Okay, so remember that time I said I couldn't take pictures of my cousins forever? Well... I may have been lying, because I think I actually could.
Several weeks ago, my husband and I tagged along on a family excursion to visit my cousin, Vanessa, at the University of Georgia for her Senior Equestrian Meet! I had been looking for an excuse to make the journey north because UGA's Equestrian Complex is truly a sight to be seen, and Vanessa has always been one of my "more willing" muses.
I had visions, you know? Vanessa was going to ride a big, beautiful horse in the the rolling hills of Northern Georgia. Her long, dark hair would blow in the wind, and she'd be wearing some beautiful dress and it would look like one of those Ralph Lauren "Romance" ads. Who cares if we didn't have a Fabio?
... and don't pretend like you guys don't know what I'm talking about. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT AD.
But, alas, that's not what happened. As Vanessa gently pointed out - we would not be able to hijack the UGA horses for our own benefit - and so I kissed the Ralph Lauren dream goodbye.
This being said, I was NOT a disappointed photographer. The University of Georgia is stunning, and even if it wasn't, Vanessa could make any background look good. She took Zach and I around North Campus, telling us about the old buildings and her favorite places on campus while I searched for the best light. I live for these opportunities, folks!
So, imagine my surprise when I realized that the photos weren't the best part of the weekend? Yep - I said it and I can't take it back. My favorite part of the weekend was absolutely, without a doubt, watching Vanessa. (And I don't mean that in a creepy way, people. Don't be creepy.) #insomniacookieswereaclosesecond
It is no secret to anyone that the experiences in which you push yourself outside of your comfort zone (new places, new people) are the experiences that inspire the most growth; I have seen it in others, and I have seen in it myself. While Vanessa is known to her family as "baby sister" at home - she has become a beloved leader at UGA - especially when it comes to her equestrian teammates. From the second we got there ("What can I do to make sure you guys have a good time?") to watching her ride and listening to the incredibly beautiful, true words her Coach spoke about her Saturday night... Vanessa beamed all weekend, and your heart couldn't help but fill for her. What an amazing experience she's had. What an amazing person she's become.
Regardless of Vanessa's title (baby sister or captain of the Equestrian team), it is obvious to anyone who meets her that she is kind, hard-working, and selfless... and there is no doubt in my mind that she is going to change the world somehow.
Ness - we are so proud of you. 💕