Tonight was so chilly and windy that I wore two winter jackets the entire time, but sweet Nicole never complained once. Her energy is so incredibly kind and calm, and peaceful. It was such a gift spending this time with her. Tonight Nicole reminded me, that sure there are really painful and horrible things happening in the world, but look, goodness remains, and beautiful hearts can never really, actually be tarnished.
I know I've mentioned this before, but my children come along to just about every single River Story. These woods are more their home than any other place, and tonight it really struck me just how incredible that really is. Braedon drags entire trees behind him to use for the walls of his fort in the forest like it's nothing. Lily brings along her fishing rod and casts clear across the center. Where Braedon once sat and played with Lego men, he now uses a hatchet to chop wood for the fire. Where Lily used to burry her binky in the sand, she now reads books.
My children get to meet the bravest women in the world, week after week, and they witness vulnerability, creativity and sisterhood. Sure I backup all of my images on three different hard drives, but the truth is, Braedon and Lily are the true keepers of the River Stories. Each one, each courageous woman, is uniquely and gracefully etched in the fabric of their memories. Tonight Nicole showed them that even in the middle of global heartache, there is still, and always, love.
I used to leave them out of the photos, but this year I have decided to capture at least a few. It's important, I think, for them to know they are never, not even for a second, invisible, and that these stories are their stories, too.