A Badge of Bravery

Suffering has a way of opening up our hearts, increasing our capacity for love. Danna and Adam's love for their kids is tangible, and so beautiful. It fills their whole house, and is contagious. I left our session with a renewed resolve to love more, and love better.  And that's something I can always always use! 

When Danna contacted me about her session, she told me about her sweet little Nyla Jane and her complications with eating. NJ was born unable to swallow, and after lots of tests and procedures and more stress than anyone should have to endure, she was given feeding tubes. Those feeding tubes are her lifeline. Because her future is somewhat uncertain right now, Danna really wants to live in the moment, and document everything about her at this age. Her sweet, spunky personality, how full of life she is, and the love they all share. 

Because of frequent surgeries and hospitalizations, everyday "normal" life at home is a luxury for this family. I'm so grateful that I was able to document what their precious time together looks like.

Danna has written so many beautiful things about Nyla Jane--promoting feeding tube awareness. I wanted to share it all, but this one hit me the hardest. I think it's a message we all need.

"This is my message- please SEE our girl. See her. These tubes, button, cables, IV poles, monitors, are most assuredly NOT her. We want others to see all the things that she IS. I love when people come and want to talk about her- even something as superficial as her curls, or her walk. Even her dress. And yes, truly, including her feeding tube. But, As you look past her external differences, you'll see HER. And isn't this what we all want in life? People to see past our crooked teeth, the scar next to your eyebrow. Even to see past our moments of impatience, our weirdness, wherever we lack. We just want to be seen. We each want someone to see the kindness behind our eyes. The way we can be funny, and a good friend. We want to each be valued and valid, and loved.

Today, girls especially, are bombarded by messages that their bodies are not good enough. Girls with normal, healthy bodies struggle to accept themselves. My fear is that when someone asks, "what is wrong with her?" That her first messages, so young, will be- even strangers think something is wrong with me. We are working hard on this new precipice of life on which she stands. We want her to see that like a scar by an eyebrow, her button, her tubing is not her. And moreover, it is a badge of bravery and grit for all to see. She is more than the sum of her parts."