August 13, 2010

~ Normal Day ~

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so"

On the left is my childhood best friend Melissa, and on the right is her cousin Jenny, Jenny hasn't had many normal days in the past few months.
Jenny has a 4 year old daughter named Katie. Katie has cancer.
Well, if you want to be technical Katie has "Stage 4 Nueroblastoma" - Google it at your own risk... it ain't pretty.
For the most part, my job is to document the BEST part of peoples lives, I am there when people vow to love each other forever, hold hands in delivery rooms, and blow out first birthday candles. But once in a while I'm asked to document something that bores holes into my soul. Like the still born baby that was born last May, or the father of the groom last year so riddled with cancer he passed away the day after his sons wedding.
There are moments in life I've captured with my little black box that will last with me forever. I thought all those moments had "toughened me up" you know how a doctor or surgeon can step out of the "personal experience" and just do his job.

But I was wrong.

When Katie arrived at her BBQ benefit last weekend, she took my breath away. It literally felt like someone knocked the wind out of me.
Maybe it was because she reminded me so much of my daughter Luci with her sparkly shoes, or maybe because I'd never been up close and personal with a child with cancer. We've all seen them on tv, or passed them in a store and have that moment where your heart beats in your throat and your chest aches for the parents. But then you go home to your healthy children, give them an extra hug and kiss and carry on with your day. Your normal day.

It will take you all of about 30 seconds to fall in love with her. When her mouth smiles her eyes smile too. What a perfect little beautiful face.

Hopefully this wont be the last time you see Katie on my blog. I've talked to her mom and I plan on documenting some more of her journey. She is in her 3rd round of Chemotherapy now and has another one in a few weeks. I hope to be there with her, her story is worth telling, and I am honored to do so.

So if you find yourself at the end of a "Normal Day" you know, the ones where your boss is crabby, the traffic stinks, the kids fight all day, and you don't know what to make for dinner, LOVE those days, those days rock.

Katie, and her mom Jenny, would give anything for a "Normal Day"

If you would like to see more photos and the slideshow from her BBQ CLICK HERE

I know there is a fund set up for Katie and her (single) mom. I will get the information on here soon.


Kristal said...

:'( I don't even know what to say. But this post made me cry. I'll keep her in my prayers and I hope to see LOTS of her on this blog. And thanks for the reminder to appreciate my normal day.

Lisa Scherer said...

I will pray a lot for Katie and her amazing mother. Thank you for sharing her story..she is a beauty. And you are so right..her eyes do smile.

LeLe Photography said...

This post brought me to tears. I will be keeping Katie and her mother in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything else I can help you with...please, please, please let me know. See you on Wednesday.

Alicea Hermeyer said...

This blog touched my soul. I will pray for Katie and her Mother. Thank you for sharing.

Rebecka Baecker said...

Dear Kelly,

I'm not sure if you remember us or not, but you shot our wedding 7.29.06. I love checking back with you and watching as your style, professionalism, and creativity mature as the time goes by.

Thank you for posting these pictures, what an amazing little girl. My sister, at age 4 and wearing sparkly ruby red slippers, also had childhood cancer. I can't look back at pictures of Emily without tears in my eyes, as well as pride and remembrance of strength. Ten years later, my hero is still my little sister, who will be 14 this December. I know Katie's family will forever cherish the memories you are helping to preserve and she and her family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
- Rebecka Shaw Baecker