Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Golden Birthday (Part Three - The Idea, Like Helium, Expands)

Outtake #1: This is one of my favorite snaps of my fourth-born's life at age one. But really, a mouth full of Corn Chex is not the most flattering look. 

Last June, when I rolled out a year-by-year photographic essay for my third-born's Golden Birthday, it was all about necessity being the mother of invention.

She was living it up in Vietnam, I was sitting on my hands in America with precious few options for throwing her a worthy celebration.So I spammed Instagram and Facebook with her pretty face and shared the story of her life.

And while that was my seat-of-the-pants solution for a long-distance birthday, I also discovered that the process was a lot of fun.

Outtake #2: While I tried to focus my collection on solo shots, the truth is that my fourth-born rarely spent a moment of her childhood alone. Shown here marching up an improvised slip and slide while a small army of older girls wait patiently for her to clear the racetrack, this is the life my baby truly led. 

I enjoyed the long, lazy trip down Memory Lane, as I strolled through hard copy photo albums, endless digital archives, and even came upon a cache or two of long forgotten random photos filed away in old-school paper envelopes..

I challenged myself to choose scenes that not only reveal chronological ages and stages, but also capture important events and the developing personality of the birthday girl. 

I obsessed over the artsy factor, looking for shots that capture a beautiful scene, that crop and edit themselves into a pleasing square image.

And though this may sound nutty, I loved the rigor of posting those photos hour after hour, around the clock, remembering back to the long hours of labor before the original birthday. My girls each demanded more than twenty four hours of labor from me. They had no qualms about keeping me up all night back then, so it seems entirely fitting to put myself through a sleepless night in commemoration of their births. 

Outtake #3: An adorable shot of my third- and fourth-born, with the younger girl cuddling our good dog, Casey. But the scene is also populated by a handful of other kids and the whole effect is cluttery and distracting. 

So, after completing the project for my third-born last June, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to repeat the process for the other girls. 

As luck would have it, two of the three remaining daughters are also about to celebrate their Golden Birthdays - the year in which they turn the age of the date on which they were born. My fourth-born just hit her gilded milestone last week; my first-born will score hers in May.

And in June, my second-born honors the tenth anniversary of her Golden Birthday, which presents itself as the perfect opportunity for a belated bash.

Outtake #4: A PERFECT shot of Daughters Three (far right) and Four (far left) with their sibling BFFs but uncroppable into a square format. Oh, the amazing snowy memories!

I will have a lot of pictures to post in the next few months.

But I don't mind one little bit. 

Outtake #5: Posting swim suit photos on line without express permission? Always a bad idea. 
Oops. Just did it anyway. 

It's a small thing I do, this capturing of four young lives well lived. 

And it's the very least a mother can do to show her girls how much they are loved. 

Outtake #6: A scene from the Christmas tree farm, intended only as a private message to Daughter Number Three in Vietnam. But those smiles are too good to hide forever. 

Go here to see all the photos.

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See more of my Golden Birthday stories and photos here:


  1. I have loved the journey through their years, too. Thank you for this intimate peek from birth into beautiful young women. Looking forward to the next installments as you prepare for another Golden Celebration! <3 -h

    1. Thank you for your sweet words and mark your calendar for May 29th!


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