It was Friday at 7pm and the blaring hot Texas sun was beating down on the back of my car. I had no idea where I was at, and all of my trust was placed in my GPS. I was on my way to meet Janice. We were going to discuss the details of her daughter’s Quincenera. I kept thinking about our conversation on the phone. Janice sounded so nervous; this was her first time hiring a photographer and I wanted to make the best first impression.
When I stepped out my car, I was blown away. I could hear music in the background, and every single member of the family was sitting out front. For a moment there, I thought I had drove to my grandmother’s house by mistake! This family was so similar to mine! I walked up to the front of the house and there was Janice: Sopping wet hair and standing in front of the open garage. She waved me over with a big smile.
“Yes, that’s me! Come on in!”
She gestured to the table in the garage and sat down. Maybe my face gave it away (I think so), but she gave me a sheepish look and said “I’m coloring my hair.” Ahhhh!
The plan was to stay for an hour, but I stayed until 10:30pm! I met every single family member that night. Cracking jokes left and right with everyone. One thing was apparent, family was more than just a word to these folks. I loved that on a Friday night the entire family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) showed up to the house. The Castro family not only welcomed me into their world, but they welcomed me into their family. I think I was offered a drink at least 6 times that night. I left the house excited about the next day.
The day of the event was a blur. It was busy and there wasn’t a single moment to breath, but the buzz of excitement never left. It was amazing to watch the entire family come together. A Quincenera is a big event in a young girls life.
During the mother/daughter dance. Janice held her baby girl as tight as could be. She hugged her from the start of the song and to the very end. She whispered in Selicia’s ear as they slowly danced to the music. Only Selicia could hear her whispers and she smiled brightly the entire time. It was as if they were the only two people there. Janice whispered softly, and sweetly cherishing this moment because after that night, her daughter would begin her newfound independence and run out to the world to explore.
The rest of the night was all about the party! Music was thumping, the drinks were flowing and the dancing. Oh, the dancing! It was non-stop! Everyone had a few dancing tricks up their belts. It was everything a party should be. As I got back into my car, a big cheer pierced the night sky. I thought of going back just to enjoy a few more minutes, but I instead I turned the ignition key and set off to my home.
When going through the pictures, I got teary-eyed. The level of love present was beyond anything I’ve experienced, and I am so thankful to have witnessed it.
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