Michelle is a dear friend of our family. She stayed with us in our home while she finished her PhD awhile back, and she has become like a daughter to us. Her pregnancy has been as exciting for us as it has her own family, so I shot these images during a recent visit at our home. Marco, Michelle’s Mini-Schnauzer, is one of the great dog posers I’ve ever encountered. Did you catch the cameo appearance of our little Yorkie, Austin?
Many of you know that I am the proud father of what we like to call a Special Needs son. Not crazy about the label, or any label for that matter, but from time to time I get the honor and privilege of photographing special needs kids. Why is this a privilege? Because once you get past either the physical difference or the behavioral expression of a special needs child, what is right there is love. Maybe this isn’t much different than any other child, but there’s something about a project like this that hits me right in the heart. Here is a series of portraits I shot for The One Roof Initiative, a new special needs advocacy group that has made it its mission to find new ways to help the parents of special kids that will provide what’s next in a child’s life once school and other resources have run out. Sally DePalma, a dear friend who has already impacted my family’s life in huge ways, is the Founder and Executive Director of this exciting new non-profit organization, and I can’t wait to see where she takes us all!
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I picked up my disabled parking permit today from the Tax Collectors Office. Took me almost a month to do this, but I did it. For those just getting on board, I’m recovering from Achilles tendon repair surgery and am in a boot and wheeling around on a knee scooter, unable to put weight on said injured foot. Anyway, I’ve always had a ‘thing’ about these parking permits, and those who use them without having any affliction or challenge, and how often I see someone of complete ability come springing out of their car parked in a handicap space and go dashing into a Publix. But I, for better or worse, am legit. I need this thing, and today I used it for the first time.
I was hanging it on my rear view mirror, when the word hit me hard, it hit me good, and it sunk in. Temporary. Temporary Permit. Now, I’ve been doing a pretty darn good job of staying upbeat and seeing the best of the situation and all that, but fact is, this has been life-altering, and it has challenged me like nothing I can remember. I’m learning things about myself I never knew, good and bad. I’ll tell you I have more compassion than ever for those with Permanent Disabilities. And as much as I honor and respect injured veterans, this speed bump in my life has given me but a taste of what these folks have to contend with permanently. Permanently – this is a much different word.
In my normal everyday moments, I’m having to employ my ‘solution-finding’ skill set every step, or hobble, of the way. Before I received the incredible life-saving scooter, I couldn’t put the mustard back in the fridge on crutches, for example, or offer any other assistance to my family in daily household undertakings. Working out EVERYTHING when you’ve never before had to consider how to, let’s say, get off the stool and get a glass of water, is a very humbling, yet presence-inducing process.
I’m making my way, and finding my solutions every moment of the day, graciously (I hope!) accepting the assistance of those around me. I even believe I’m done once and for all talking myself into thinking that I can pull off some stupid stunt on my scooter that ought even be considered (i.e. “Sure, I can go outside on the lawn at night around the corner and turn off the hot-tub on my scooter, yeah, no problem…”). And for all the things I’m grateful for out of this game-changing experience, I am most grateful for the fact that it is indeed, temporary.
It’s temporary. This is temporary. And, digging a little deeper, oh yeah, everything is temporary. Not a bad thing to re-presence from time to time, no?
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