Conversations of Cashiers

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Your baby is crying inconsolably. She is cranky and clingy, clingy and cranky.

The usual things that work are not working and you are not home.

Once she is home again, she starts to settle. Maybe the familiar walls and clutter soothe her. Maybe the way the familiar sunbeams befriend her transform her from an inconsolable infant into a consolable one.

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Home, the one syllable word, has more weight than you think. As your feet brush against crumbs on the kitchen floor, you do not think of sweeping, but are simply grateful to be home again.

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Later, when you are at the grocery store buying frozen waffles (the waffles to help you reach school by the dreaded time of 8:00 am), the cashier strikes up a conversation, the way they often do.

“Enjoy these days,” she says. You nod an “Of course,” in agreement before confiding, “I really am trying to, but there are moments when the baby is crying and I haven’t got enough sleep… ”

The other cashier joins in, “I do not miss these days,” she says shaking her head vehemently, confidently. “I do not want to have another one,” she says before casting a quick look at your baby, complimenting her, turning her back, and resuming checking out groceries.

When you’re pregnant, the cashier will look at your belly and confide, “My labor was the worst pain I ever felt in my life…” before she resumes to dutifully scan apples.

When your toddler sobs when the cashier scans items because she thinks the cashier is taking everything away from her cart, the cashier will look at your toddler and say, “Spoiled, isn’t she?” before going on to scan the toothpaste with a resolute beep.

I admire the conversations of cashiers. The way they comfortably slip into a place where they can offer unabashed advice, controversial or not. Direct. Quick. Honest.

So as you walk away to your car, you ponder over what was just shared, wondering if you agree or not. You hope that honesty can coat your tongue the way it coats theirs.

***

Photos below from this month:

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Metamorphosis

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“When they are a few months old, they lie and look around and wave and smile and undergo a constant gentle agitation, as though they were sea anemones, gently waving in some other element, delicately responding to currents we cannot feel.” – Margaret Drabble.

Baby H is not a newborn anymore.

She has already morphed into a one-and-a-half-month old. In baby days, that seems farrrr away from that of a Newborn. The itty bitty size NB onesies already seem small and when I look at old photos like this one from below, I am struck by how fragile she once was.

Baby H a month ago!

 

Baby H now!

 

I love the delicateness of babies.

IMG_2683Of how they really stretch their bodies as far as they can go, which isn’t really very far. Of how their bodies stretch into a curly question mark after you lift them out of a car seat. Or how their legs and arms cycle, cycle, cycle. The above anemone quote and image of baby A here reminds me of the constant gentle motion.

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When you have an infant in the house, it is easy to sometimes forget to take photos of the bigger ones. The bigger ones suddenly seem more giant like and savoring them becomes a feat when you have to deal with issues like homework, morning routine, and bathing because they lack that sweet newborn smell that reminds me of cocoa puffs.

With that in mind, I picked up my camera with the goal of photographing the older two. When I pick up my camera, I love the perspective it gives me. I love how raindrops freeze in motion, how vibrant the colors look from behind the lens, and how happy jumping 7-year-olds are suspended in mid air.IMG_3247

Z’s ice cream art

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why can’t adults have nifty pockets like above?!

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collage 2

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Glimpses

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Preschooler hands cradling a little fussy newborn!

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when Z bought a pack of construction paper from Walmart! These are skirts with bows she created.

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a picture of me holding baby H! I love how A drew her hair in three crayola spikes!

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a Turkish mother delivered her baby next door to me at Piedmont Hospital. The day they got discharged from the hospital, her mother brought over the most delicious food!

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My uncle’s beautiful calligraphy. This text means The Pardoner, describing God’s names.

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needing snacks post school!

A is for Anticipation

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The air is thick and perspires with anticipation. It’s 5 am and I am checking in as 2 and hoping to leave 2 days later as 3.

This time around I tried not to post any obvious pictures these last 9 months. I used to blog more about personal matters and journeys such as these. But I’ve learned you really can’t take anything for granted. After a health issue a couple years ago it was a blessing to make it to this point, to be able to give birth, to watch my family grow a little bit more.

I have so much respect for those that go through child birth, but even more silent respect for those who want to be mothers and quietly witness those around them becoming moms. For those who stoically witness adorable newborn pictures and blossoming baby bumps on social media all the while diligently praying to become mothers and strive to start a new chapter of their lives. For some reason, sigh, not everyone who wants to be a biological mother gets to. And for those who do, I really hope even in the tough sleepless nights we get to savor it.

Prayers for those mothers- to- be, those who want to be mothers, and those in the throes of motherhood in which day and night blends a little too easily in which sleep becomes broken, and yet everything becomes whole again.

On a side note, I always thought my children’s ages would be all squished together. A one or two year gap perhaps. Z and A are sort of squished together. But baby H is 7 years younger than Z and 4 years younger than A!
My 3 brothers and I are all born within 5 years so I just assumed I too would have children also spaced closely together just so. I loved how we were all in college around the same time just a few miles apart in Atlanta and how friends were easily shared.

You can plan as much as you want and circle as many dates in the calendar, but God has His own plan for you.

We live in a world where everything is so instant. Instant results for tests, Uber delivery within a few minutes, digital pictures that no longer need developing. (Does anyone else remember the anticipation of dropping of refrigerated film hoping and praying your photos came out just so?!) You can’t plan your exact date on if you will conceive, when that would happen, and on when you will deliver. Something so primal and basic yet God knows the answers to those.

In the Quran, it says during trials to pray and be patient. I heard somewhere the praying part is easier, but the patience part is so much harder. Because patience is passive and impatience gnaws at you while instilling doubt. But still we hope and pray and wait because sometimes that’s all you can do.

And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive.” (Quran 2:45)

A Rare Braid

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My fingers are clumsier as they form a braid in Z’s hair. The hair lifts and folds as I tighten the braid and I realize I am rusty at braiding. I will typically make a quick braid when Z goes to school, but the benefit of summer is that our routine softens while we take it slow. Meaning not many braids. I step back to admire the neatness that the braid brings to Z’s face.

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I thought this summer that we would have pancakes and eggs often for breakfast, and at the beginning we may have, but now Froot Loops and Apple Jacks welcome little hands in the pantry.

One of the beauty of summers is that is appears so Endless. Summer days are long and lazily stretch.

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So that when August does come around, and pencils, erasers, and notebooks grace the aisles of Target, it is easy to walk around wide-eyed, wondering Where did the summer go?

I read this article about how it’s good to take a leap when you’re almost ready. Reality is that you may never feel ready and you need a push to do things. Ready to go to college? Ready to walk across the stage to pick up your diploma? Ready to stand in front of a classroom of twenty students and teach? Ready to get settled and married?  Ready to give birth while in the painful throes of labor? Ready to nurse, rock, diaper your baby? Ready to sweep grimy floors, wipe sticky counters, and raise children? Ready to now send Z off to second grade and A to pre-K?

Sigh. But a Grateful Sigh.

We have a few more days before school officially starts, a few more opportunities to make French Toast/pancakes, to swim in cool, blue water, to practice easing back in a routine and sleeping earlier! A few more moments to savor time. Until then…

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pre-Eid mehndi

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scent of childhood

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When you have a box of crayons and nice paper

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biking into August…

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Rice Bubbling happens a lot here

Enjoying Cam Jansen books!

“By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Quran 103:1-3)

 

Fela’s One Year Photo Session!

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I had the opportunity to take Fela’s one year photos last week! This is my last summer session! I may be scheduling photosessions in the fall and will keep you posted. If you think Fela looks a little familiar, you are right as he is related to Jasiah, a previous little client of mine! To see Jasiah’s one year photo session click here.

Like his cousin Jasiah, Fela started walking early! He was running before he even turned 1!  I love photographing smaller children and seeing them mature from a sleepy newborn into a squirmy smiley six month old to a running one year old is a beautiful feeling! I got to see Fela’s cousin Jasiah morph from a six month told a toddler and I hope I get to see Fela mature too!

Enjoy Fela’s session below!

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One Year Old Session!

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It’s a magical blessing to see your baby grow, but it passes somewhat in a haze! When I get to photograph repeat clients, I really see how they grow. Here are a few of this mommy-baby duo from a sleepy newborn on a spring day to an alert 6 month old in the fall to their one year old birthday session in April! I feel privileged to have photographed their motherhood/infanthood journey thus far!

 

I love the joy these two exude and the comfort this little (who is so rapidly growing!) one seeks in his mother’s arms.

IMG_4968-2The newborn stage!IMG_8792-2IMG_8846-2IMG_8873-46 months Later!IMG_0996IMG_0998IMG_1067 - CopyIMG_1023 - CopyIMG_1047-2I love the joy of these 2!IMG_1049 - CopyOne of my faves!IMG_1052IMG_1053-3IMG_1060 - CopyIMG_1098IMG_1113IMG_1115trying to light the candle!cake smash!!IMG_1156IMG_1159IMG_1161IMG_1162IMG_1166