what i learned on a photo shoot with katie



that i’m too tired for punctuation

or capitalization

that when ralph lauren calls, i will drop everything to take katie to a three day photo shoot in new york

that central park is even more beautiful than i remembered

that i don’t miss living in new york

that when i am so overwhelmed that i feel like i can’t write, i need to remember to stop looking for a beginning and start in the middle

that when i start in the middle, it becomes the beginning

that i over think EVERYTHING

that i hate tie-dying (ok, technically i learned this last week, but it still holds true)

that i am not the only one who believes that my children are beautiful

that i can miss brooke so much after two of three days away that my heart will literally ache for her

that it is ok to be away from her for three days

that when i talk to her on the phone i may not realize there are tears streaming down my face until the mom sitting next to me says, ‘it’s ok. you’ll see her soon.’

that two rehearsed lines on the phone will sustain me

that ‘our children’ are everywhere

that some parents choose to work hard to hide them in plain sight

that i can’t and won’t judge them for making those choices

that moms with kids on the spectrum are not necessarily who or where i think they are

that they will find me

that if two moms with kids on the spectrum talk about their kids long enough, one or both of them will eventually cry

that it’s usually me

but not always

that i’m getting stronger

that when katie says, ‘mama, remember how i said you wouldn’t want to take away brooke’s autism? it’s true, you know. cause sometimes it’s kind of hard to tell what parts of her are caused by her autism and which parts are just adorable little brooke cutenesses. you know what i mean?’

that i will know exactly what she means

that when she says it, i won’t cry


yes, i’m getting stronger

that when i hold a friend’s baby i will, for the first time in my life, be able to give him back without longing

that katie really, really loves to be in front of the camera

and in the clothes

and with the stylists

and the seamstresses

and the kids

that she can remain unfazed by being referred to as ‘the talent’

that she (almost) never forgets to say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

that my heart swells with pride when i watch her

that her greatest beauty is not caught on camera

that watching her love playing big sister to her ‘best modeling friend’ – a typical nearly six year old – is incredibly bitter sweet

that when an eight year-old says she’s finished her homework – check

that a car with a good navigation system is worth its weight in gold when you have to be in four very different places in three days

that that car is luau’s, not mine

that when a creative director uses the word ‘preptastic’ it will sound really cool

that when i challenge myself to use the word in a sentence i will fail (ooh, until right now!) ok, that doesn’t really count, does it?

that not everyone parents the way we do

that some parents don’t seem to parent at all

that bringing a book on a three day trip with katie is essentially pointless

that she will read but i will not

that when she says she misses her sister so much, mama, i will have a lump in my throat

that when she asks me what she’s wearing next and i say, ‘katie, do i look like one of the stylists?’ and she sizes me up and then says, ‘actually, mama, you kinda do,’ i will be thrilled

that when you treat people with respect, they don’t forget

that the recession has hit everywhere

even in southampton

that making the ferry from orient point to new london by three minutes is cause for celebration all the way across the long island sound

that seeing brooke after three days away is so sweet i could eat her

that her letting me hug her for five minutes is the greatest gift she could give me

that she missed her sister too

until she coughs

that when she does, brooke will say, ‘you could go away again now’

that i will be glad that katie didn’t hear her

that i loved being away

that i’m far happier to be home

that we’re doing all right

16 thoughts on “what i learned on a photo shoot with katie

  1. awww. love you, babe!

    and you forgot to add, ‘then she acted like a complete overly emotional psycho all weekend and i wanted to say, ‘you could go away again now” .. lol

  2. LOVED this! But that’s not really anything new. Hey, send me the email address you are using these days, ok? xoxoxo

  3. “that when i talk to her on the phone i may not realize there are tears streaming down my face until the mom sitting next to me says, ‘it’s ok. you’ll see her soon.’”

    Ugh, you got me with that one. I started crying, too!
    And, no, you are not the only one who thinks your children are beautiful…AND we know tha camera doesn’t begin to capture the true beauty of either of them. xo

  4. ‘that watching her love playing big sister to her ‘best modeling friend’ – a typical nearly six year old – is incredibly bitter sweet’. i so get this.

    that you and your precious family are blessed. that you know how to cherish those blessings and each other.

  5. i am so grateful for your honesty and your willingness to share your feelings in such an extraordinary way. what you do with words can be compared to what doctors do with medicines. know that you’ve hugged a stranger and added some oxygen to the invisible, suffocating isolation that, we know, only some can relate to. thank you jess.

  6. All you feel for Katie and Brooke I feel for you, and then some. You have, and still cause tears to run down my face all for the love of you.

  7. Timmy’s Mom ~

    I cannot possibly tell you how much your words meant to me.

    They are beautiful and I cherish the sentiment.

    None of us is alone. Even in the space that feels like no one else could ever inhabit. We’re not alone.

    Thank you so much for reaching out.

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