personal project \\ six people twelve times \\ 08.10

This family image was taken by Maile Wilson on 8/31. Posted about here. This is probably my favorite family image from our time with her, because I just love how Jeff is looking at us. And how candid it is. And how brown we all are. And my hair looks pretty rad, which is always nice. This photo wraps us up pretty nicely, even Mckenna – slightly on the outside but happier there, away from our noise.

So, August.

I am so late to class for August.

After an emotional/hard/draining July, August came quiet and thoughtful.

You really have to go through pain before you can move into a new phase, a new place in your head or your heart. So often I am scared of that pain, afraid it will overwhelm me – ruin my life or my day. I hide from it, avoid it, make poor choices in order to stay numb to it. When I do that, the pain just takes hold. It moves in like a wasp’s nest, constantly buzzing about my head. Something you know you have to deal with, but are afraid to because you don’t want to get stung. I am learning more and more that accepting those feelings and letting myself feel them is the way I want to go.

When you give yourself permission to feel what you feel, it is giving yourself permission to be who you really are. There is a peace in that, and a sincerity that feeds you.

It is the best way that I know to take care of myself.

A lot of the pain I was in had to do with Mckenna. A lot of the pain had to do with the kids growing up. A lot of the pain was personal. I felt it. I got through it. I wanted something more.

This process has changed the inside of me. And I like it.

I have realized how completely in charge I am of how my life works. You always kind of know this, I mean, no one is cooking dinner and editing photos but me. But you also kind of think that someone else is going to come along and take care of things for you. Our core need is to be taken care of. For the first time, I truly feel in charge. Like an adult. I can do whatever I want, I can make my life whatever I want it to be. I am fiercely protective of how I spend my time. I want most to spend it with the people who live in my house. I am realizing I don’t have to live my life like everyone else, just because it’s “what you do”. Because of ‘shoulds’ or ideas that no one even questions. Most people don’t even understand why they believe what they believe. It is just what they do, what their parents did, what their neighbors do as well. They don’t want to be challenged, they just keep plodding along. I want to learn and understand about the choices I make. I want to learn and understand about my children. I want to learn and understand more about the world.

But back to the point. August. August was welcomed. In August we settled into the routine of Summer and enjoyed every last second we had left. I feel like I really got to live like the mom I want to be. I took the last two weeks of it off, and spent every moment that I could with the kids and with Jeff. The boys enjoyed surf camp. We enjoyed the beach. We spent time with family, and with friends near and far. My sister gave me massages. We lazed around the house in pajamas. We took many trips to the library. We found a new sushi place. We finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We went to the pool at night. We debated what we would name our goldfish, if we ever got another one. We were peer pressured by the kids into buying a furry animal, but we said no. We used up our Wild Rivers passes. These kids love the wave pool. We went on dates with friends. We also Got Stuff Done, like eye exams and immunizations and cleaning up the garage. Anna now wears glasses. Drew only needs his for school. Jeff can now park in the garage. We made decisions about Mckenna, who is doing really well. We hired more help. We dreaded school starting again.

We are refining our life. We are making it better.

Bring on the homework.



Join the Conversation


  1. refining…that’s what it really is. what a lot of us are trying to do. to stay focused, balanced, peaceful and happy. just refining it all until…well i don’t know until when. but it’s what keeps me going. still hope to meet sometime sooner than later :)

  2. Thank you Tara! I REALLY needed to read that right now. isn’t it amazing how someone can say (or write something) and its exactly what you need to hear or say or do, but just couldn’t put your finger on. I have actually quoted part of your post on my blog, I hope you don’t mind – I have credited you ofcoarse, and linked!
    keep doing what you do. thank you for the inspiration! :)

  3. Looks like we became adults at the same time this year. ;)

    I took a hard look and answered the question “how do I want to live?” I answered it honestly. And within the hour had made the decision to buy a new house, sell the old one, let go of the projects and tasks and wasted time and gain it back in the form of a taking up sailing with our middle school kids. Time is too short. Especially the time with our kids at home. So we are shoving all the time wasters out the door and making the most of the next 6 years until they graduate.

    Kudos to you for facing the pain and working through it. And congratulations on becoming a grown up!! :)

  4. Thank you Tara. Your words really touch my heart. Gentle, honest, powerful. I am a photographer in Australia. I love your work and outlook on life. This post really spoke to me. You put in words so beautifully what I have been growing into myself this past few months. My life took a big turn at the beginning of last year which while painful has lead to a fresh start and a new knowing of how I control my life (nobody else). And I have learned, in the words of the illustrious Michael Franti, “It is never too late to start the day over”. I have now found strength inside me I did not know I had and for the first time in my life I really like myself. I love that I am the sole creator of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom and inspiration. Every time I visit your blog it brings so much joy to my heart. Much love Lindi xox

  5. What a beautiful photo. What a beautiful post. The photo really does embody the essence of what you’ve been saying recently. I admire your courage to face the pain. To live through it. To share it. One of these days I hope to get there myself. To take control.To become an adult. Just like you said.

  6. Oh, this is so perfectly said. That along with the sometimes crushing responsibility of being the adult also comes the amazing freedom that it is all. up. to. you. Which, if you’re in the right frame of mind can be the best gift ever.

    Well done. And good luck.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece of art. It gave me hope to overcome the darkness and step over to the bright side of life. I feel such a relief after reading it. Love.

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