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Today I photographed a family at their mother's day gathering. It was the first mother's day the mom had spent with her son after she adopted him. She took him in after his mother (her sister) died, but this year they were finally able to adopt him legally. It was so nice to see them together because you could tell, she felt great about the fact that she could call him her son and know it was legally true. They had lunch, hung out, the kids went swimming and the adults chatted in the shade. It was a nice, happy, typical family gathering.

Mother's Day is always a bit of a hard day for me because I don't have a mother. Not in the way most people do. Someone to love and care for you. Someone who took care of you when you were hurt or encouraged you when you were scared. Someone who made you feel safe. I've never experienced that. Though sometimes this day is a sharp reminder of what I don't have, it is often a reminder of what I do have. My dad.

My dad is the greatest person I know. He is unfailingly kind, generous and caring. He works so incredibly hard to give his three daughters everything we need. I remember the first Christmas we spent without my mother, he went out and bought makeup for us and put it in our stockings. Never mind that we were all different, and he had no idea of the colors or products or anything we'd want, he still tried. It was such a sweet gesture, something a dad does because he's trying to be everything for his kids so they won't go wanting of anything, even a mom.

So while photographing this family today, I thought not of what I don't have, but what I do. That those of us without our mothers, for whatever reason, can be lucky enough to still have people in our lives to love us. Other people's moms have often felt sorry for me or hugged me and told me (jokingly) that they'd adopt me, but really, there's no reason too. My dad is the best, and only, parent I'll ever need.

So here's a Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, but also all the fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and adoptive families taking care of all the kids out there who need you. You may sometimes wonder if you are enough. The truth is, you are so much more.

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