If you are a sister and have ever been with your sis on a photoshoot with me I can pretty much guarantee that I have sung to you. You know it. Sing with me now, "Sisters, Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters…" I can't help it. Every time I am peering at sisters through my lens the soundtrack in my head turns to this Irving Berlin song from the 1950s musical White Christmas. On March 19, 1985 I got my very own my sister.
I still remember what she was wearing the first time I saw her. She sat in her carseat in the driveway of my aunt Becky's house in a white onesie with purple flowers on it the day I meet my sister. I was so excited that day she came home from the hospital that I couldn't contain myself and skipped frantically about my mom and dad's room. So much so that I got a spanking. Yep, I remember that too.
Just one month earlier when I turned five on February 22, 1985 I had the most memorable birthday ever, complete with a polka dot dress and a cake in the shape of a gown cloaking my very first Barbie. Five was a big year. That Barbie cake along with the arrival of my baby sister became part of my most treasured first memories. It is funny the things that your memory holds onto. It is like something so blows your mind that your memory sensors (for lack of a more technical term) are on overload. They capture and hold so tight to things impressing them into your memory forever. There were 363 other days to that year but I don't remember a single thing about any of them. Only these two. These two cherished days in my fifth year.
When I arrived in Wauchula to photograph Daveigh's fifth birthday last month I knew that I was going to be capturing something special. I knew that I was not only going to be taking photos of memorable moments at a party but also I was invited into moments where memories were being made. I wanted to see the day from Daveigh's eyes, to stand in wonder, to reminisce. Even from the first moment we meet up that day I knew there was another special treasure to this day. Daveigh was about to experience might I say, one of the coolest 5th birthday parties I've ever seen, but she was also going to take in all those memories with her little sister by her side, holding her hand, pushing her in a swing, laughing together all along the way. As Daveigh's mom and dad finished up a few things in the house I poured into the lawn with the birthday girl and her little sister Harper and into a birthday party setting fit for a queen. They went straight for the swing covered in flowers like a scene from a storybook. Daveigh, the birthday girl, insisted that her little sister swing first. Next it was Daveigh's turn. Then they climbed into the swing together. Giggles abounded.
"...sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters..."
Guests arrived and the day unfolded with hat making, manicures, make overs, a tea party lunch in the shade of the trees on the lawn, cupcakes and presents. As the girls were taking their seats at the tea party table Daveigh was already settled in with a full cup of warm tea in front of her, her sister by her side. She took a breath and peered from side to side. In her own little world she couldn't contain a dimpled cheek smile. I stood in wonder. Reminisced. And I knew it. That was the moment, the memory that was impressing itself into her mind for many, many years to come.