Jody McKitrick » ody McKitrick is a lifestyle portrait family and child photographer located in Northern Virginia.

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Letters to Our Daughters | July 2012

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain


We just got back from our summer trip to the beach and it made me realize it’s about time I posted our winter vacation photos. If I don’t post them now, they will sit on a hard-drive somewhere and won’t see the light of day until some night twenty years from now when we will be talking about our family vacation to St. John and I’ll spend hours—okay, days—going through hard-drives trying to find them. I’ll annoy and frustrate everyone by my constant whining “I know they are here somewhereeeeee!” So, let’s just save us all a lot of grief and put these puppies up. This way all I’ll have to do is pull up my blog… if it exists. If blogs even exist in twenty years. Okay, let’s not go there.

So, back to our trip. This trip, I hope (fingers crossed) will be our launching pad to more trips like this in the future. I traveled a little bit before you kiddos were born. Not nearly as much as some of my friends who I would call real travelers, but still some. I spent much of my childhood in Japan, took a girls trip to Paris… and Egypt, got married in Italy and have taken trips here (Mexico) and there (England) occasionally. And while I was never particularly crazy about flying, I could deal with it. After 9-11 (I was scheduled to fly out of National to San Francisco that morning) I was even more nervous, but I still could manage. Then you were born Stella and whoa! Everything. Changed. It wasn’t all about me dying in a plane crash. Now, it was about missing out on your childhood and you not having a mother. Or even worse. We did fly once (to Vieques) when you were one but then nothing. For almost five years I wouldn’t step foot on a plane. I can’t remember what it was that finally made me say enough of this and take my first flight. I know the motivation was to go to a Cheryl Jacobs workshop, but I’m not sure what finally made me do it. Whatever it was, I’m so thankful for it.

I don’t have any expectations for what I want you to be or do when you grow up except for two things: I want you to love learning and I want you to travel. I believe traveling will make your more open, aware, kind, and sympathetic. And while, I’ll be a nervous mess (no doubt), I would even possibly support you all doing a gap year before you start college. This, by the way, does not mean a tour across the world of all-night-raves (Do they still even have raves?) in abandoned warehouses or remote fields.

Okay, back to the photos and our trip. This trip was so great for us. Stella, I was so proud of you. When Oma mentioned that she wanted to buy you snorkeling gear, I thought there was no way you would actually snorkel. Well, you both proved me very wrong. We could not get you out of the water. You saw sea turtles, squids, tons of fish and all sorts of things that I can’t even remember. You would go out farther and out longer than I would and I couldn’t be happier. I love your sense of adventure and your curiosity. You are so much braver than I ever was. Pilar, (and Ben too!) you also loved the water and while you didn’t snorkel, I have no doubt that you aren’t far behind. Saying St. John is beautiful is a huge understatement and I’m especially glad that you were able to spend lots of time with your Daddy, my parents and your Oma. I never take for granted how lucky we are that we can do things like this and I am trying to teach this to you too.

Before we left, I made the decision to only bring my film camera. I didn’t want to spend the whole trip with a camera attached to my face. I also didn’t want to come home to a thousand of images that I would need to cull and then edit. So, I bought some film and knew I only had a limited number of photos. I am so happy with that decision and think this will be the norm for our future trips too.

Future.Trips. I love saying that and I’m so excited for what I hope is to come. I’m dreaming big. Will it be the Spanish Colonial city of San Miguel? The Grand Canyon? An ancestory trip to Colmar, France or castles in Germany or Scotland (not sure we lived in castles, but let’s not get technical)? A trip back to Ravello where your Dad and I were married? Turkey? India?! Oh, and definitely Japan! There is so much I want you to see and to experience. The smells (These always seem to stick with me the most—I still have days when I stop dead in my tracks and say, “It smells like Japan right now!”), the sights, the food, the art, the music, the people. Mostly I want you to see that not everyone is like us (we are not the norm—there is NO norm) but at the same time, at the core, all people are the same; we laugh, we cry, we eat, we create, and and most importantly, we love.

Love you to the moon and back,



I’m so lucky to be included in the blog project “Letters to our Daughters” with a group of inspiring women who are not only talented photographers but amazing writers. Please visit the lovely Stephanie Beaty | Lifeography | Tampa Bay-Area Photographer to continue through the circle. I have admired her photography from afar for a while, but through this project I discovered her writing is just as beautiful as her photos.



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Sarah C - July 25, 2012 - 12:10 pm

I too am guilty of having countless photos from holidays and vacations just sitting on my hard drive. LOVE your letter sweetheart! So incredibly sweet to get such an intimate look at the life you share with your sweet family!! I can not wait to see all your future vacations too!! So beautiful!

julia - July 25, 2012 - 1:45 pm

Absolutely awesome. I can’t get over these images, and how they bring me along with you on your journey, and how they make me crave a chance to see more of the world with my kids. Your mastery of film takes my breath away Jody, your images are alive. Fantastic post.

Sally Brewer - July 26, 2012 - 8:08 am

Jody, These are lovely. I think you made a great choice with the film. Perfection. I hope you have these made into an album for each of your kiddos. What a beautiful memory for them.

p.s. I need to take you on my vacation.

Life with Kaishon - July 26, 2012 - 3:37 pm

I love what you were able to capture. Film is very special. One of my favorite mediums!

Rashmi - July 28, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Jodes.. i absolutely love each and every single photo. The one of your mum in the yellow coverup under the tree, pilar in the hotel room, even the strawberries. Promise you will make these into a book for your family? I know i would want to grab and peruse the photos over and over again.
I feel the exact same thing as you.. i want my kids to travel.. to learn by observing how the rest of the world lives. I do believe that when kids get the travel bug young, it translates to becoming world travellers when they are older. The ‘Rest of the World’ should not just be a vague intellectual idea.. it should be a possibility full of adventures. All children need that. Heck, I think many adults would benefit from it too!

Amy Lucy Lockheart - July 29, 2012 - 8:04 am

Jodi, this is just so incredibly beautiful! Your photos are amazing and the colors are glorious. Your letter is so rich with emotion — What a treat to get to know your feelings about your children and traveling. I, too, hope that we can travel with our children someday. xoxo

Aileen Reilly - July 29, 2012 - 8:11 pm

Oh Jody, these images are fantastic. So gorgeous. You nailed every single one of them. And I love the accompanying letter (and your sharing of it). So glad to have “met” you via the internet and look forward to meeting you in person soon!

Kirsty - August 1, 2012 - 7:41 am

You knew I was going to love this one didn’t you??? I so love that you share these amazing experiences with all your kids and it enriches them and opens their eyes to a wider world – can’t wait to see where your further travels take you to over the years. Oh, and you’ve inspired me to learn film and cut down on my holiday shooting – your pictures are AMAZING Jody

kate - October 7, 2012 - 5:18 pm

your work is so beautiful and so amazing. when I have kids, I can’t think of anyone else who would photograph them

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