But in times of greater clarity I'm able to pause, and put aside the noise that cloaks me and listen to their noise. The tears cry loud and the joy abounds with energy. We are living a life now, daily our story is unfolding. Perhaps on the hard days I will be a better mother tomorrow or next week, but I am their mother today. I am the one they need and they are the ones I need. In the moment the words are sometimes more harsh than I wish, the patience short, and the energy to do it all waning. Guilt is the quick follower, whispering its lies and deceit. The irony of ironies is that it is the dark that brings most of my clarity. When the light fades and the casted shadows grow long, I am most often reminded of grace and forgiveness. Perhaps it is the time to ponder and reflect or perhaps it is as a good friend said recently to describe my work, "You use dark to highlight light and soft and gentle things..." Maybe it is that at the end of the day, the intersection of light and dark, that the soft and gentle things are made known and seen. I can leave the day behind knowing that I mothered, I was there, I rose and I fell, I angered and I forgave, and above all we journeyed and learned together. Isn't that what motherhood is about? The journey and the story you are creating for your family? As I think about 2017 and what I hope and desire it to hold, I dream about photographing mothers. From swollen bellies to nurseries filled, to arms filled and arms letting go, you journeyed, you showed up each day and you loved. And at the intersection of light and dark you learned together.