Jacob Bergmeier | Westchester County New York Photographer who works in NY, CT, NJ and Travels

Lillian, What Do You Want To Say?February 20, 2013

My Darling Lillian:

Words just cannot elucidate the power you have over your mother and me. Your go get em “no, seriously, I am going to do it and there isn’t a thing you can do about it” stubborn attitude. The look on your face as you raise your hand, index finger pointed to the sky, and say with an intense face, “one more”… one more cookie, book, or game of stack the blocks. Your hugs and kisses for no reason. It’s all too much sometimes. My heart swells with pride when you point to pictures of family and say their name. When you tell us, with words no less, exactly what you want in a completely understandable context. Something I never expected you to be doing at 19 months. You are profound in so many ways. You are loving, caring, artistic, athletic, smart, adventurous, inquisitive, and friendly. Lillian, you amaze me at every turn. Undoubtedly fatherhood is much more enjoyable than I had ever imagined it to be. And I know that every parent feels this way about their children, but I want you to know with certainly that this is how I feel about you. Because it won’t always be just you and me and mommy. Some day you will have a brother or sister who will require a lot of my time and I don’t want you to think for even one second that you mean anything less than absolutely everything to me.

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So here is your announcement Lillian… here you can tell everyone.

Thank you, Lillian. Thank you for being you.

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Adirondack Balloon Festival – 2012September 24, 2012

This weekend we made the trip home to visit my family and to attend the 2012 Adirondack Ballon Festival in Queensbury, NY. As a child the Balloon Fesitval was an annual event to see these monstrous birds of flight, but it has never worked out where I could have taken Diana. Joined by Senior, we woke up before the rooster crows and made our way to the event. Seeing the balloons go off this never gets old, but it was great to see them with people who have never had the pleasure of going. You can almost live the moment through them.  Here are a few images from the day…

The first balloon of the day begins to inflate.

 

 

And we have liftoff. 

 

 

This balloon was Diana’s favorite.

My loves looking great at 6 AM… 

 

 

 Senior, A.K.A. Grandpa, showing Lillian the balloons. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it can be really easy to get wrapped up in an event and focus on the details. The Balloon Festival reminded me to keep my eyes wide and remember the bigger picture.

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My Diana, My EverythingApril 12, 2012

My Dearest Wife:

10 years ago when we started dating… I knew.  Yeah, I knew it would turn into this.  But I had no idea how good this would be.  I had no idea just how deeply I would love you and appreciate you.  I was clueless as to how amazing it would feel to share all of the joys life has to offer.  I didn’t know how great it would be to have a child… a little princess. Our Lillian.

Here we were 10 years ago at the very beginning of our relationship together.   As you were then, you are now;  My Everything.

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Mom’s MemorialApril 11, 2012

Mom, would you be proud of me?

14 years ago you left this world.  Not by choice… yours or mine.  The day cancer finally took your last breath was a pivotal moment in my life.  It was the day I was instantly a man stuck in a teenage body.  I was became “old” without the proper knowledge and wisdom to reinforce the situation I was now in.  Mom, I love you, but a 17 year old should never be asked by a doctor if it’s ok to take you off life support.   For a long time I carried a lot of guilt from that day and from that painful choice.  More guilt arose when I realized that I could have seen you the week before and choose not to, not knowing how sick you were.  Even more guilt arose from that day when Zack died.  The last 14 years have been about healing and learning from that day.  Life has been a journey…

You wanted so much for me… you wanted to do so much with me.  We talked about Europe and taking the train from country to country.  Spain, France, Germany, England, Ireland.  “How much money do we need, mom?” – “A lot – so we’ll save our pennies” you said.   You pushed me to be better and felt Saint Rose was the right place to get me there.  You taught me that home cooked meals will always be better than store bought or any restaurant.  We talked about what it means to truly respect a woman… to love her with every ounce of your heart and what that really means for both of you.  On more than one occasion you expressed concern about being a “good” parent.  It was tough being the child of divorced parents.  Two lives, two sets of rules.  You showed me that there is nothing (NOTHING) more important than family and that nothing gets in the way of that.

I traveled.  A lot.  4 continents and nearly 20 countries.   I have climbed mountains in Peru to nearly 17,000 feet.  I ate ceviche, rode a dune buggy, and saw the Nazca lines.  I experienced Peru!  I have ridden camels through the Sahara desert.  I baked bread in the hot sand, bartered for leather goods in the markets of Fes, and watched belly dancers perform during traditional Moroccan feast.  I experienced Morocco!  I drove a convertible through the Napa and Sonoma wine countries stopping at the best vineyards in California.  I visited Uncle Joe, drove down Lombard Street, and walked across the incredible Golden Gate Bridge.  I experienced San Francisco!  I sat in a cave and watched the Gypsies dance the Flamenco.   I botellón’d in the plazas, took Zack to my favorite cities and places when he came to visit me, and skied above the level of the clouds in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andulucía.  I experienced (lived in) Spain!  With my mighty strength, I held up the Leaning Tower of Pisa so it wouldn’t fall down.  I ate the best (and I mean the best) pizza margarita in Florence, rode a gondola in Venice, and sipped limoncello on the island of Capri.  I experienced Italy!  Mom, you encouraged me to travel and I did… it changed me for the better and I can’t thank you enough for that!

You took me to the College of Saint Rose for an interview shortly before you died.  I told the admissions counselor everything I had done, experienced, and even about you.  Before I left the admissions counselor told me that he was proud of my journey, that I had been accepted, and that I should be expecting a formal letter in the mail any time soon.  Soon I found a professor who believed in me, supported me, and looked out for me for four years.  She guided me to Spain and shared my experiences with her classes.  I participated in Division 2 athletics on the Cross Country team and was a conference runner-up… twice.  I found friends who I hold dear to my heart to this day… and even the woman I would ask to be my wife.  Saint Rose changed my life for the better as you told me it would.  I can’t thank you enough for that!

More than 14 years later and I can still taste your homemade chicken lasagna.  Pasta made from scratch with your Kitchen Aid mixer (which I still have and use), sauce from tomatoes and basil that you grew in the garden, and cheese from local farmers.  You made the best dumplings, muffins, and fresh coffee.  The kitchen is my favorite place to be in the house.  Learning to cook methodically but adventurously, I have learned to enjoy foods from all over the world.   You gave me the love to cook bug and I can’t thank you enough for that!

10 years ago (tomorrow to the day), Diana and I officially became a couple.  We became a couple during a trip home from college… we visited with you at your grave. She simply sat next to me as I pondered in my thoughts, gently holding my hand while placing her head on my shoulder.  She played with a 6 year old Creszenz as though she were her older sister, never holding back.   She embraced our family and all of our quirks without judgement.   Soon my girlfriend became my best friend who, 3 and-a-half  years later became my fiancée, and another year-and-a-half later became my wife.  I cherish Diana… every moment, every experience, every strife and accomplishment.  I love the way she dives into something she feels is important and does endless research on it so she can completely understand it…  I love everything about her and our lives together.  I love the family I married into and the family we have become together.  You set me up for this kind of compassionate and respectful love for a woman from those talks we had, and I can’t  thank you enough for that!

Every experience you and I had together coupled with all of my experiences that I have had since you died have prepared me for my life now, 14 years later.  I truly believe it has prepared me for my life as a father to a daughter.  To Lillian Jane.  I carried that terrible guilt with me that I didn’t see you the weekend before you died… I was selfish when you asked if I was coming for the weekend. I said no because I wanted  to (would rather) be with my girlfriend who was leaving for a week of vacation. For a long time I was angry that you didn’t tell me you were that sick.  Mom, nothing would have stopped me from seeing you had I known you were THAT sick.  But then I became a father… it all clicked and the guilt melted away.  It was 3:45 am and I miserably got out of bed beyond exhausted to change a wet diaper.  She was 2 months old when I realized what you had done for me.  I stood there looking at her… loving her.  In that exact moment I completely understood what unconditional love is and what it means.  There is nothing I would not do for that little girl and there is so much I want to show her, teach her, and give her.  That is what you gave me.  You gave me a foundation and a direction… and I ran with it.  AND I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THAT!

So mom I ask you, would you be proud of me?

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  1. […] the sting out of the memories that surround the death of a loved one. Over the years I have written meaningful blog posts about my mother, celebrated Mass (a friend even offered to go to Mass with me to support me), […]

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Lillian – 3 month updateNovember 10, 2011

I wasn’t prepared.  Nope… not one bit.  I thought I would have it handled… that I could do it all.  And then you came along, Lillian.  So cute, so fun.  My preconceived notions and beliefs have been shattered and replaced with something indescribable.

You are now 3 months old.  You laugh, stand on your own, sit up, roll over, smile, know when mommy and daddy are around… and you light up our lives.   Thank you for showing us what unconditional love really is.

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Lillian was an acorn for Halloween this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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