Age | 16

Photographer| Lisa Uesugi

My mom passed away on August 9, 2006 due to breast cancer. Along with the loss of my mother I feel I’ve also lost the ability to have fun and the desire to do things. I choose my father, Reed B. Sumner, so that he would know that he is really special to me. When I am with him I feel like I have to do better and work at the best of my ability because I want him to be proud of me. For a long time my dad and I didn’t get along. But he continues to prove to me that when I really need someone, he is always there. My dad and I don’t talk very often but when we do it can go on for hours and our conversations can get real deep. After talking to him I feel a sense of relief and a lot better. I want to tell him, “ You are my father and always will be. Nothing can change that. You mean a lot to me, you are the only parent I have left.” Through this project I want to prove to myself and everyone else that I can finish something I start and that I can do something outside of my comfort zone.

I am smart, strong, responsible and beautiful.
I can do whatever I set my mind to.
I will prove everyone wrong.

Sasha, or U‘i (meaning “beautiful” in Hawaiian), is my daughter. My wife and I had Sasha after 19 years of marriage and she’s our one and only. God blessed us with her and I’d do just about anything for her. I love her a lot. Sasha and I both miss her mom very much. She was the stronghold of our family. Sasha has some of her mother’s better qualities. She is kind, gentle and extremely considerate to me. Life hasn’t been easy because I’ve been an absent dad for a while. Being incarcerated and making poor choices prior to prison, I pushed Sasha away. I enjoy laughing and sharing sensitive moments with Sasha. She helps me get through rough days by giving me hope. She is in recovery with lots of clean time and she’s going to make me proud of her education. My dream for Sasha is that she graduates, is happy, leads a productive life and enjoys what she’s doing. “We – together – can still have hope because it’s not where we’ve been but it’s the direction we are headed in that really counts. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and with your willingness to work together we can achieve some of the best rewards this life has to offer…the love of one another. I want you to have hope for the future. We can make the little things in our life into lifetime memories. I love you!”

Reed | Father

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