For her belated birthday celebration, she invited some friends and family to The Painted Pot, a local painting spot, which speaks so well to who Keira is because she is such a creative soul. You have to wonder if she was born with a set of crafting supplies straight out of the womb. Great care and attention goes into her artwork, including picking out her canvas.
That's Ponytail. I wish I had words to explain how this girl has stolen the hearts of so many, but honestly, I don't. She is so ... Keira - beautifully one of a kind - and it is charming to so many people.
These three girls. They are like a cord of three strands - not easily broken. It was such a treat to see them working beside one another and with each other. It was a highlight for me for sure.
While Keira's spunky independence is a real draw, her quiet caretaker mode checks on you and keeps you close like a good friend should.
Watching friends and family all create as a celebration of this sweet one was so neat. It reminds you of what we have all been able to learn through Keira's journey - that everyday is a gift. Every. Single. Day.
The second cool project the Painted Pot did was a family tree. Watching it "grow" was pretty awesome.
Then Keira got to add her final print in red. 💓
Here's layer two for that awesome plate: handprints from the birthday girl - that shape into a heart.
After all those projects were complete, an empty spot was left on the table, so what sounds better than cake time? Panda cake time.
As a friend and photographer, this moment was one of the hardest parts of the day. Singing Happy Birthday to this sweet gem and watching those ten candles being blown out was a reminder that while we all believe God can perform miracles, cake eleven will likely not come. The elephant in the room felt a whole lot bigger right then.
In true Keira form, she wanted to cut her own cake - with the serrated knife! She did so great. Her heart is one of service & she loves helping others. (Or maybe she was trying to cut a line straight to the panda head for herself. Who knows.)
As the time wound down, friends began to say their goodbyes and snap a photo as their keepsake.
And then snuck out a piece of Keira I know well - the quiet focused artist.
Remember how I said there was more to that plate? Ms. Keira is leaving her legacy - and she knows it. The elephant may be difficult to talk about, but this 10 year old is handling it with more grace and love than most of us ever could. And so, she signed that plate. And decorated and dotted it. Because that's how you do it.
The party was such a beautiful celebration of life. Celebrate today my friends. Celebrate today.