My Journey ~ Melissa (founder of TTLF)

If someone would have come to me and said " you would have a special needs Child"  I would have never believed them.  Never in a million years.

Now when I look back I can't picture my life with out Nevaeh.  She is this amazing human being who has this glow and love about her, not because she has downs.  She is like that because that is who she is.  I have had people recommend books, pamphlets, websites and I want nothing but the best for her, but not at the expense of us (as a family) I don't want to know her limitations, or the things she may never do or will do late. I don't want to put so much focus on her disability, but more on her abilities.  Enjoying her being a baby not a baby with DS.  I think some people struggled with that.  I think they thought I was in denial.  And maybe I was a little, but I never forgot the fact that yes she is special, but she is also a baby, a child.  And I have so many years of worry ahead of me, that I am just going to enjoy her for who she is and what she can do.  I am going to give her as much love as I can.  I want to teach her to be strong, to be happy, proud.  To be herself.  I want that for both my girls.  Special needs or not.

Photography is my way of artistically expressing what I see.  I love being able to take a moment in time and looking back on it, remembering.  I often see things, or people.  I think "I want to capture that I want to see this again, just like that."  I want to see the long lashes of my girls from me looking down on them. I want to see everything just as it is.

Before I began blogging I used to think and pictures were worth a thousand words, but I think being able to put words with photos help people understand more what you see.  Gives them a peek into my world and what makes it crazy, happy, special.

Putting my love of children, photos and words all together makes what The Tiny Light Foundation does so amazing.  We let other people see and read what amazing children we have.  It brings a sense of empathy and understanding. It builds a community.

One thing I love that The Tiny Light foundation does is when a child who in every sense looks typical but struggles with everyday things we take for granted. Often that child will be looked at and judged.  People will frown and say "what a bad kid" or "bad parenting".  Some of these stories shine a little light on these kids and their parents who have had labels put on them.  It helps us understand. It helps us empathize.

I am thankful for every child I have had the honour to see and get to know through their photos and stories.  The strength and the will to live and fight is truly the most inspiring thing I have witnessed.  These children and their families are amazing.  Being one of these parents I still read these stories and look at my life and can not help but to be thankful for what I have.  Thankful to brush my girls hair, kiss each little finger, and love them EVERYDAY!

Lately, I can't help but to feel so sad for the Tiny Lights we have lost.  The families who are missing their babies.  And there is nothing I can say or do to make things better. All I can do is work hard everyday to be sure every Tiny Light Application that comes in is handled with care, love, and done so diligently.  I know that sometimes it is hard to take the first step to apply.   You might think you have time, and you might, you probably do.  But never wait to create memories!  Never put it on hold because you child is missing a tooth, or you have a bad hair cut, or because he or she is hooked up to a machine/s,  just do it and do it now. And if your reading this and you do not qualify for a session with us The Tiny Light Foundation.  Please find a photographer in your area (we have a great list) book a session.  I promise it will be the BEST investment you will ever make.  Not only book a session but hang those memories.  Be proud of them. Enjoy them, love them.


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