“The Way I View”, A Clickin Moms 12-Month Challenge: April ~ Friendship

I’m participating in a fun 12-month challenge at Clickin Moms called “The Way I View”. Each month a group of 12 CM photographers interpret that month’s theme through photographs, then link to each other’s blogs.

April’s theme is The Way I View: Friendship. This is going to be quite a different take on the theme than my fellow CMers, I’m sure. I took this photo of my daughter, Anna, a couple of weeks ago for my workshop, Shooting 301: Composition and Creativity taught by Sarah Wilkerson. Anna is standing at our front door, looking out the window, while holding her special baby doll, Jessie. She’s standing there watching the neighborhood kids play up the street.

Because of Anna’s PDD-NOS, her social skills and play skills are very delayed. Friends are something she desperately wants but has never really had. All she wants is someone to play baby dolls with her, but only little girls are interested in that kind of play, not girls her age. Sleepover slumber parties are something she will never experience, yet all the girls in our neighborhood her age are already veterans of the sleepover party. They are doing their nails, writing notes, putting on plays, making videos for YouTube, and creating elaborate make-believe fantasy play. It used to be that the neighborhood girls would come to play for a little while, and they would be patient and kind. But those times are long past now. They avoid her. If anyone comes over, they end up playing with Dominic because Anna doesn’t know what to do unless I stay with her the entire time prompting her on what to say.

So my interpretation of friendship is this… a girl, separated from the world by a symbolic pane of glass called autism, wanting a friend, watching friendships at work, alone.

Austin child photographer portrait lifestyle black and white autism

I know this is sad, but Anna generally is a very happy girl. She loves her family and her babies, and we love her. My mom (known lovingly as Nana) and I play baby dolls with her quite often. It’s just that I want a friend for her so much! Even just playing outside, she needs to be supervised every minute. I see a gaggle of tween girls giggling at the mall and my heart breaks. It’s a hard journey sometimes and this photo very poignantly captures that for me. <3

Thanks for looking! Now go check out Rachel’s blog!

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  • Linda - This brought tears to my ears. It is a stunning image by itself, and a forceful one with the back story. It made me think (which I always appreciate) even though we all have different trials to deal with we are also bonded by common experiences. As a parent our heart breaks when we cannot give our children everything they want and desire, when we would give anything to help them but there is nothing we can do. Still tearful over here …ReplyCancel

  • angela king - oh holly. big big hugs to you and your sweet babe. i know that she is a very happy girl but i can feel her pain too. this picture, while sad is beautiful. just beautiful. we don’t all have the same friendships in life. you caught her friendship with that baby all like only a loving mother could. i so wish we lived closer.

    your’s and ana’s journey inspires me. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Cary - Holly this is heartbreaking, as a mother I know we do anything and everything to make our children’s life perfect and it is a desperate feeling when things we want for them are out of reach. Even though we can’t do it all Anna is so very lucky to be your child, she has not only a momma but a friend. Thankyou for sharing your powerful image and story.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Okay so I notice that I said this brought tears to my ears – yeah, hello! I was too busy wiping tears to edit myself.ReplyCancel

  • DawneC - Holly… I so wish we lived close by. I have a super patient 12 year old who I know would love to sit quietly and be her friend. This is just heart breaking for any Mom. Such beautiful but sad image.ReplyCancel

  • C - Oh Holly 🙁 This really brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even begin to imagine, poor Anna. I do know one thing though, she might not have the friends she so desperately wants, but she is beyond lucky to have you for her Mummy xxxReplyCancel

  • Claire Lane - I don’t know why I’m just “C” but it’s me Holly! Love this, and so moving xxReplyCancel

  • Celeste - Aw, Holly, this photo is beautiful and sad at the same time. You have captured so much emotion in this one moment. I can’t imagine the heartbreak you feel much of the time my friend because all you want is for her to be happy. She looks like a beautiful young girl and I hope to meet you both someday soon!ReplyCancel

  • Beanie - The window pane can be so much more than just autism. Children are excluded by their peers for many reasons. The picture is awesome. In an earlier time in my life that could have been me; but the window pane would have a whole different name – but the feeling of exclusion and loneliness is the same. You caught it all in that picture.

    Anna is however a very very happy child – as you said but others might not understand. To be with her is delightful and someday she will have a friend. Of that I am certain.

    I thought of her just this morning when our local news covered a senior prom put on by a family and consumer science class at a local school for life skill kids. All dressed up, dancing with friends, having a good time. A nice controlled and safe environment. I am confident that Anna will someday be able to interact at a level that will allow her to participate in things like this.

    She has come so far, is so brave, and works so hard every day at coping. I don’t put anything past her. What she does so well is love others.. her family and her dolls.

    Love you all.ReplyCancel

  • Shooting 301: Composition and Creativity » Holly Anissa - […] The next day I focused on using Anna for a few images. I shared this one for The Way I View: Friendship for the April […]ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Heffernan - What a poignant post. I wish all your worries as a Momma could be lifted, even if for just a short while. Your words have evoked so many thoughts in me, I wish I could be coherent enough to express them. She is so blessed to have you as her mother.ReplyCancel

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