I hate cancer, I hate how unfair and cruel it is. I hate how it not only leaves physical scars but also how it leaves emotional and mental scars. I hate how wears down the survivors and their family. I hate watching someone I love suffer and battle every day. This being said I am in awe of those who do battle this killer. For years I have watched my mom fight and she continues to do so every day. I know how much she has wanted to give up and how close she has come to doing so but still she fights. I have also watched my dad stand by her and give her unconditional love. I know how hard it has been. I see them at their best and yes at their worst. I am so blessed to have been able to walk this journey with them and see how for better and for worse looks. It is beautiful even in the face of cancer. So to my mom I love you and will fight with you every single day we hold the enemy at bay. You are the portrait of a fighter, a winner, a survivor.
As soon as his first baby comes into the world, a dad’s life is forever changed. A real man steps in and immediately finds ways to not only support the mother of this gift but to bond with their offspring. Here is my take on 10 things that make a real man.
Real men have spit- up stains on their suit and tie and jeans and shorts and t-shirts and…….
Real men know all the words to “The Wheels on the Bus”
Real men wear pink and baby blue receiving blankets with pride
Real men share all child-rearing responsibilities
Real men know what Johnson Baby Soap smells like
Real men have a bro bag packed with all essential diaper changing needs
Real men rock and cuddle.
Real men know how to swaddle
Real men have more baby pictures than hot babe pictures on their phone
Real men honor the mother of their children
I am so lucky to know several new, up and coming REAL MEN as they embrace fatherhood.
I am still moving a little slow, sleeping a lot and generally just not feeling as spunky as I think I should be by now. With this in mind I have been feeling sorry for myself and my lack of energy and ability to get out and shoot as much as I want to. Today I grabbed my camera on the way to work and realized I had some pictures. I snapped last week of Surprise Lilies that bloomed at my mom’s last week. I eagerly opened them today and was feeling so disappointed. They were horrible; I had been on pain meds and definitely can see my head was not into the task. Then out of nowhere came this shot. It is not a perfect shot and in many ways it is a very bad one but it spoke to me and reminded me of the importance of perusing what makes you happy in good times and in bad. Sometimes it is not the technically perfect picture which speaks to us but the surprise and joy we feel in taking a image and finding its best potential no matter the circumstance.
I am going to post a little different today. first I will add the picture but then I am going to add a great article I stumbled on today while having my Early Childhood hat on. Enjoy these beautiful EYES. Than read a little more about how critical who we are as adults starts with a glance of love.
The Meeting Eyes of Love: How Empathy Is Born In Us
The mother’s eyes are the refuge where children confirm their existence.
You learn the world from your mother’s face. The mother’s eyes, especially, are a child’s refuge, the mirror where children confirm their existence. From the doting reflection of its mother’s eyes, a baby draws its earliest, wordless lessons about connection, care, and love, and about how being ignored – which every child is sooner or later – makes the good feeling disappear.
The mother’s gaze, or the father’s (if he is the primary caretaker), determines more than you might realize about how you come to see yourself, your place in the world, and the moral nature of people around you. “The meeting eyes of love,” novelist George Eliot called this all-important connection. According to Dan Siegal, a psychologist who specializes in early parental bonding, every child yearns for, and must have, this eye contact for healthy emotional development to occur. Siegal, who founded a new field of research known as interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB), has proved that the mother’s gaze plays a critical role in how we develop empathy.
“Repeated tens of thousands of times in the child’s life, these small moments of mutual rapport [serve to] transmit the best part of our humanity –our capacity for love — from one generation to the next,” Siegal has discovered. Without such mirrored transmission, children deprived of the mother’s gaze are likely to feel disconnected from others later in life. Many of them will struggle to heal this disconnect in destructive ways ranging from dysfunctional love to substance abuse. Carl Jung described addiction as “a prayer gone awry”; indeed, there’s an obvious link between the emptiness caused by a mother’s absence and the spiritual impulse itself, with its goals of benediction, acceptance, and unity. Not long before his death, the late Pope John Paul II, who lost his own mother at an early age, was intrigued enough by IPNB – especially Dan Siegal’s work on the mother’s gaze – to invite Siegal to the Vatican for a private meeting to discuss how the pontiff’s being orphaned had impacted his psychological and spiritual life.
Siegal suggests that that the visual interaction between mother and child primes the moral organ in visceral ways. “Through mirroring, attachment to caregivers helps the immature brain use the mature functions of the parent’s brain to organize its own processes,” he told a journalist. “We learn to care, quite literally, by observing the caring behavior of our parents toward us.” By the age of seven months, these earliest attachments have led to specific organizational changes in an infant’s behavior and brain function. Having found a secure base in the world, according to psychologist John Bowlby, the founder of attachment theory, the child learns emotional resilience. If the caregiver is responsive to the child’s signals and interacts with sensitivity, a secure attachment will be formed, reinforcing the child’s own positive emotional states and teaching him or her to modulate negative states. Deprived of the mother’s gaze, the area of the brain that coordinates social communication, empathic attunement, emotional regulation, and stimulus appraisal (the establishment of value and meaning) will be faulty. Such children are likely to develop “insecure attachment” along with all sorts of subsequent losses in self-esteem and feelings of belonging. Infants whose mothers deliberately ignore them in laboratory experiments become agitated and distressed. Rather than crawl around like the babies being paid attention to, they stop exploring the environment and either brood alone or desperately solicit their mother for attention. Not surprisingly, children of mothers who display postpartum depression tend to be anxious and distressed themselves.
We’ve come a long way in understanding how harmful parental distance can be to children’s emotional and moral development. Not long ago, popular wisdom held that in order for children to be self-reliant and well-behaved, parents should treat their kids as miniature adults. Before mirror neurons proved the vital link between empathy and parental attention, it was believed that children (little tabula rasas) were best initiated right away into the sort of alienation they could expect as grown-ups. “There is a sensible way of treating children,” behaviorist John Watson counseled in 1928. “Never hug and kiss them. Never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight and shake hands with them in the morning.” How different this withholding approach is from that of the Kung people of the Kalahari, whose mothers deliver children alone without anesthetic, stay in almost constant physical contact with them for several months, hold them in a vertical position during most of their waking hours – the better to see them face to face — and nurse several times an hour for the first three or four years! Is it any surprise that the !Kung are among the most peaceful tribes in Africa? Not only is touch “both the alpha and omega of affection,” as philosopher William James famously wrote, it’s connected to our body’s production of the hormone oxytocin – also known as the molecule of love – which the vagus nerve instructs the brain to release during lovemaking, nursing, and other connection moments.
Regardless of how they’re raised, no other offspring in the animal kingdom come close to the intimacy shared by human parents and their young.
In the complex relationship between parents and children, our earliest bonding patterns are formed. Our first glimmers of being loved by our mother, thereby feeling ourselves to be lovable, are indissolubly linked to our ability to care for others in our maturity. As anyone who’s been a parent can attest, this love requires levels of patience, stamina, and selflessness beyond anything demanded by any other relationship. Luckily, the rewards can be equally epic. Through the mirrored love in our parents’ eyes, we learn surrender, devotion, and trust.
They are never ashamed of us, they never stab us in the back, and they are there for us in the biggest time of need. Just take one glance into the eyes of a dog who knows and loves you and you will forever understand the love and joy a pet can bring. Eye they are the mirror to ones heart and although Annie does not live with me I never doubt for a minute she loves me.
Just when I thought my vacation was over I ended up with a little detour. So after a short break of bed rest and healing I am back to slowly getting out and shooting for diversion. Who am I kidding sometimes the only thing we can do to feel better is create images to make others happy and to give ourselves satisfaction. So yesterday I played with my favorite little girl and came up with this picture. She makes me smile every time I get my hands on her! I must say after a morning with her I almost forgot how horrible I had been feeling, that is until she went home and I had to make the trek to check in with my doctor……oh well at least I had pictures of the most perfect baby in the world to come home to edit.
I had a little bump in the road. Actually my gallbladder and I parted ways unexpectedly this week. I am home now from the hospital but far from being caught up. I had started working on this picture for Tuesdays post but never got around to getting it up. I love how the old past of the fixtures and design have been preserved although the modern use of energy saving bulbs are being used. The lamp reminds me we have so many resources and people who have valuable skills and knowledge to share with us. No matter how old you are everyone can be a light.
I took a vacation this summer. A slow down, stop running, enjoy my life vacation. I definitely had some wonderful experiences. My first race was a blast. I spent a whole day laying in a tube floating down a river camera safely tucked away in the car. I wandered around downtown Knoxville one evening just taking in the atmosphere and enjoying the company I was with. A vacation, a real chuck the timetable lay on a sofa and de-stress week. Why don’t we do this more often? It is sad we work till we are burned out, exhausted, numb and at the end of our ropes and then we plan a week off filled to the brim. Never again, I liked this slower pace experience and as I reenter the rat race today I am already reflecting on a slower and gentler end of summer. Lying on a tube all day just might be the best of all worlds.