I have had the privilege of photographing dozens of seniors over the last fifteen years and I have truly loved them all. Even the most reticent seniors somehow come around and embrace their moment after we spend time talking about their journey and all that lies ahead for them.

But none of these very special sessions could have prepared my heart for capturing my beloved niece. Our souls were woven together from the start when the stars aligned for us to share a birthday. Now, 17.5 years later, I sit here with tears in my eyes as I look at the images of this trailblazer, this passionate and independent young woman who can't possibly be in her final year of high school. It was just yesterday that I pushed her in a stroller at her first Thanksgiving, watched as her chubby little hands splashed in the pools in Hilton Head and witnessed her earnestness in her ballet class. She has done it all HER way (like the Aries she is!) and I can't be more proud of the woman she is becoming.

She came into this world before I was a parent myself so I wasn't prepared for that overwhelming feeling of holding her for the first time. Her cheeks were so dreamy and her porcelain skin so pure and perfect. As she started to grow and mature, I discovered the melting when someone you love so much reaches for your hand to cross the street or spontaneously throws arms around your neck. And time just kept marching on. Day after day, she started leaning into this fierce little being she was born to be - filled with kindness and warmth and frankness and sass.

And I have the honor of telling a little bit of her senior story here. The one where she can be silly but can also be still. The one where she is game for adventure and ready to shine her light, but will never try to outstage you (even though she could!). The one where she is so stunningly beautiful - yes - but she is so much more than what you see on the outside. She is driven and disciplined yet she can sometimes procrastinate like a champ. The one where she is a loyal friend and a born leader with a determination that will help her soar...just like my heart as I bear witness to the incredible person she is.

To my C, you are loved beyond measure. Beyond any words I can bring forth. You are perfect just as God made you. Know I am always here for you. I love you and wish you the adventure of a lifetime ahead...

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