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  • Writer's pictureBereza Photography

Family Photos at the Fort; Their Smiles Say it All

I have 19 first cousins. 15 of those 19 grew up within ~3 hours of one another through most of my childhood. A tight-in-age cluster of us would spend a week each summer with my grandparents in middle of the woods. That small tribe was led in both age and wonder by Veronica.

Veronica blazed the trail through the confusing challenge of growing up. She was the first to magically fill out the weird pouches of extra fabric in the chest area found in the Victorian dress-up gowns we wore. She hit her growth spurt first and towered over my now 6'1” older brother. Veronica oozed maturity and wisdom to us younger girls. She had an aptitude for linguistics. She made friendships with books in a way I related to. I treasured singing alongside her for quarters in our entrepreneurial start up Petty Creek Park. I can still transport myself to sunny afternoons yelling “Code Tweety!” our phrase for enormous yellow butterflies (parnassians and swallowtails) we used to coordinate high intensity capturing missions around.

Veronica also led our small, inner tribe of cousins into the journey of parenthood. Our childhood daydreaming summer weeks together had come to an end years before, but the bond those summer days created left us all a little more in tune to one others' experiences into adulthood.

Veronica went from a girl to a mother without a having a chapter in there just for herself. Her babies became her priority which led her to become the selfless, radiant, and striving woman she is today. Veronica is the proud mama of four kiddos each of whom have her sense of curiosity, harbor a deep loyalty and tenderness for one another, and laugh easily.

Their smiles say it all.


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