Here's the Reader's Digest version:
I've been married for almost 12 years.  I have three beautiful children.  The four most important days of my whole life are these: the day I got married, and the day I delivered each of my babies.

It makes me weep to admit that I have almost no photographs from any of those days.  It's a fact that haunts me every day, and will only become more painful as the years go on.  It is my single biggest regret.

We eloped.  Well, we essentially eloped.  We told immediate family and three mutual friends.  We had dated for a while and were engaged for three weeks.  I borrowed a friend's dress.  He wore an old suit.  It was sweet and simple and intimate and very much "us".  I have no regrets from that day except for the fact that we didn't hire a proper photographer (oh, and that whole doing-my-own hair thing?  That was a big mistake too... but I digress...).
 
So there's that.

Then there's the lack of me-and-my-children photos.  I know people who look amazing after just giving birth.  I've seen their pictures (you know, the ones on Facebook where the new mother looks like she just had brunch with her girlfriends at the Nordstrom Cafe?).  I'm not one of those people.  I'm the kind of new mom who looks like a Chocolate Lab who just had 10 puppies.  And while at the time, the last thing I wanted was a camera in my face, I now mourn the fact that I have no pictures of me and my babies in the hospital.  These are things that can never be replaced. 
Never, ever, ever.

I studied photography in college when I attended Northern Arizona University in the late-90's.  At the time I studied landscape photography and only shot film.  At some point, it just didn't fill me as much as it once did.  But as I learned more about myself and my own style and emotion, I started to develop in my art.  I realized that I could be more than a picture-taker.  I could be someone who gives others a gift- the gift of memories.  It started to dawn on me that I can't go back and change my own past.  I don't have the precious images that I long for from the most important days of my life, but I do have the ability to give that to others, and in doing so, bless their lives. 

This is what drives me.  This is what excites me.  This is where the "passion" comes from that so many photographers claim to have.  I have passion about my art because I pull it from a place inside of me that is raw and tender and emotional.  I give to people a gift I can never have, but that I long for.  I would pay any amount of money to have four missing albums on my shelf today.  I can't ever have that, but I can give it to others.

And somehow, in a way I still don't understand, that kind-of makes it okay.