Melissa Gibson Photography » Melissa Gibson Photography

Emily recently turned fourteen.

I know.

I don’t get it either.

I mean, one day we are bringing home a newborn and the next day….BAM.

Anyway, she just turned 14 and although I reminisce about those days when she was a baby? I don’t miss those days when she was a baby. Because you know what? I savored every.single.bit of it.

Okay. That’s not true. I didn’t gobble up EVERY single bit of it. Because some days sucked. However, we had such fun when she was a little one. Going to the park. Eating sand. Playing outside. Her putting band-aids all over her face (on a daily basis) for some reason. Exploring our back yard. Planting flowers. Showing her the beach.

You know, all of that stuff. It was such a great time, but guess what?


All of these moms/dads/grandparents always say “Soak it up because one day they will be bigger”.

Yeah. It’s common sense, People. They always get bigger. But that’s not a bad thing.

Having little ones is a treat and it’s fun. It’s cute and it’s so dang sweet.

However, I can still say that NOW about Emily. She’s 14. It’s a treat and it’s fun. She’s cute and so dang sweet.

Here’s why I know this. Because I see it with my own two eyeballs day in and day out. Yes, she gets angry with her sisters. Yes, we sometimes have school troubles, but heck. So do I. (I count helping my kids with homework a ‘school trouble’, thank you very much). Emily recently had some friends over to go to the movies, dinner and sleep over.

Let me tell you how that went.


It was so stinkin’ cute. I told her I wasn’t going to leave them at the movie alone (plus I wanted to see Hidden Figures, too) and she said, “okay!”. Granted, she didn’t want me to sit with them, but whatever. When I asked if she minded if Allison went along she said, “sure”. Whhaaaatttt?! After the movies, she wanted dinner at Del Taco and a trip to the ice cream shop. Now, see? CUTE.

Once we were back home, they all worked that karaoke machine like champs, but here’s the best part.

The next morning, they hung out in the kitchen with me for over an hour. Just chatting with me. Now see? SWEET. 14 year olds are AMAZING. They are a treat. They are fun. They are cute and so dang sweet.

Here’s what I learned about them:

1. They say funny things. They like dorky jokes and sarcasm.  The giggles and jokes were never-ending.  Oh how funny teenagers can be!

2. They are polite and respectful. 14 year olds are thankful for what you give them. I can’t tell you how many times I hear(d) “thanks mom”. And “thanks for taking us Mrs. Gibson”. “I had fun at your house, Mrs. Gibson” and “I appreciate you driving us to get ice cream”.

3. They don’t care what other people think about them.
These girls don’t care about being “cool”. They wear what they like, do their hair how they like, and LIKE what they like. I saw four different personalities and ALL were MORE THAN ACCEPTED by the other girls. Here’s an example, Ashley had face cream all over her little face and didn’t give a hoot about it. She never said, ‘I should wash this off’ or ‘don’t take my picture!’. Her attitude was ‘oh this is my face cream, thanks’ and PEOPLE ACCEPTED THAT. Sounds simple, but why can’t we all be like Ashley? ‘Oh, this is my _____ , thanks’ and it’s acceptable and people STILL LIKE YOU FOR YOU.

4. They want to be in on the grown up stuff, but they are still Little Stuff. They were so sweet to hang out with me. They felt like big people, I think. They asked GOOD questions about random things. But then, after an hour, someone said, “Let’s go play in the front yard!”. I loved that part.

In the end, after this 14 year old get-together, I realized a couple of things. I don’t miss Emily the Baby. I don’t miss Emily the Toddler. I don’t even miss Emily the Elementary School Kid. Because WE DID THAT SO WELL. We loved it and lived it, I have pictures, stories and we had a blast. I don’t miss it because I still have THIS PART. Yes, they grow up fast, but don’t regret that part. That growing up part is nice, too.

There’s nothing wrong with teenagers. There’s everything RIGHT with teenagers. Love ’em up. They are amazing.

emilys 14th friends_edited-1

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  • Allison Rogers - Love it!! SO TRUE!ReplyCancel

  • CGK - Seriously you are so RIGHT. The arguing can be a drag but other than that….they are FUN! We had 4 13 year olds over New Years Eve and we played games left right center, quibbler and Phase 10 till the wee hours of the night then got up and had breakfast and continued playing Phase 10….because I was going to be the winner and I was. I hooted and howled and they rolled their eyes at me but so sweet of them to let me be a teenager again! I love your Emily and I’m sure I would love her group of friends too!!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - The thing I love best about our kids getting older? You get to meet and get to know a whole brand new person every few years again. Our son is 17 and the last one to leave the house, and I have to say that his teen age years have been SO. MUCH. FUN!ReplyCancel

1. What is something I say a lot?
I love you.

2. What makes me happy?
when, when, like, I help you do something like, like, clean.

3. What makes me sad?
when someone breaks something

4. How tall am I?
I’m going to guess, okay? Um, how long is a foot? I’m going to guess, 6 feet. No 7 or 8 feet.

5. How old am I?

6. What is my favorite thing to do?
Um, this might not be your favorite, but I’m just going to say going to dinner with friends OR playing with your kids.

7. What makes me proud of you?
Um, can I just watch Kung Fu Panda or something? Um, okay. Maybe if I get a good grade.

8. What is my favorite food?
Do you like salad? I don’t think so. I’m gonna say pizza or tacos.

9. Do I have a favorite child?

10. If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
Um, a dinner with Daddy at the beach and then you go to a Dave Matthews concert at the beach and then you’ll be there for like a week and then you do stuff there. Like that. And fish and stuff. Without kids.

11. Do you think you could live without me?

12. What is my favorite song?
Oh, I know! VALERIE!

13. How do you annoy me?
Um…(giggles a lot) maybe I don’t know.

14. What is my favorite movie?
I know what Daddy’s is, but yours is Cinderella and McFarland USA.

15. Who do I have a crush on?

16. Where was I born?

17. What’s my favorite show to watch?
You don’t really watch a lot of shows, but is there…WAIT! I KNOW I KNOW! That one where you said “We are going downstairs to watch a 1 hour show and you aren’t allowed to come down there because it’s a shooty show!” Yes, that one.

18. Who’s my best friend?
Do you even have one? Wait, Lulu? (this is an actual person, not our dog)

19. What scares me?

20. How do you describe me to your friends?

caroline in the car_edited-1

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  • Candy - Love questionnaires like this! Although I would love to know what shoots show she’s referring to?ReplyCancel

First off, here’s the thing. Can we talk about something for a bit? Honestly?

I mean, honestly, can we REALLY talk honestly here?

I’m about to say some things that will more than likely ruffle some feathers. And you know what? I’m glad about that.

I’m going to write some things here that will probably cause me to lose some Facebook fans on my measly little page, but you know what else? I don’t even care about that because I’m beginning to despise Facebook anyway.

So, here goes. I’m stepping up on the soap box now so swallow hard for this one, People.

I’m SICK of seeing little girls all “prettied up” in pictures. I’m SO OVER scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and blogs and seeing overly smoothed skin on little people. (I’ve unliked/unfollowed them now, but whatever) I’m TIRED of little girls posed in ‘not little girl ways’. For example, dresses that are not age appropriate and scarf thingies hanging off of their shoulders. I HATE seeing images that show children posed, dressed, photoshopped so much so that they don’t even look REAL. I DO NOT WANT to see little girls photographed “adultly” in only camisoles and see photographers say ‘oh it’s just skin and she’s just a child’.


Not only all of that, but also I despise the fact that people *like* these types of images on Facebook and *heart* these types of photos on Instagram.

So, here’s the deal.



How about photographers stop dressing them up and posing them like they are dolls or grown women.

And how about everyone else stop saying ‘oh how pretty she is!’…’oh my goodness what a doll!’…

blah blah blah

puke puke puke

blah blah blah

vomit vomit vomit

This skin smoothing, eye sharpening, hair smoothing, eye color enhancements, etc…they are sending ONE message and that is Here Little Girl Stand Here And Look Cute. That’s what these kids think you want from them.


That’s what they think is IMPORTANT.

That’s what they think makes them SPECIAL.


I’m so tired of the ‘Sit still and look pretty’ mentality and that is exactly what is being shoved down their thoats. And mine. And yours as a matter of fact.

It’s gross.

Wanna know what’s pretty? Muddy clothes. Soccer gear. Pizza-stained faces. Big sister’s hand-me-downs. Messy braids.

Children don’t need skin smoothing and they don’t need their hair edited. They also don’t need eye color enhancements and, if you know how to shoot, they also don’t need added catchlights.

So how about we let kids be kids? How about photographers show what REAL BEAUTY is? How about we stop *liking* and *hearting* these “too grown up” photos because that tells the photographer ‘oh, it’s cool’.

Because it isn’t.

People. A woman ran for President (don’t worry, I’m not going THERE). Women serve in the military. Women are police officers. Women are BAD TO THE BONE and we are STILL sending this crappy message to little girls that the only thing they are good for is LOOKING CUTE?!?!

That’s crap.

As a photographer, here’s what I refuse to do:

1. dress my child up (or allow my child to wear) clothing that is not age appropriate/make her look older than she is.
2. use a child as a ‘wow factor’ shot in order to get *likes* or fans.
3. smooth skin, enhance eyes, pose a child in a non-childlike way
4. push this STUPID ‘Sit Still Look Pretty’ mess.

There. That’s all.

Whew. I’m glad I got that out. I feel better.

Now, if you think this post is about you, I pinky promise you that it is not. I PROMISE you that the people I’m referring to aren’t even going to give my little ol’ blog a second thought…or a first…and aren’t even friends with me on Facebook. However, if you’d like to forward this to anyone? Well, I’m not going to stop you. 😉

And I’ll end this with a funny little picture that is the total opposite of gussied up little girls in froo froo dresses.

May I present….my 4th baby and the story of her licking a dog bone.

josie dog bone board_edited-1

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