Labels

“He doesn’t seem autistic to me.”

“He acts normal; he can’t be autistic.”

“What? He’s autistic?”

“Is the therapy helping?”

“How long does he need therapy for?”

“Is he going to get better?”

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These are a few of the questions and comments that I have been getting the past few months. Internally I cringe. Sigh. Throw up my hands in frustration. I want to yell, scream, kick doors, tell you to mind your own business.

Paradox.

Then I want to hug you, laugh with you, thank you for asking, applaud you for being brave~for actually talking, asking, questioning.

For every comment and question, I know there are a million unasked, unsaid comments.

I don’t want my kid to be different. I don’t want my kid to not fit in. I want him to be NORMAL.

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Paradox.

I want my kid to be different; to not fit in with the crowd. I don’t want him to do what everyone else is doing. I want him to rise above the masses, be a star, succeed, make his mark in the world.

It’s all a paradox.

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As good postmodern Americans we don’t like labels. We don’t like stereotypes. As parents, we definitely don’t like labels. We don’t want anyone telling us how to raise our kids. We want the freedom to parent the way we think is right.

And then there’s the LABEL: He’s a special needs kid with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Fear. Fear of failure as a parent. Fear of judgement. Fear of loss of dreams for his future. FEAR.

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There’s nothing WRONG with a label. There’s nothing WRONG with him. All the label really tells me is: I need help; my kid needs help. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK that I don’t know everything. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to embrace the label.

It’s OK that I don’t completely understand my son’s diagnosis. It’s OK that people ask me questions I don’t know how to answer. It’s OK that my son has ASD. It’s OK.

That’s really just what I want to hear.

He’s the same kid he’s always been. It’s just that now we can admit we need help raising him. We can ask for help. We can rely on others. We can be different. We can be normal. We can embrace the label. We can help other understand. We can help others who learn their kid has a label. We can make the journey together. We can face our fears and realize that we are human. We aren’t perfect. We ALL have a label and we ALL need each other.

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Photos by: Erin Dupree Photography

 

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Fall Mini Sessions

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It’s time to get those family photos! $75 1/2 hour
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Booking for // October 10th Snohomish // October 11 Marymoor Park // Contact me for available times. joonitree.photography@gmail.com
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Amber + Joel: Engagement Shoot at Mukilteo Lighthouse

I met Joel a long time ago when we worked together and so was honored that he contacted me about  wedding photos. Amber and Joel live in Mukilteo and so we decided that doing their engagement photos in their hometown would be perfect. Though a typical windy Pacific Northwest evening, the light was perfect. How can you go wrong with a beautiful setting and a gorgeous couple? Congratulations Amber and Joel!

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|| Saying goodbye to an old friend ||

I’ve never been asked to shoot a car before, but when Todd called me up on a  perfect sunny day we decided to meet up for a last minute shoot. You see, he was saying goodbye to an old friend, his Jag. So with a little sun, an old red brick road, we captured this beautiful “Kitty Car,” as his daughter calls it. A fun shoot, but also a little sad. Here’s to the memories of a 15 year run!Baker Jaguar 010 Baker Jaguar 024 Baker Jaguar 048 Baker Jaguar 084 Baker Jaguar 102 Baker Jaguar 111