on being a mom

Raine peachy_web photo by Katariina Fagering

After a long winter break my daughter, Raine, returned to her school on Monday. She attends boarding school in St. Louis and since her departure, I have been weepy without her near. She graduates in the spring and our time together will only dwindle as she steps into the fullness of her life as an adult.

raine Wu photo by Katariina Fagering

The gravity of this monumental right of passage is hitting me with full force. I know I will always be her mother but my role in many ways will change drastically after she graduates. I will have finished my purpose as the mother of Raine as a child and move into being the mother of an adult. Although there are tangible changes when a child graduates, the real shift for me is on the subtle level.raine in snow by Katariina Fagering

Raine was my only child for 13 years when her little brother Finnegan arrived the day before her 13th birthday. We have been through so much together over these 17 years and we share a special bond. I feel a strong connection to her that extends beyond this lifetime.

raine as baby by Katariina Fagering

When she was a baby, it was clear to me, that my job as her parent, was too build her confidence, develop her independence, and most importantly to guide her to listen to her own internal compass. I had a vision of her leaving home as an empowered young woman who knew who she was and what she wanted to achieve in life. If that thing she initially chose changed a dozen times in her life, it wouldn’t matter to me; having a sense of direction of what to do next was important.

Raine and mom by Katariina Fagering

You can probably guess that this desire for her was created out of my own experience which looked very different. I had no direction and no real options, so when the Marine Corps recruiter called I didn’t hesitate to say yes! I know my parents did the best they knew how and I have no regrets about the choices I had, nor the decisions I made.

Raine however, is having a very different experience. She knows what college she is attending next year and her passion is musical theater, so she plans to study theater, dance and voice for four years and then head to New York City to test her talents.

Raine and Momma

As we move into the last months of her childhood, I am reflecting on our time together – both the low points and the high points. I made a lot of mistakes along the way but as is true for every mom, I did the best I knew how, or I would have done better. Life has dealt Raine some challenges to overcome but I know these challenges also have made her into the woman she has become.

rain Wu photo by Katariina Fagering

She is one of the funniest people I know; she is tenacious, kind and ever so talented. She sings, dances, plays the ukulele, ice skates, snow boards, rides horseback, kayaks, and brings joy to many. I couldn’t be prouder of all she has accomplished thus far and am so excited to witness her from my new position as the mother of the adult Raine.

raine as pocahontis by Katariina Fagering

raine in buns by Katariina FAgering

Raine in red by Katariina FAgering

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double exposures . . .

 

There is something about a double or triple exposure and blurred images that just makes me so happy.  Perhaps it is because it depicts time as overlapping, or that we can be in two places at once. The idea of parallel lives and time being soft intrigues me to no end. Sometimes it hints at the notion of us having many sides to ourselves alive and colliding all at the same time. Like when the little girl inside who just wants to stay home and play collides with the mother who has to be responsible and make some money to pay the rent.  Blurred images like the one above remind me of impressionistic paintings. There is a certain mystery to this style of photography.

I shot these images with one of my favorite cameras is the Diana. Just this summer I started to play around with her again and I’m in love what is being created. To me it is some kind of magic. This new Diana was modeled after the 1960s version and it creates dreamy, ethereal images.

A teacher of mine recently commented that my photography, even my war images have a certain romantic quality about them. This makes sense to me since I’m highly influenced by Anne Brigman (click on this link and scroll down to see some of her images) who was a photographer around 1910s and shot very soft, dreamy romantic images.

Diana is peculiar because she is plastic, blue and quirky; oh and temperamental. She takes 120 film and shoots it in a square format. She has light leaks, vignettes, blurs, etc. She is similar to the Holga another plastic camera, but something a little different, I’m not sure I can even describe. It is amazing that each image on the roll of 16 images is in its own way so unique and interesting to me.

To learn more about Diana, Holga or Lomos go to Lomography.com.

Thanks for indulging me with your time to view my work. My beautiful daughter, Raine lent me her modeling skills and my dear friend Magdalena lent me her home, backyard and beautiful dress.

Big Luscious Love,

Katariina

 

a prayer for Raine . . .

My beautiful daughter Raine is now at boarding school 800 miles away. It’s a bittersweet experience for me; I know she is going to have the time of her life and make life-long friendships, but I miss her presence in our home. She is so funny with a mature sense of humor that always makes me laugh; and she is the one that understands me more than anyone on the planet.

Recently I read of a time when girls living hundreds of years ago went through an initiation into womanhood at about the age of 12 to learn the sacred ways of healing, living and guiding others.  This led me to dream up what feminine wisdom I could pass onto Raine before she left our home.

I imagined a secret school for girls like an etiquette class but oh-so-different. It would be a school to initiate girls into learning how to show up in the world in their power, using their most powerful skills, assets, knowledge in the best ways possible.

These are some of the things I would invite them to practice:

  • Alignment with the highest part of ourselves
  • Breathing deeply
  • Drinking water often
  • Learning to listen
  • Learning how to calm and address those emotions within through caring for the child within
  • Learning responsibility
  • Learning to take focus off of self
  • Awakening to and honoring the memory of our ancestors – women folk.
  • Learning to be direct and transparent while staying in their own power center.
  • Experiencing the power of field of energy that exists between us and learn how to increase it.

Well she left too soon for that to happen, but I also know there is still plenty of time to initiate her into all of this; a lot on this list she already knows because I have shared it with her and we practice a lot. With this in mind, I wanted to send her to school with a reminder of her powerful connected self. So I made this poster to go on her wall in her dorm next to her bed. I hope she reads it often and doesn’t forget. I’m already thinking of the next poster to create and send to her – perhaps a photo of herself with a phrase over it. I will be sure to share as I create them.

Allow Freedom!

Allow Freedom

And the day came when I needed them.

When the battle was too big for me,

And the lawyer by my side.

I summoned them from the far reaches of time;

Legions of Mothers, Grandmothers, and all the Greats!

We shared this thing in common.

We knew the struggle to keep a child safe.

I called them forth for my little girl;

The baby I birthed,

The Little girl within me,

And every little girl throughout all time,

Who ever needed to be loved, protected and heard;

Every girl who ever needed the freedom to choose.

I gathered them into that courtroom,

To stand with me,

Arms linked,

Hearts connected,

Known, felt, embraced.

They came gracefully, elegantly,

Holding me with calm certainty.

I scrawled our intention in large letters and underlined, “Allow Freedom!

We didn’t come to destroy, conquer or ravage.

We came to defend and allow with love,

With Sofia Wisdom, empathy and grace.

We washed everything over with fierce

“Mama Bear” love of protection.

For one purpose, with one intention, “Allow Freedom.”

In our united front,

Madame Justice held up her scales,

The child was heard,

Her desire granted.

The judge proclaimed,

“I have never done this before,

I’m not sure why I am doing this now,

But I am going to allow the child to decide

Who she will live with and if and when

She wants to visit her father.”

{Silence}

Tears washed over the Legions.

They rejoiced in gratitude.

She was their child and this was

A victory for grace,

A victory for all they stood for.

A victory for all they ever desired;

For every girl to be heard,

Trusted and allowed the freedom to choose!

Freedom was granted on this day

For my little girl and therefore

For all little girls.

I wrote poem very quickly after sitting with such radiantly beautiful, soul-full women at the Sophia Conference in November of last year. The conference is hard to put into words but it touched, moved, shifted & changed me in so many subtle & not-so-subtle ways.

The court hearing was one of those magical, divine moments that today still seems difficult to believe. My daughter had been tormented and abused by her father for years and when I took her for the summer and stood up to him, he took me to court and this is what the court had to say about that.

Articulating this even in poetry is just one of the gifts that emerged from the Sophia experience.

If you are interested in attending next year’s conference in San Diego please get in touch with Laura Plumb at Deep Yoga!

The Art Car Parade

The Monster We Rode In

At my first Art Car Parade in 2010, I remember thinking how cool it would be to have my own art car and I began the planning of my Gypsy Love Caravan Art Car. Of course, as the year went along I got caught up in my thousand other projects and never got around to buying an old car, learning how to weld, finding a garage to work out of, buying some tools, drawing up designs, and so on.

So Cool!

So this year we were going as spectators again but just by chance from a connection of a connection and good timing we were persistantly asked to ride in the back of one of the art cars. We were a little reluctant at first but we had so much fun, smiling and waving to the crowds. The way I see it we are only a year or two away from actually having our own car in the parade. How fun, serendipitious and well fun!

The best part was watching everyone’s expressions and reactions to the cars was priceless, my hubby agrees. Lately I’ve been in awe of all different ways people physically look and also how they express their inner selves in dress and hair and what nots. :o)

Enjoy the photos!  Katariina

Raine with Monster