I could trace my hand delicately across every surface in my childhood home and as I would walk through I could tell you a story about each surface. There is a sharpee-covered wall in the laundry room. Graffitied in my dad’s handwriting this wall in the laundry room is one of those surfaces that is dearest to me. It is made up of my brother’s and myself heights and ages that my dad insisted documenting every year. Dashes and numbers are stacked on top of each other up the entire wall in several different colors. My dashes and numbers started about waist high to my father and my brother’s started at his chest.
I can still remember standing as tall as I could, instantly having the best posture that I never managed to have on a daily basis. I would try to add any amount of centimeters or inches that I could for my growth that year. I would then turn around to glance to see if this was the year that I caught up to my brother’s height. Wide eyed I turn around glancing from the bottom of our height timeline searching for my most recent tick mark. As I glanced further and further up the wall of marks I always had a fluttering hope that I would get there someday. I was the typical little sister that looked up to her brother and wanted to be just like him, and I strived for that in every aspect of our childhood. I would play the sports he would play, I would insist on being in the dugout during his baseball games and I always wanted to play with him and his friends in the neighborhood. Now, that sharpee-covered wall is much more than a wall in our laundry room that to me.
I would pass this growth chart almost every day of my life without an extra thought, but now, it sometimes stops me in my tracks. It reminds me of a new year full of hope, full of “what’s next?”, full of possibilities and it also reminds me of the years that have passed. It reminds me of the memories, the parts that were hard, the parts that were remarkable, and all of the days that Richard did have. It reminds me to stay humble but also to live and live well. Every year we would begin by measuring our heights and as I stared at this wall the other day I could not help but relate it to this New Year approaching. I’ll never reach his height marks on this wall, the ones that I looked up to year after year, imagining what it would be like to catch up to him. Oftentimes that sharpie covered wall meant more to me than our heights. I did not think about physically reaching his height but one day reaching his level, the high level that I admired and that I saw him on when I was a child, and what a remarkable day that would be.
This is the year that I will turn an age that my brother never turned. In an unfortunate way it makes me think of the sharpie covered wall and that I am catching up to him in a way that I never wanted to catch up to him. So, this year more than ever needs to mean something and it needs to stand for something. I need to do something that I have been feeling the pull to do and I need it to be dedicated to my brother, Richard. I need to make sure to live and I need to live well, and that seems to be even more important this year than the last. So as I think of New Years Resolutions or goals, both personal and for Jessica Ryan Photography, every single one has to have a purpose and needs to mean something. I want every aspect of my business to be done with love and care. I want to truly connect and build relationships with my couples and colleagues. I want to inspire others to find their voice and I want to mentor or work with other photographers that feel that they need an individual they can come to for anything. It’s not always about numbers and this year will be about connection for me and hopefully I impact and help others along the way.
Another aspect of this year that is a goal of mine is, to write. It is something that I have always wanted to do and something that I always find myself doing when my emotions or ideas run high and rampant in my brain to the point that they just need to come out. I believe resolutions and goals are rooted deeper to our souls and are based on how much we truly want to nurture our lives. For me this year needs to mean something and to stand for something more than ever and I believe implementing these aspects into my life will help me to continue to respect and honor my relationship with my brother. So on his birthday, January 15th, I wanted to announce these personal words and thoughts. That sharpie-covered wall, and all of it’s writing, truly gave me a life lesson that I will take with me my entire life.
Wishing my brother love and for myself, guidance, on this day while his birthday is in heaven.