In the beginning, this project was more for me personally. I was interested in getting to know these beautiful people I admire from a different perspective…not just the picture I capture. And then, it evolved in to something even more than I could have hoped and I would be selfish not to share it with all of you.
For each individual I spotlight, I’ve asked them to answer what sounds like an easy question…”what was your best day?” However what I’m realizing is that it has meant each of them having to dig a bit deeper than any of the easy answers. I have been and continue to be inspired by this journey and I’m hoping each of you will feel the same.
I want to introduce you to Brooke White. When I first met Brooke, just over 3 years ago, I was instantly drawn to her beautiful smile, her loving and kind personality and the way she makes you feel like you’re her best friend, even after 5 minutes. She stands up for what she believes in. She has a heart of gold and she loves life. And she even welcomed me to her home with homemade cupcakes.
“It may seem like I’m stating the obvious when I say that the day my londy loo was born was the best day of my life. Duh right? But, I made a list of other best days: that day my grandpa Gary gave me a brand new typewriter, when my parents brought home a newborn baby brother from the hospital the day before Christmas Eve when I was 11, wandering the cobblestone streets of London in 2010 and bought my first and last bottle of fine parfum, the most magical Fourth of July watching fireworks from a boat, or the time my biggest idol, the Carole King wandered into the Apple Store where my band was playing and stayed to listen till the second to last song, or coming up through the stage on a grand piano in the Wachovia arena in Philadelphia to a sold out crowd in the exact arena where a less than confident me had waited over 21 hours in the nosebleeds to sing for a chance at that golden ticket to be on idol, exactly one year earlier…
And the list would have to include the day I married Dave Ray in the temple and particularly the reception we had in the big backyard of my small childhood home where we danced with everyone we loved. All great big blessed days. Epic even.
But, if I had to choose just one, hands down, it be the day I held London June Ray for the first time. I wrote a song about it… “I’ve been so many places, got to live out all my dreams… But nothing on this earth compares to your birth and the first time I saw your face”. Nothing. We’d been married for 8 complicated confusing non-stop years and NEVER dreamed we had to wait that long for that day. She was our sweetest surprise. She was an intervention, she was a healer and the greatest love we’d ever known and felt. I remember my body shaking in the bed hours before her delivery. I’d had an epidural and didn’t expect to feel a thing. But my body felt like a living earthquake, shifting and shaking to make space for her to make her way into the world. It hurt. I cried. I was scared. The nine months leading up to that moment were somewhat of an emotional earthquake, preparing me to make space, shifting and shaking, pieces of my life that we’re drifting and sinking. It hurt, I cried, I was scared. I KNEW I’d love her more than anything but I knew everything was changing. Change is a good very hard thing. When it was time to push, it took about 20 minutes. My mom, sister and Dave at my side, my dad just outside the curtain cheering me on. The doctor asked me to tell her the story of how Dave and I met in between the pushes. Seemed like a good time. Haha. Mid story I felt the urge to give a hard painful push. The doctor said “she has lots of hair!”. That’s when I lost it, I cried. Hair! I gave one last push and there she was, goopy and gross and 8 pounds 12 ounces of perfect. They instantly laid her on my chest and I have never felt so high. I could have licked her clean like a mama lion. I held her close. I held her up “I’m your mom, I’m your mom, I’m your mom! “I told her over and over. I laughed and couldn’t believe my eyes. She was mine. I remember thinking “I don’t care about my job”. All that other stuff that I worried about. The sacrifices. Those other pieces of me that if spent so long putting together. Whatever. I had the whole world in my hands. Literally. She was this tiny but enormous new land, a promised land. All I ever wanted but felt like I would never reach. But so worth the longest journey. The days that would follow were some of the hardest physically. Nursing was a long-suffering painful act of patience, sleep was a distant memory, and life threw me an unexpected curveball. I existed in a dense fog. But she was my light, it was that love, that day that carried me through it all. It was my Loo. She is my best day.”