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my madeline // teenage photographer extraordinaire

Today is my Madeline’s 15th Birthday… actually putting those words in a sentence throws me into a tizzy. Say it ain’t so!

I generally do a photo shoot of her for her birthday, but this year Madeline has started to come into her own as a photographer, so I thought it was more appropriate to publicly highlight her talent. She is talented beyond where I ever was… she has an eye for the abstract that completely defies how the world shows itself to me, and I constantly find myself in awe of her creativity. Beyond that, she can meter a shot like a boss, and her photos are always so wacky & fun while maintaining a strong composition.

Needless to say, I am one proud mama.

Obviously, I took the very first photo of her… but the rest are all hers. Even the wedding party shot, from when she worked as my assistant, loading film, shooting details, and taking random BTS photos of me. To say that was the proudest day of my entire career would be an understatement… forget awards & accolades! Having my sweet child shooting alongside me at a wedding was the greatest gift a momtog like me could ever ask for! I’m not afraid to admit publicly that she & I have our struggles… especially recently as we navigate through the murky, emotional waters of the teenage years together. She recently told me that I only say I’m proud of her in public, so I was hesitant in posting this. But I am sitting here typing this, after compiling all of her photos from the last year & revisiting so many photos I’ve taken of her… my heart is overflowing with pride, and I want to shout from the rooftops, “MADELINE! You are extraordinary & I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!” And I hope that one day she remembers & knows with all of her that I couldn’t live a minute of my day without feeling overwhelmingly proud to be her mom.

I’d love for you to visit the blog post from her last birthday, where I remember & share the day she was born and the many days in between… but this birthday, I say it’s all about Madeline. The child I once carried in my belly, the laughing baby who rarely cried but was almost always smiling, the crazy tree-climbing tomboy who once obsessed over spiderman only to trade him for a pair of cowboy boots that she rocked solid for almost one full year… who has now grown into an almost-adult, and has carried along with her the same fun-loving, creative, imaginary spirit through all her transitions in life.

Happy Birthday, my love. My Madeline.

amy grace - i am so glad i was sitting here to see you post this. you have an incredible daughter, and you are such an amazing mother. i think this so often, that what you say and share are so filled to the brim with your own, unique, beautiful brand of love. she has a gift and i am sure you planted something special there and continue to revel in it. my own little girl, who is newly eight, tells me “i am going to be an artist, i feel it in my bones.” we are our own compasses, as i see that you guys are too. i will be showing her this. the glow of pride is more than a public one. she knows it :)

Heather Perera - Happy Birthday beautiful Mads! This brought tears to my eyes, ok totally crying. Being a parent isn’t always perfect, and there are lots of mistakes made along the way, but your bond is clear as day! I’m completely jealous that she so naturally finds her way through this film thing…no fair! Have a happy day!

Tonhya Kae - Love, love, love this. She is beautiful my friend. And you are wonderful mommy.

Mandy Powers - Amazing photos! Happy birthday! She shares a birthday with my boy, who turns 10 today. When did I become the mother of a 10 year old???!?!?!

Jonas Seaman - I love the last self portrait : )

Christy - Happy Birthday Madeline! And Catherine, happy anniversary of the day you became a mother!

Karen - I just adore this post- not only because you are such an incredible mother that has an extraordinary daughter, but your words and Madeline’s photos just bring tears to my eyes. You have such a strong and loving bond and man how lucky Madeline is to have an amazing mother who can teach her about photography and how lucky you are to have Madeline who is one strong, independent and smart young lady. I feel so lucky to be part of the Abegg family- you all took me under your wing when I moved here last year and I will be forever thankful for all your love, friendship and support along the way. Happy birthday Madeline, you are really becoming quite the talented photographer, keep it up! :)

Madeline Manalo - I love you too mom!

Ali M - I absolutely love this. For one, I just love your writing. And oh my, Madeline is so lovely. I am enjoying getting to know her bit by bit when I am at your house. She is so beautiful and fun. And seriously, her photography skills are so awesome. I am obsessed with the image that looks like it has a thistle in it and the one that’s black & white with the boat… OMG!! That’s so cool she shot a wedding with you too, Catherine. I bet that was such an amazing time for you both. I love you guys!!

Big XO- Ali

Mary W - Happy birthday to Madeline! What an amazing eye she has. Beautiful post!

mike - Happy birthday!

Lanny Shuler - How wonderful a testimony to the love of your daughter. My daughter Leela is now almost 18 and my pride and love for her is similar. So maybe indeed, a parent in love, “it takes one to know one”.

shipra - Oh man, I’m so looking forward to my kids turning into my sidekicks. Happy Birthday to you, Madeline!

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