As a newborn photograph I get to meet babies of all different sizes and colors. Lincoln is the smallest baby I have EVER photographed. Here he is a a fragile 4 lbs 4 ozs. I felt like I was holding in my hands the most delicate of babies. I have this burl bowl in my studio and I hardly ever get to use it. It really is made for super little babies. It was a perfect fit for this little guy. He posed himself here. I laughed to myself thinking that if he ever gets involved with Hollywood his director is in for quite a ride. As I was standing over him taking his photograph I couldn’t help but think about how he looked like he was afloat on a raft. Since his session I have thought a lot about the symbolism there.
A few months ago my family watched a National Geographic documentary on Loggerhead turtles. I was a little surprised to learn about how difficult a baby turtles first few hours are. Not only do they have to dig out from being buried alive, they then have to waddle through sand and obstacles to get to the water. Some of those “obstacles” are other animals very keen on having them for dinner. I always thought that once they made it to the water they were home free. That was until my recent vacation to one of the beaches where mother turtles come every year to make their nests. The tide was fatal dangerous. We couldn’t even wade in the water. I pictured teeny tiny newborn turtles trying to survive that battering, churning surf. Then they must swim for miles until they find a kelp raft. There they stay in the protection of their raft for a long ride through the ocean. Learning, growing and getting strong. I think that this story is such a perfect analogy for little Lincoln here.
Lincoln was born having to fight. His fight started in the womb. I think it is his AMAZING strength that pulled him through. That and the love and prayers of his family. He continued to fight while he stayed for an extended visit in the hospital. As a baby there are so many things that are working against you. His very own body was working against him as he fought to learn how to regulate his temperature, to swallow and breath. His life raft is his mother’s arms. From the moment he was born he was placed there because it is the safest place. Don’t you want to just cry for babies that are tossed into the waves of life without that raft. His mother’s job, like the turtles kelp raft, is to keep him safe, teach him and to give him the opportunity to grow big and strong. Like the turtles eventually children leave their rafts. They start with short adventures away with their beloved rafts always near by. And then one day they swim away. I am just so inspired by how crucial a raft is to the life of a little Loggerhead.
It makes me remember my purpose. I am a raft. Mother’s are a safe haven. We are there to embrace, protect and teach. Without a mother what chance does a baby have? I am thankful for Lincoln. He has made me re-evaluate my priorities a bit and to think a little bit more deeply about my role in the world. The most important thing that any of us can ever do in life is to be someone’s life raft! Our babies would be all alone, left to navigate the cold, hard world if we were not there to “preserve” them. Go be the best “life raft” you can be! And if you feel like your raft isn’t what you want it to be, reinvent yourself. I believe in you and I believe in me!