I’m 50 Today

I haven’t written here in months and months. The longest I’ve ever gone since starting my blog. Why? It’s been an interesting time. I’ve been slightly depressed for a while and in the worst creative rut I’ve ever had. So I sit at my computer and edit a couple of photos and look at this blank screen and say WTF? What am I doing?

How do I even start? I’m hesitant to share too much because I’ve been criticized for over sharing but my sweet Anna Banana had the worst year last year. It took a toll on the whole family. When your everyday reality gets intense, you normalize it. You have to. But we could not accept that her reality had to make her that unhappy and miserable. We had to consider that she might not be able to live with us for a while. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine thinking that you are powerless to help your child and what would be best for her would be to make her leave her home? It was the hardest time we’ve had yet (and pray that never happens again). She had to deal with so much instability at school. She went through 11 pairs of glasses. We had to make hard decisions and it wore me down (it wore us all down). It took all year but we finally got her stable again by changing medications (a trial and error process that definitively ruled out bipolar) several times. We also lost her primary respite caregiver with no notice and that just added to the difficult year.

So my photography has always been my outlet and saving grace when all else in my world goes to shit. I went out to shoot some wildflowers in March… I spent days researching where to go, spent half a day driving and hours schlepping in and out of my car, took a hundred plus pictures… and hated all of them. This was just after Anna’s 18th birthday. We were meeting with lawyers to finalize guardianship and it was a depressing time. (My other Exceptional Women moms know what I’m talking about… deciding that your child cannot ever make decisions for themselves is a big responsibility.) I realized that I had never shared Anna’s amazing 17th birthday photos (still sitting on my hard drive unedited) and now I had her 18th birthday photos too. All the reasons I had picked up a camera to begin with were looming. I became paralyzed. I didn’t want to shoot, edit, or share. I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to talk or connect. I withdrew from everything and everyone.

In late April we finalized guardianship of Anna. I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers about the same time. My weight had crept back up and up. I had almost gotten to goal for the second time in 2014, then we moved, then I had major surgery twice. I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I always have and I always will. Now I’m 30 pounds down and exercising daily. Because of the EDS, I will have to fight to keep it down and stay healthy but everyone has their fight, right? My friends are becoming empty nesters and I’m happy for them. Even though that’s not my path this time around, I will do my best to enjoy my life as best I can.

So today I turn 50. I wasn’t excited about this birthday… in fact, I’ve been downplaying it to my family. Not excited and honestly feeling kinda sad. I wish I didn’t care so much what I look like or what people think of me but I’m probably not going to change at this point. The rest of my life feels like more of the same… when you have a forever kiddo, the future feels so uncertain and yet so set in stone at the same time. So please forgive my maudlin post and mixed feelings. I hope my 50s are amazing and bring more happiness and joy in my life. I do commit to posting more (flirting with a 365 project documenting my 50th year) and sharing some of my most personal work. Help me be accountable, okay?

This is 50

iPhone 10Xr (my Nikon D750 is being serviced)

Thanks for reading! (Oh and I’m blonde now because being mostly silver evokes strangers asking about my grandkids [of which there are zero].)

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