ones life is in my hands, but what I do is important never the less and I’m grateful for it. Honestly and truly I do love my job.

The road we choose leads us to the future we are meant to have, and I wouldn’t trade mine for anything. I DO love what I do, and I know deep down its what I was meant to do. I’m grateful for my children and the life I lead, and I wouldn’t switch with anyone.

So while I’ll always probably wonder “What if” when I see an Apache I’ll remember to be grateful for the life I have and the difference I do make in the world. Although if they ever make it possible for a civilian to catch a ride in one of those helicopters I’m first in line. After all its great to be sensible, but perfectly okay to be crazy for a day.

Apr 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog..

Tomorrow, April 16th is my 26th birthday, and the first birthday for my youngest son.

Last year early in the morning before dawn broke through the clouds Brennan was born, a tiny 5pounds 2 ozs and wonderfully healthy. I knew from that moment on that a day that was once going to be celebrated only by me was now something that was going to be shared. Perhaps a few times this year a pang of that loss of specialness surfaced, but a quick glace at that little blue eyed baby quickly smothered it.

How many mothers get to share something that special with their child? Especially their youngest and last baby? A gift to me on my birthday. And as that date fast approaches I only feel blessed to have him, to know that he and I will always have that bond. I love each of my children. My Kate is my only daughter, my Triston my oldest, and my Brennan my baby. Each of my little ones is so special.

So while I now share this very special day and he with me I will never be ungrateful for that moment and day he came into my life. While most mothers get their birthday gifts delivered via UPS mine came courtesy of a big white stork.

Happy birthday my Brennan. I love you so.


Apr 7, 2010

Cool New Photo Use..

Okay so you all know I LOVE finding new and fun ways to use photography. Skin it is an awesome company that lets you well skin anything you own. Seriously. From your laptop to your cell phone they make it all. AND you can use the images you get from us to. As a matter of fact. Click through our blogs and you get a cool shipping coupon. Hmmmm now I wonder if Rocky would be okay with me skinning our mini van....

LOL Best Wishes!


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