Learning to let go is hard. Change has had a major impact on my life and my growth as a photographer. It drives my desire to document life.
I’ve always been greatly affected by it. It’s difficult, yet refreshing, for me to come to terms with the fact that nothing stays the same.
For the last six years, and for many years of my past, August has been a pivotal moment in my year. It’s a transitional phase, one of those crucial moments of growth and change.
As a kid, it always meant going back to school, being in a different class, meeting different people, and learning new things. The thought of school wasn’t scary to me, but the idea of everything that had become so familiar would be changing… was frightening. The fear of change was paralyzing.
As an adult, August still means going back to school. Although I’m on the other side of things as a teacher, it’s still hard for me to start a new year. I’ll be meeting a whole new set of students + parents. I know those children are nervous. I know their parents are more anxious than their children are. We all have a lot in common as far as fear goes. But as scary as change is for me, it excites me the same way.
Change is an outcome of growth and learning, and I do just as much of those things in a school year as my students do.
Since becoming a mother, these thoughts of change have only become more evident to me.
I waited so long to become a mother that the thought of my children growing leaves me with a sense of grievance. At the same time, I’m PROUD of their achievements + growth. I’m sad to see this season of our lives change.
I know that there are other parents who feel the same way. Like, you get so caught up in your daily routine that you feel as though the end of the day may never come. You feel like you’re working your life away raising kids or at a 9-5 or both and all you want to do is lay your head down and rest your eyes, but then the end of the day comes and it went by too quickly.
I wish I could bottle up these moments and keep them forever.
Photography helps me do that.
A unique opportunity to preserve back-to-school for another family
I’m in the midst of an interesting chapter of my life right now, though. Yet again, one full of ongoing change. I’ve decided to take some time away from the classroom this year to spend extra time at home with my children and work on my business. Since I wasn’t in my room waiting for 25 students on the first day of school this year, I had the unique opportunity to photograph a little girl and her family as they prepared for her first day of Kindergarten.
I know her mother feels the same way I do about our growing children. I know it was hard for her to let go and close that chapter of their lives together at home. I know that even the thought of meticulously packing her youngest daughter’s lunch and brushing her hair that day made her want to cry.
She met me at the door as soon as I pulled in her driveway, and I could see that she was feeling nervous and sad.
I could see that she was longing for the past. But, like I’ve come to realize, change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same. After a quick, “good morning,” and a hug, we headed up to wake her sleeping girl.
“Lulu. Wake up. It’s time for Kindergarten,” she said as her voice shook while she tried to hold back the tears.
She held her daughter, Lucy, in an embrace that seemed to make time stand still. I think that’s what she was trying to do: stop time. But time didn’t stop. The hustle and bustle of preparing for the first day of school only made it tick by even faster.
Lucy and her sister, who had already been in school for a few days this year, rushed downstairs to eat breakfast while their mom packed lunch and prepared their backpacks with all of the necessary back to school items.
Each part of their new routine flowed, flawlessly, to the next. Her mother brushed her hair as slowly as she possibly could, hoping that maybe this would be the act that makes time slow down. It didn’t work, though. Time passed at an alarming rate, and the moment she and her daughter were nervous about had come.
After a short ride to school, one chapter of their lives would end and a new one was just about to begin.
Writing and images are from photographer, Lauren Webster.
About Lauren Webster: I am a wife and mama to two little miracles from Morgantown, West Virginia. I’ve had a passion for photography my entire life, but when I had my daughter three years ago, I felt a deep urge to capture her every move. Her tiny baby feet and hands were changing every day, and I wanted a way that I could hold on to those memories forever. Photography is a gift that I provide my family with. I want my children to have authentic documentation of their childhood. I, wholeheartedly, believe that photography is an heirloom.
I am living my dream by getting to know other families and telling their story through a series of photographs. I love to learn about, and document, what you love about your family. Babies change fast. The beautiful chaos of life is something you’ll want to remember the rest of your life. Helping other families provide an heirloom for their children is my life’s mission.