Happy 13th Diego!!
He’s a kind heart boy fast turning in to a Man in a blink of an eye. He has a kind heart and a shy smile that drives me crazy he can’t smile like that in pictures… Ha!
Diego is a typical boy that has had a rough start. His dyslexia and speech impairment really was wearing down on him in pre-school and kindergarten. When LAUSD said they wouldn’t test him until he’s legally 8 years old I heard his little voice repeatedly ring through my head:
“Mom, I’m not smart. All the kids know their numbers and letters and I can’t do it!”
I spent one day a week in meetings with the school leads and finally had him approved for a tutor that specialized in learning disabilities. In a matter of a few weeks he was caught up and no longer heard these words. Soon I moved us to a different city and school district that had him tested on the FIRST day there and in speech therapy that same week.
To see him grow and become the top of his class with his little heart on his sleeve showing the world he no longer felt “Not Smart” – because in my house the “S” word is a “bad word,” along with the word fat, ugly the “R” word and all the world listed “bad words.”
I’m happy he’s growing up at a softer pace. Learning what the world is capable of later than sooner has been a goal for me. Being a child who’s own childhood was robbed I didn’t want my own children to fall victims of such a horrible a thing.
I can remember when I held him as a baby and now he’s taller than me – which he likes to point out repeatedly. When I saw him take an interest in photography and movie making I decided to expand his experience through my blog. He’s been a trooper even when I need to brow beat him some mornings. As he complained – as normal kids too – I knew he took pride seeing his work on the blog. Then when he was asked to work with me on the magazine shoots he was full of pride!
He and my Daughter have questioned the dedication to our work – any adult would! Getting up early and hiking hills to get a spot with good “lighting” for a shoot does take a toll even on the most seasoned of photographers/bloggers.
“Our images/work has helped more than a few people. It helps share our strength and bring love to those that don’t see or get very much of it in their own lives. WE are lucky to have it in our lives and should always share what we have so that we can ALL have more.”
His most asked question which breaks my heart a bit is:
“Can I make a lot of money doing this? I want to have a big house with a yard – with a kitchen that can sit 20 people and a refrigerator as big as the wall! Kind of like the house we used to have before we became homeless.”
He was 4 years old when we lost our dream house and lived in the mini van. He remembers what it feels to be hungry and needy. He yearns for the things we didn’t have for years after. His favorite is having a soft bed to sleep in again. He sleeps on a 3 stack mattress to make up for the 3 years we slept in our mini van or floors padded by card board or carpet. It’s been a rough road and can understand his need of these “luxuries.”
Last year I had him photo-chronical my first public speaking experience in which I shared my experience with domestic violence. He cried as he heard me tell one of my stories in front of other survivors and supporters. I had prepared him as best I could but it always hurts no matter how often I tell it or he hears it. He’s become much closer to me since and is more aware of those around him and advises me if he feels I need to talk to one of his friends or teachers that he thinks I can help.
During these years of our getting back on our feet we’ve strive to keep helping others no matter how little we have. He would carry the change he collected doing chores or finding on the floor of streets and stores and would give it to whomever was at the freeway or store exits that was in need. He carried extra granola bars to give out when he didn’t have change. Friends tell me that when they’re out with him he always gives his dollar to people he finds in need. *I tear up knowing this!
Here I instill my legacy… in my children…. in my Son, Diego. May he continue to grow as kind and big hearted to continue bringing hope and smiles to this world. I am fortunate to be their Mom and see these actions that I now share with you. He refuses to read my blog but he may one day want to read the thoughts of his crazy Mama and find this passage when he most needs to read it.
Happy 13th Birthday Diego! Love you to the the moon TIMES Infinity *Inside Joke!*
You can wish him a Happy BDay on his photography page: