During a bedtime conversation with my young son recently, he asked me what I want to be when I grow up.

I was a little stumped by the question so in that moment I told him I want to be a good mom but I know the kind of answer he was looking for. I understand his curiosity and the search for guidance as he decides who he is and what he wants to do in the world. That question gets thrown out there when we are wee ones but at a certain point in life nobody asks anymore. It made me reminisce about childhood dreams and aspirations.

When I was nine years old I wanted to quit school to go work with my Zio Nino (uncle Tony) who had just started his own concrete finishing company. I spent an entire summer week proving my ‘skills’ by patching up the floor in the old garage on our farm.

Needless to say I did not become a concrete finisher although I do love making things and working with my hands.

My childhood dream jobs continued to range from farming, making pizza, raising worms and building forts to wood working and teaching.

When I was 17, I borrowed my uncle’s old Pentax Super camera for a trip to France and Italy.

Not knowing the basics of the camera, I ruined most of the images from France. When I got to Italy, another uncle, who is a photographer, taught me how to use the camera. Once I learned the fundamentals, the camera was my new tool of choice.

After working with him in Italy for a year, I returned to Canada and have continued to learn and grow as a photographer ever since. From film and darkrooms to digital and desktop, I enjoy the technical and creative aspects of photography equally. Having different creative outlets keeps my mind fresh.

I am a mother of two amazing children who teach me new things everyday. I am a life partner to my soul mate D’Arcy who, right from the start, just ‘gets’ me. For my first birthday together, he bought me a four inch grinder which has more meaning than he will ever know.

Aside from commercial photography, I also run a blog with my good friend Anna. Check out www.nonnasway.com where love of family, food, and gardening come together to preserve our nonna’s recipes and traditions.

I find purpose and meaning through my photography, through food and family, and by keeping my culture alive by sharing it with others. So I suppose the answer to my son’s question is that I’m still growing and learning, just as we all should be. My dream for my son is that he can find his own meaning and purpose in whatever he does.