I can't believe it's been a whole year since I've started writing you these letters. It's amazing to see how many people have come into your life's journey in just documenting this first year alone.
"We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.” -unknown
I believe this quote to be very true my love. Let me explain...
Everybody has their own path in life that is intended for just them. While much of what I write to you about is of our journey, we inevitably cross path to someone else's life journey every day.
Every other path we've stumbled through was meant to be. I believe it is all a master's design.
Roughly 2 years ago we found ourselves in an all too familiar situation of moving to a new neighborhood. These events trigger many emotions for me - excitement of new beginnings, apprehension of what's to come, sadness to leave our friends from (insert Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, New York, Texas etc.), and a general mundane of the passing of time and the closing of the corresponding chapter.
You can find the perfect house, the perfect schools, and all of life's conveniences (Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory, Target etc.), but you can't pick your neighbors. With our family being who we are, this becomes a source of anxiety for me baby. It's truly left to a whole lot of trust, faith, and prayer.
Will they be accepting? Will they be patient? Will they hate us? Will they embrace or retreat?
The good news for us was that in the lovely 12 Oaks neighborhood we've learned that our prayers were heard.
We built our most recent home and the excitement of the progress brought us there just about everyday to check how things were moving along. Little did we know just down the hill another family was in the same boat as us. Having similar excitement over there new home!
This excited family would come to be our beloved photographer and friend Miss Tammy's family - The Smith's.
We yelled across yards from porch to porch a few times in passing. She even offered to have you, Clara and Gabe down to play with her two young boys, Jack and Liam while we were swimming through a sea of moving boxes.
I gladly sent Clara and Gabe, but I knew there would be a lot of questions with you my dear. I sheltered you a bit, because I just wasn't ready to have that conversation. Looking back, that was just silly.
About a month into settling into being neighbors, we finally all got together. You shared an instant connection with Miss Tammy and much to our surprise she was an attorney by trade, so asking questions came easy to her...and was very welcomed by us.
She wanted to know everything about you, and would soon learn that for us, life would never be black and white, but a more a shade of gray. She would learn that some questions just don't have answers and in turn just lead to more questions as we try to figure out life.
Our day to day lives were indeed different. No better than one another, but different.
We began to spend more and more time together. She would dive deeper into understanding your world - even if that included playing in the biggest, muddy mess ever (on Mother's Day none the less)! For those of us looking on, I'm 100% sure she enjoyed every second of this sensory play with you!
She would come to identify the differences between your meltdowns vs. tantrums. Likes and dislikes, keeping a full supply of pink squares (strawberry starbursts) on hand if ever needed. She would add vocabulary of large medical terms she never thought she'd ever know to her repertoire.
When the neighborhood yard sale came around, she kept all your favorite toys (even though her boys had outgrown them), only instead to stash them away for when you wanted to come and play with them. Even if they took up a generous amount of space to store, you liked them. Therefore she insisted they stay.
She would spin you around and around until you're both "izzy" (dizzy) as you'd say. Only to have you run back to her before she could find her balance requesting to "spin! spin!" again!
She has successfully serenaded you to sleep signing Patsy Cline (drifting asleep herself) not wanting to move out of risk that you'd awake.
You've enjoyed a story time or two and a popsicle or ten :)...(and they're the good kind full of flavor and are bright colors that leave you looking a similar shade). Let us not forget the popsicle joke on the stick - those crack me up every time!
You have awoken a passion in her and led her on a path she may not have thought she'd be walking. A path of advocacy for you and others on the spectrum.
She would see my frustrations, feel my anxiety, and want people to know the beautiful little girl that you are.
Not many know, that in fact it is HER who was the mastermind behind this very project. The execution is a partnership, but the idea was hers.
You are her greatest challenge as a photographer, going to great depths to capture the perfect picture. For the unscripted picture says so much even when you can't.
She's protective of you, proud of you and loves you like you were one of her own.
So was she ready for you? I'm not sure.
But we prayed Addie, and I believe it was no accident Miss Tammy and her family have crossed our path.
It was all part of the journey.