So I have decided to write...

About what? Who knows but I'm pretty sure something will come to mind as the days go on. 

I have few projects in the works for the next couple of months that I am getting pretty stoked about. I might possibly collaborate with a new up and coming singer/songwriter, I'll be photographing an amazing writer for her book and most likely more concerts. (It's kind of my thing).

So here I am, writing...sort of the complete opposite of what I like to do which is capture moments with photographs and not so much words so please be gentle, I'm new to this. 

As my first post I couldn't imagine writing about anything else but the people that inspire me to be the best version of parents. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm sucking up to them but it's the truth. I wouldn't be who I am or be where I am today without them and their constant support.  

My Dad actually bought me my first "real" camera in high school but not without a lecture. He made sure I would take this seriously and that this wasn't just a way for me to get a really expensive camera and in the end never use it. Well I kept my promise Dad and a camera has been a staple in my life ever since. 

Not to be a downer but this past year of my life has been what I like to call an emotional roller coaster. A year in which I would never ever wish on my worst enemy but a learning experience and a year of growth in the end to say the least. 

Cancer struck the week apart...So yeah, that happened. 

With that, I was asked to share our family story for a small publication, Minute Magazine who was doing a Cancer issue in September and I figured I would kick off this blogging situation with the story of us, The Henry's. 

Four Only Children

Growing up my mom has always said, “I have four only children.” I never really understood what she meant by that until this past year. She defines us in all our forms and attributes, describing Christopher as kind, tolerant, and sincere; her eldest with a big heart and a good and caring soul, seeing goodness in all. She has Timothy, her thoughtful, capable, and sensitive son with an attitude that life doesn’t always play by the rules, but with patience and hard work everything always works out. She has Melissa, her oldest daughter who is loving, nurturing, and giving; a woman who knows that actions are capable of turning anything around and believing that joys once lost can always be found. And then she has me, her youngest, whom she describes as creative, spirited, and dependable with many treasures hidden within. We’re different in our ways, but we’re all extremely close, and while we deal with life's triumphs and tragedies differently, we owe these differences to what kept our family together and stronger than ever through one of the most difficult years of our lives.

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In October 2012 my family was hit with a huge blow when my Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and one week later, my Dad with Lung Cancer.

In these moments of disbelief we often asked the question, “Why us? Why is this happening to us?” Well it turns out I know that answer now. It’s because we are four only children who although handling them differently, can handle life's obstacles and never let them get the best of us, because two amazing parents raised us.

The diagnosis came one after the other, and we spent a weekend mourning the hand we were dealt. One weekend to cry, to be angry, to feel sorry for ourselves--but that’s it. We allowed ourselves one weekend to be sad, and then we made a vow to fight. To fight this battle with everything we had as a family, to stay positive and to do whatever it took to beat this.

Surgeries were scheduled within weeks of their diagnosis. Dad was first and it was quite possibly one of the longest days of my life. Dad’s a Silver Star Vietnam Vet who, in my eyes, was bulletproof. The man would do anything for anyone and now it was him who needed support. It was our time to take care of him. Dad was in surgery for 8 hours, only to wake up to find out there was more cancer than we were originally told. The battle to recovery was going to be a long one, sixteen weeks of Chemotherapy and thirty days straight of Radiation. This battle had just begun.

Mom’s surgery was scheduled five days later and was just as draining as my fathers. I think I can speak for my entire family when I say that she is our rock. She is the one who fixes us when we we’re down and celebrates the most in our achievements. Being there for her as she has been for us all these years was extremely important to us. We wanted to make sure she knew that we would be there to pick her up when she was down and celebrate in her achievements. Mom is now 100% cancer free and on her way to a full recovery.

Dad’s last CT scan showed no cancer activity, but he is not yet in remission. We recently had a minor setback when he had to have an emergency double bypass heart surgery; but, to no surprise, he is recovering like the true hero that he is.

During these incredibly long and draining months, I’ve learned that the word “family” has taken on a whole new meaning. For a brief moment in time I felt what it was like to feel my world come crashing down, only to be saved by all the love and support of our family and friends.

Food was delivered, flowers were sent, cards were overflowing the mailbox, and calls were pouring in. Not once did we feel we were battling this alone. That, to me, is a testament to how amazing my parents are and how much they are loved, respected and appreciated by everyone. Beyond our family, they had a lot to fight for.

A fight they made with their four children at their side, a fight that mom says their children responded to with much love and support. “Christopher was there whenever he was needed, anytime and any place. Timothy doing whatever he could to make us most comfortable, Melissa keeping everything and everyone in place so all would run smoothly, and Katie entertaining us and putting levity on our cancers and in our lives. With this combination of supportive personalities we made it. I have been blessed with four only children, each different and all sent by God to make me a very proud Mom.”

And we have been blessed with a Mom and a Dad who make us proud. I am blessed to be part of “four only children” who wouldn’t be who we are if not for them.