Today I say a bittersweet goodbye to my little girl. It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to with excitement for her and a day I’ve been dreading all at the same time. As she heads off to college, this marks a major milestone in all our lives. The end of one big chapter and the start of another.
From the time she was a little girl, Maddie has always been on a mission. Dreaming of what she wanted to be when she grew up. Always making plans for the things she wanted to accomplish in her life. Her drive and ambition is inspiring to me.
Even more inspiring is the genuine kindness and compassion she shows towards everyone she comes in contact with. You see, Maddie is one of those very special souls that doesn’t come along nearly often enough in this world. She loves unconditionally and gives of herself sacrificially. Always thinking of others first and willing to sacrifice herself for the betterment of those around her. A true servants heart. We need more people like Maddie in this world.
I read something this week from Joe McNally that struck me. He said, “Photographers are in the memory business and our daily chore is to create visuals that reverberate, commemorate, or somehow creep into the ongoing consciousness of somebody, somewhere. If we’re successful, every once in a while we make a picture that becomes the stuff of memory.” In my last post, I talked about how photographs mark time for me. Creating memories that take me back to the moment I clicked the shutter. As I shuffled through a bunch of old photographs we had printed for Maddie’s graduation party, I was astounded at how quickly I was transported back in time. A faint memory that was made much more vivid from the simple act of taking a photograph.
Some of the images in this post were taken last fall and some were taken this past weekend. Even in that short time, I can see change and maturity. She’s growing up. As much as I want to hold on to my little girl, time marches on. When you first have kids, people always tell you to cherish this time because it will be gone in the blink of an eye. I don’t think you ever quite understand that as a parent until you look back on 18 years and realize, yep, they were right. I remember her first breath, her first words, her first steps… all of it just like it was yesterday. It’s scary how fast it goes.
So, as we send our not so little girl off to school, I’m thankful for the photographs captured along the way that help to document this chapter in our lives. Mostly I’m thankful for the time with my little girl.
Maddie, your Mom and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Words cannot begin to express how much you are loved. There is no doubt in my mind that you are going to change this world for the better. In fact, you already have. Above all else, just remember that no matter where you go or what you do in this lifetime, no matter what challenges or opportunities may come your way, I’ll always be here to love and support you. To me, you will always be Daddy’s little girl.
A girl after my own heart. Seems like it was only yesterday…