For the last few years I have been taking portraits of Malia around the time of her birthday so you can imagine how excited we both were when we had the opportunity to capture them in New York this year during our christmas trip. I can’t even begin to tell you what a wonderful experience it has been, but I will save more of that for another day.
Each year I arm myself with just two rolls of film and a camera and see what results. On one of our last days in New York, despite the freezing cold, Malia and I decided to explore some of the lesser known parts of Central Park to make the portraits you see above. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect set of images to remember this time in her life, especially with her new haircut that she only had done a few days prior. It makes her looks so grown up!
Over the last year I’ve watched her become ever more curious and deeply empathetic towards others. When I’m feeling upset or unwell she is the first to hold my hand and pray and is a constant reminder and blessing in regards to my own walk through life as a christian. She has become more particular about what she wants to wear, refusing to wear all types of pants (which made a trip to New York in winter interesting).
Malia experienced loss for the first time in her life this year with the loss of my Aunty Julie, who she also called Aunty and loved dearly. This was a path I never wanted her to have to walk so young. She is a mixture of grief and occasionally melodrama, almost as if she is not quite sure how upset she is supposed to be, as she attempts to make sense of everything. I see so much of myself in her sometimes it scares me.
This year we had to have ‘the talk’ due to an incident at school with some other kids passing notes that raised a few interesting questions. I do hope we handled this situation that every parent dreads with grace.
We also had an incredible bonding experience earlier in the year when just her and I travelled to New York during the summer time and I have to say she is one of the best travel buddies. We spent so much of that trip sick in our hotel room, but even that can be fun when you are in a wonderful place with a wonderful person.
I love this girl deeply, with every inch of my being and I’m so grateful, that out of all the possibilities, God chose her to be my daughter. Love you my precious, beautiful girl. Always.
Thank you also to Flower Girl NYC for the incredible job they did creating Malia’s headpiece. It was absolutely perfect and she adored it. Wore it the entire day, including on the subway. And the most amazing thing was that with only general colour and texture descriptions I let Flower Girl NYC create a complete surprise for us and the two main flowers they ended up using were my favourite flower and my mothers favourite flower. Without me providing that information at all. It felt kind of amazing to crown her with something as precious as that.