Holding On When Moving Apart

My sister is moving. My sister is moving.

The clock is ticking, counting down the hours and days until my sister and her family move away. For almost a full year her house in Naples sat on the market and I not-so-secretly hoped and wished that it might never sell. But it did. And now she’s moving on… moving away.

This is my sister who taught me what it means to feel safe, and warm, and cared for.

My big sister Becky and me (right) snuggled up together.
My big sister Becky and me (right) snuggled up together.

I remember sitting in the summer glow of our bedroom window, absentmindedly stroking the soft blue shag carpet beneath me (yes, I grew up in the 80’s), and doing my best not to nod off while she practiced new hairstyles on me. She’d endlessly comb and braid my hair as we bonded together in the childhood room we shared.

To this day there is nothing more relaxing to me than watching someone have her hair styled. Sometimes I’ll gaze over at my client getting ready for a shoot with our hair and makeup artist. I’ll watch as my client’s shoulders relax down and her smile curves up. Is she thinking, like me, about the sister who combed her hair in the sunshine? I’ve been known to tell friends that “should I ever win the lottery, I’m going to hire someone to meet me at my home every night before bedtime and just brush my hair until I fall asleep.” That to me is a luxury worth fantasizing about!

My sister is moving.

This is the sister who claimed all things girly.

My sister, the original queen of posing, (center) and her little mimic—me (right.)
My sister, the original queen of posing, (center) and her little mimic—me (right.)
Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}
Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}

While I was busy climbing trees, my sister was dressing up Barbie dolls. While I was happy to throw on a pair of mismatched jams (boy shorts for the uninitiated) and splatter paint t-shirt, she was practicing dress up in sparkles and sequins, glitz and glam. As a young girl, every time someone grabbed a camera she would dramatically kick out her hip and slap her little wrist down into the crook of her waist. And later, when she got curves and earned her worldly-wise grown-up card as a college freshman, she taught me the latest dance moves-- how to Vogue. It’s all in the wrist and fingertips I learned.

becky vogueing
becky vogueing

Today, I’m the one playing dress up. Walking into clients’ closets and picking out the perfect sequin top or tulle dress. During a Beauty portrait session, I get to show people the power of a hip kick pose and the beauty of ballet hands… thinking every moment of my sister and her grace and moxy. It’s all in the wrist and fingertips. My sister would be so proud!

My sister is moving.

This is the sister who always wanted to be a mom. The sister who became the ultimate aunt and indeed the inspiring mother we all knew she was destined to become.

Comforting like only a big sister can.
Comforting like only a big sister can.
Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}
Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}

She was a natural caretaker even as a kid. She was the babysitter every parent dreamed about. Quiet, playful, responsible, creative, loving. I would babysit for the paycheck but she would babysit for the passion. Then and now, she cooked whole meals from scratch, fashioned amazing outfits from whatever materials she could get her hands on (like this cool stuff at SewPomona.com), and cared for every one around her, effortlessly, selflessly. And I, watching from the wings, defined and contrasted my identity as the independent, spirited woman on the rise. My sister was going to be a mom, that we knew. But me? Who would’ve imagined I’d become a parent too?

Just weeks from becoming a mom-- me (left) with my radiant sister.
Just weeks from becoming a mom-- me (left) with my radiant sister.

Yet, here we were, my sister and I, growing together as moms, learning as we went along.

To everyone’s surprise, I was the first to get married, the first to get pregnant. A few years later, her first baby arrived. And a couple years after that I attended and photographed her daughter’s home birth. We excitedly swapped tips on which baby carriers were the best (we vote the Ergo), which mom’s groups were the most supportive (SWFL Attachment Parents), and which parks had the most shade in the hot summer months (Can U Dig It, Naples.)

Early dabbling in photography for me. Beautiful kids + backlit setting = heaven.
Early dabbling in photography for me. Beautiful kids + backlit setting = heaven.

Our kids became the best of friends and my favorite portrait subjects. I carried my DSLR to every play-date, documenting life’s little wonders with childlike curiosity. My sister modeled for me too—everything from maternity shoots to glamour, to fine art nude, to creative concepts, to business blogs. As the consummate artist, she was a willing participant and partner in any project I cooked up. Through nearly every stage of my business growth, she was my portfolio-building muse.

I love that so much of my work today has grown out of the portrait practice I gained with my sister and her kids.

little bo peep
little bo peep
My sister and her beach baby, they were made for the outdoors.
My sister and her beach baby, they were made for the outdoors.

My sister is moving.

My sister is moving.

This weekend I’m going to dig through my garage, pack up my spare boxes, and reluctantly, painfully share them with my sister so she can put all her beautiful things on a truck and move away.

I’m happy for my big sister for following her heart and finding a new home for her family but of course a big part of me aches to see her go.

radient rebecca
radient rebecca

Becky, you’ve influenced every part of who I am as a woman, a mother, and an artist. You are my first and best friend.

I want to give you the best gift I can think of—the gift of memories—and for this reason, I’m hiring a photographer so we can share a glam day together.

For you, my original and best stylist… I want us to relax together and enjoy the ultimate luxury—having our hair combed and prepped.

For you, the sister who taught me the best posing moves… I want us to be girly girls together, to cast aside our day jobs and just be gloriously, shiningly beautiful for a couple hours.

For you, the woman who taught me how to grow as an artist and mom… I want to give you a piece of what I love best (photography) and what I cherish most (making memories with you.)

I’m so grateful for everything you’ve given to me as a role model, sister and best friend.

I love you always!

Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}
Megan DiPiero Photography {Holding On When Moving Apart}

Happy picture memories from my family to yours! May you always treasure what matters most!