Well, this is it. Today marks the conclusion of my 365 project.
And I’ll admit, I felt a liiiittle pressure to make this final shot “special.” Should I take a drive, find something interesting? The skies look a bit dreary out there today. Would it be a copout of some sort to focus on the Munchkin for the fourth day in a row now?
But on the playground today as she darted from one play area to the next, full of enthusiasm and boundless energy, I realized she is the perfect way to end this thing because she shows me how to look forward:
1. Explore. Try. Have fun.
As three-year-olds do, she approached just about every piece of playground equipment with curiosity and a willingness to try. She didn’t let fear stop her from exploring. I think this is important for photography, too. And while experimenting is certainly good for learning, sometimes you don’t have to have any other purpose but to have fun.
2. See the progress.
Watching her run about with confidence reminded me of how much she has grown. There was a time when I had to encourage her, hold her hand more, coax her down the slide. Not anymore. And it reminds me that, even if I still have a great deal to learn as a photographer, I have made progress, and instead of being so hard on myself all the time, I owe it to myself to recognize this, even if the steps I have made are tiny.
3. Embrace the support.
“Come down. I’ll catch you, Tante.” This is what she said to me, with outstretched arms and the sweetest smile ever, right before I pressed the shutter button. She does not know how she helped me—and all of us—through the most challenging year of our lives. I am so happy to have ended the year in her company. And I am grateful for all those who held their arms open to my family this year, supporting us in our time of need. There were many who supported me in this project, too. Special thanks to Sharman, Paul, Mike, Ralph, Tony, Melissa, and Renee, who took the time to comment and encourage frequently. There was a point when I thought the daily photo project seemed trivial in comparison to the bigger issues we were grappling with. Thank you to those who convinced me to keep going. It was supposed to be a project to encourage creativity and help me improve my skills; I did not know it would become much more than that, helping me cope and heal, distracting me when I needed distracting.
So I’m ending this difficult year on an up note. Not only did I successfully complete this challenge, but I spent the the last few days of 2012 giggling, playing, reading, and snuggling with my very best girl.
Dear readers, I hope you will stick around and see where 2013 takes me. And most importantly, may you enjoy a New Year filled with peace, health, love, and happiness!