I can still smell the chlorine on my skin as I write this. Two precious days were spent with my family this week. My sister Mili has a little family tradition of going to Great Wolf Lodge every year with Juby. This year I came along with Mili's fam jam and my sister Ali.
It's my first time ever at an indoor water park and I am more excited then half of the kids there. I love adult fun and sometimes feel like I was meant to stay young in the heart forever.
I'll take any opportunity to spend time with Juby and photograph her as she explores the little worlds around her. My sister tells me I am brave for bringing my camera to the water park but in reality I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel connected to photography more then ever before when I am on little adventures like this.
I could follow Juby around all day just snapping photos of the sweet and silly things that she does.
We spend hours going down slides and playing in the wave pool. Ali and I pretend to be mermaids with Juby. I am mermaid Shelly and Ali is mermaid Pearl. Juby tells us she is mermaid Ariel Sophia. We pretend the light in the pool is the shine of the moon and collect star fish and sea shells. Juby's imagination is big and it's a joy to see her react to these pretend scenarios.
I pull my side muscle on an intense water slide and I feel my age.
As I photograph my family and Juby in the midst of beautiful little moments I see others having their own moments. I have the urge to turn my camera on others but don't because I don't want to be disrespectful. I see a mother sitting in the wave pool cradling her baby and I think how beautiful of a photograph it would make. I see children playing marco polo and others dancing in little waterfalls and I wish I could take their images without being disrespectful to their families.
I imagine that at some point in my life when it is my turn to be a mama that my little family will join my sisters and Juby and my babe will play together in the water. Juby will carry the babe around like a little dolly.
She loves babies and as she passes them in the water she smiles affectionately.
After a long first day we are all ready to retire to our hotel room. Juby gets into her pj's and we are off to do some shopping and story time. A little boy spots Juby and he introduces himself as Jack. He is a social butterfly and you can see that he wants to play. Juby and Jack run down the hallways in excitement and it's one of the sweetest things I think I have ever seen.
I see rows of candy at one of the shops and can't help myself. Juby spots me by the candy and runs over to help. I have a cup to fill up and I let her pick which candies we should have.
She is more then ready to put her little fingers into the glorious sugar treats but I tell her we can't eat them until I have paid for it.
She chooses little gummy worms and sour bears. I choose sour keys and she immediately wants one. We sit together at story time and nibble on treats.
The next day Juby wakes at 6:30 am. None of the adults are ready to get up just yet so we keep sleeping while she chit chats and plays quietly in bed next to her mama and dada.
At the water park we are all a bit wiped out from all the fun the day before but we carry on with swimming.
I continue to shoot as many little moments as I can and ask my sister to pose for some photos.
I needed to get away for a few days and this was my little paradise. The warm air, the water the time spent with family and the memories made. Winter can really get me down and having this little escape was just what I needed.
Images are by myself, my sisters Ali & Mili and My sisters husband Pete.