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  1. hi there. i have come back to this photo a few times because i adore it but am trying to understand more about why – because THESE are the picss i want to take, not the technically pefect ones – but these moments of magic.
    being a devoted reader of this blog, i have long admired your soulful honesty. and even tho we’ve never met i am going to offer a possible explanation.
    there’s something called touchpoints in a child’s development. and right before they achieve a milestone or make some progress, there’s usually an intense burst of frustration. for example, right before a child walks, when they sit on the floor and rock and get so mad because they want their little limbs to coordinate and allow movement and they’re almost but not quite there. but then – when the milestone is reached – all is good again with the world.
    in fact i think any great change is preceeded by a bubbling of turmoil and energy – in fact i think thats what gives the change its momentum to propel us forward into a better world.
    i think this photo captures your daughter as she achieves a glorious milestone- one that will bring you and your whole family a new found joy.good for her. good for you.
    thanks so much for sharing. hope she’s feeling the love being sent her way.

  2. Wow. I’ve known of you since I joined 2p’s way back when. Seeing all your children grow through your photos has been an absolute delight..My head keeps saying “peace, inside and out” when I look at Mckennas’ photo.

  3. This post made me smile and cry, it is such a beautiful, special moment. Thank you for sharing this, for making me stop, breathe and enjoy the preciousness and uniqueness of all the little things around me, that are really the big things.

  4. Mckenna is just gorgeous, and I always thought she looked more like Jeff but I can see you in this picture (lol I talk about your family as if I know you from years, it sure feels that way!). And one thing I wanted to add that I LOVE how your mom always comments on your posts and how proud she is of you & your family ..I LOVED her comment on your 6/12x project.. so beautiful.. it must be sooo nice to get this feedback from your mom .. whatever we say they are our moms and deep inside of us we so need that acceptance .. lovely lovely family Tara!

  5. Oh my, seeing this photo took my breath away, she looks so beautiful and so free – it’s made me well up, love it! I have three beautiful girls, one of whom is profoundly Deaf, which has brought a few challenges over the years, but also taught us so very much that we will always be grateful for – these moments are so precious. Thank you so much for sharing x

  6. This is the ultimate “perfectly imperfect” portrait. I can feel the connection in it. I can feel the love she has for the person behind the lens, and the delight and sharing a smile with that person.

    This is what photographs are all about…a moment…and you caught it momma!

  7. I started reading your blog right after McKenna’s stove accident. And boy has she grown up! She reminds so very much of my cousin Susan. Susan is 25 years old now and they have never had an “official” diagnosis for her. She’s just special and unique and she is just “Susan”.

    This is a beautiful photo of McKenna. She sure does favor you!

  8. A photographer I met told me to come visit your blog, because my son has special needs, and so I’ve lurked for ages here but just wanted to come out and say that this post brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. my son avoids my camera like the plague.

    your daughter is a shining star.

  9. so dean was sitting couch and says “that little girl has a beautiful soul” and then I told him about our car ride. :) she really is miss tara. she’s a lot like her mama…including being super funny.

  10. I love your blog Tara. I don’t comment, but I always enjoy your stories, pictures and how you share from the heart. I have a special needs daughter, who is 23 now, and man she doesn’t like getting her photo taken. There is no artifice in her. To smile at a black, clicking machine seems absurd to her. I love when you feature McKenna, and this really is a picture that I’m sure you’ll treasure always. I only have a handful of natural, happy pictures of my Hayley, so I totally get how excited you were to see this one. You and your family are doing so good with your daughter. I love how your kids, especially Drew, is always watching out for her, always protective. It’s beautiful!

  11. haven’t been on the computer much lately but when i am, you know i come here. saw this photo of mckenna. O. M. G. i LOVE this photo. she is so beautiful. this photo brought to light (to me) things i had never noticed about mckenna before. her gorgeous eyes. her beautiful smile. tara, this is truly a beautiful beautiful photograph of a beautiful beautiful girl. gotta say it again. this photograph captures her.

  12. She looks a lot like her mamma here. She is such a beauty. I love the innocence she has and yet you can tell she’s growing up. I imagine seeing this picture just made your heart swell. So happy to share that moment with you.

  13. Oh her soul is so shiny!
    I have this issue with our daughter. She just wont smile for the camera and it rarely happens naturally. She too is away having her own fun in her imagination. I do have to force it out of her and forced smiles are not natural, are they?
    I can’t wait for to ask me how to smile, like Mckenna, one day

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