Photographing Facebook (finally!)

DSC_0481Earlier this year I set out to photograph ALL of my Facebook friends. I took a break from working on this for some reason. Today – I’m feeling inspired, and that’s probably because this Facebook friend inspires me. A LOT.

When I first met Jennifer Holdgreve, I didn’t know much about Type 1 diabetes. Today, I’m much more informed. I’m much more aware. And I’m much more sympathetic.

Jennifer’s family lives with Type 1 diabetes every day. Nine-year-old Allison Holdgreve was diagnosed with the disease when she was in kindergarten. And instead of allowing this disease to take over their lives, they educated themselves and have set about educating everyone else with whom they come into contact.

What’s so great about the Holdgreves is that they also live their lives. Allison, Samantha, and Ryan are happy, active children with fulfilling lives. Instead of allowing this diagnosis to ruin their happiness, they’ve embraced it and done whatever they can to help others with the disease. Diabetes isn’t a dirty word. It’s a disease that can allow one to live a life without letting it take you down.allie.throwin

Of course, there are days when Jennifer, her husband Chris, and Allison all want to throw in the towel. Allison has to think about everything she’s eating. She has to ask her parents if it’s ok for her to have a snack. And she has to stop her normal 3rd-grade life to prick her finger multiple times a day. She has to take breaks from the fun the other kids are having to ensure she stays alive. That’s pretty scary shit. And for a 3rd grader to have that responsibility is daunting. But Allison? She does it. And she does it well. And sometimes, she does it with a smile on her face even.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I wore to work a ribbon to commemorate given to me by the Holdgreves. I was stopped multiple times and asked about my ribbon. And it was refreshing to talk to someone about the disease, and why I’m wearing that ribbon. And all the knowledge I had came from my friend Jennifer and her daughter Allison. And I love that. Instead of hiding behind it, they are out there helping others to understand. And that’s amazing.

Jennifer and I are very close friends. I would probably go crazy without her companionship. She keeps me sane. She keeps me laughing. And sometimes she keeps me drunk. Just like a very good friend should do.
The picture I’ve chosen of Jennifer and her husband Chris (NOT on Facebook, but still my friend) is one of my favorites. Their laughter is so real. Their happiness is so real. And that’s so refreshing.

Photographing Facebook – Soccer Moms, Part I (and the first of many Jens)

When Andrew was going into 1st grade, we learned at around the same time that his teacher was going to be Ms. Coursey and his soccer coach was going to be Chris Holdgreve. The only thing we knew about Ms. Coursey was that she had taught my neighbors’ daughter and we didn’t know ANYTHING about Chris Holdgreve. It didn’t really matter – we were looking forward to the start of both.

The day after learning who was coaching and teaching Andrew, we ran into a woman in the Acme parking lot. She had with her her daughter named Caitlyn, and as it turned out, she and Andrew were in the same class AND on the same soccer team. So was my first meeting with Jen Rath.

It wasn’t until the start of the next soccer season that my friendship with Jen Rath truly started to blossom. It was during this season that Jen Rath was Andrew’s head coach (Coach Chris took on the role as assistant). Caitlyn and Andrew were together on the soccer field again, and it was great. It was during that second season that I found out how much I had in common with Jen Rath – well, kinda. 😉

We’re both a little (A LITTLE) on the competitive side. We both have children in the same grade. And I’m awesome. So there’s always that.

After that second soccer season we started a social club – “Mom’s Who Like to Drink and Swear”. We try to meet monthly. We typically succeed. Our husbands are pretty understanding – and probably pretty jealous. Rath is a Jersey girl and she keeps it in check as much as she can. But sometimes she just can’t help to let it out.

I am lucky to have found in that Acme parking lot a mom who is my confidant; my Jersey authority; and my good friend. And I’m lucky that Andrew has landed on a soccer team that allows him to play competitively and learn the game.

Let’s start planning the next outing, Rath!

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