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Editor’s Note: This month, we welcome the addition of “Always an Adventure,” a semi-regular column by Upstate Parent’s cover photographer, Nakeshia Shannon. She’s a creative mind and a busy mom of three children. 

I’m Nakeshia, a wife and mother of three beautifully chaotic kids. I’m a naturally creative person; my job ultimately reflects that. I’m a photographer, and for years I have shared stories of our controlled chaos and lessons learned with friends on social media just so someone else could laugh at my pain and see my heart. 

At some point between the ages of 1 to 3 years old, each of my children have covered themselves in Vaseline. My son did it when he was 2 and I was photographing a wedding. I received a frantic text from my husband, who said our son was supposed to be taking a nap, had gotten into the Vaseline and made his way into the living room to confess his sins visually. Of course, I found it funny and was secretly happy to be far away from home and to let him clean up that mess. Now my son is 9, and if it isn’t video games, comic books or something that can be built, he’s not interested. 

My oldest daughter wore a tutu daily for two years straight. She’s always had a colorful style. I had to lean on YouTube and the Pinterest moms to figure out how to make them so she wouldn’t wear the same one every day. She loved modeling for me with every creative idea I had behind the camera. She is now 7 and has her heart set on being a teacher. 

My youngest daughter is 5 and is me made over. She is a daredevil, outside-until-the-streetlights-come-on, sarcastic, dancing jokester. She’s had more unexplained injuries than her older siblings combined, but thankfully she wipes off the blood, straps on a bandage and goes back to playing. I find myself wondering more and more if we should be saving for bail money instead of college with that one. 

I struggled for a while juggling the various personalities and activities, keeping them busy and balancing it all. Still, I’ve learned to embrace the wild. Often, we find joy in the chaos. 

2020 forced us to refocus our energy. We were no longer slaves to our busy schedules. We were forced to sit down and reconnect. We went on bike rides, went on hikes, learned which natural water sources were best to drink from and which leaves are the best for art projects. And we discovered we could do a 10-minute mile together as a family. Things we forgot we did as kids we were able to do with our own children. You see, no matter what life throws at us, we know there’s always an adventure. 

Nakeshia Shannon is a photographer – including Upstate Parent’s covers – and mother of three. Visit her online at NakeshiaRenee.com

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