Lauren Elizabeth Stewart - The Wonder of DiversityMonday, February 25, 2008
When our first daughter Ale was born I felt the excitement of that first child. When Hilary was born it seemed to be different. But because Hilary was clingy and Ale was independent Rosemary and I showered Hilary with extra attention. In many ways our older Ale resented all the attention on Hilary. I have discovered that one has to be, where possible, as impartial as one can in giving attention to one's children.
A friend from my old days at Wreck Beach, Maanus Pikker recently came for our family Saturday afternoon dinner. He told me that watching Hilary's daughters, Rebecca and Lauren was like experiencing Ale and Hilary all over again. Lauren is blonde and Rebecca is a brunette. Maanus said that they even resembled my respective daughters.
I have always maintained that new-born babies are "plants" that have a personality that only a mother can discern. For me it has been hard to photograph Lauren until now. She is now 5. Somewhere around age 4 a child (in my experience) is finally able to understand the command, "Look in here in the lens of my camera." Since age 4 Rebecca has staired at my lens with narry a smile. At first there were protests from her family, "Why don't you photograph her smiling?" They have given up and are now used to the serious look.
At about age 3 Lauren had an intermittent problem of suddenly blinking her eyes randomly or when looking at the camera. We were told by her doctor to ignore it and not make an issue. Since then the problem has disappeared and Lauren will stare at me from her side of the dining room table.
Lauren used to scream about not liking her food and while she is still particular the screams and the crying have dissipated. When I take Rebecca to some dance function Lauren asks, "Am I going?" I have noticed that on Saturdays she suggests to me that she and I might go for a walk around the block. Lauren will sit on my lap without being asked.
Yes, I am being charmed my my other granddaughter and as Lauren stares at my camera I think that I have a new subject that will keep me occupied for time to come. And I do believe that with her precise and persnickety ways I may have finally found someone to take over in my profession of photography. But best of all I have learned that as much as I love Rebecca for the way she is I cannot expect anybody else to be like her. Without having to compare, I can simply accept, marvel and enjoy the diversity.