In Her Words: Maria J. Hackett, Photographer

I first understood love through my daughter as well as how she changed the relationship between her dad and I.

My daughter showed me that love involves acceptance, understanding, being grateful, patience and separation. When I say separation, I mean separating yourself from the other person’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Not taking things personally or it will become selfish. Letting another person be free to be who they are, of course, with respect and empathy. You have to see love through yourself before you can feel it anywhere else. When those are in place, there is an immeasurable amount of room for growth, understanding and connection.

Before, her dad and I both had this idea of love that the other person was the answer to our happiness. Or that our happiness was waiting for us somewhere out there in our dreams. So when that wasn’t happening, it makes one start blaming and searching for love and happiness through another. This is just what we saw growing up as well as what we learned from society. Images of one searching for that one person to make them happy. Quite an imbalance and unrealistic approach to true love.

My daughter showed me how to truly do things without expectations. To watch the actions and progress of true communication, patience and understanding rather than to expect my idea of how I wanted to see these things. I learned that her emotions and her behavior are all forms of communication and that’s what makes her so beautiful. Although tiresome at times, at the end of it all, we are learning of each other while she learns of herself.   Little Niyah allowed her dad and I to redefine our own love for each other as well as ourselves.
So overall, love is something that comes from deep within. It’s how you as an individual view yourself and life around you. Without that, you can’t see it anywhere else.