A couple months ago, my 10 year old daughter and I were looking for something Dustin had put on YouTube and we stumbled across these videos we’d made of her when she was two. Way back then our phones weren’t smart enough for video, and so we’d run out and bought a video camera on a whim. We wanted to remember her so small and funny and perfect. And we made a handful of videos, got busy, had another baby and then life got real crazy and I forgot about those videos of her. And now she’s ten.
But there we were, in my office, looking for something totally different, and miraculously stumbling onto this time capsule of her tiny voice and too short bangs because she decided to cut her own hair. I sat there and marveled at that tiny human, who now sat next me with a college reading level, a Minecraft obsession, and a whole bunch of thoughts and dreams so much bigger than I ever thought she would. Hearing that tiny voice belt out songs from High School Musical 3 (she was OBSESSED!) made tears spring to my eyes and my chest tighten like a vice. That little baby girl was gone. Next to me was a girl hurdling toward her teens, toward a life all her own. It was in that moment that a thought I’d had periodically came rushing to me with fervent need. The tears and the tight chest were not mine alone. There have been thousands and millions of parents before me with those same tears and tightness. And there will be countless after me with those same feelings. Because, somehow, in the rush of every day our babies had become the humans we had dreamed they’d be. No longer were their voices small. No longer did I have to listen very closely to know what they were saying in the hope to understand them. No longer did they depend on us for every little thing. Time keeps pushing them taller, unleashing them from our arms, releasing them to the world. Sitting and watching Lauren watch those videos of her two year old self I was filled with love, wonder, awe, and sadly, regret. Regret that there are so few videos. So few moments with her voice and her personality and her just being her. I have so little to show her of the years she can’t remember. Worst of all, there is absolutely NOTHING of the three of us together. Then we added a whole other person to our family and there is even less!
That day, watching her watch herself sing and dance was the catalyst for me taking an idea that had been bouncing around in my brain for about a year and finally committing to it. With my family portrait sessions I am now offering video as well. This is a whole new ball game for me – a different way of seeing. But after the few sessions I’ve done I know this the right place to be.
Lisa and Geoff have been dear friends from the moment they hired us to photograph their wedding almost eight years ago. They went from clients to friends in the blink of an eye. We have shared SO much together – from vacations to holidays and more. It has been my distinct pleasure to photograph their family from the very beginning. Their engagement, wedding, maternity and the birth of both their children. As Lisa got ready for her second child to arrive earlier this month, I thought about her almost constantly. I knew the road she was about to travel and my heart was with her as she was about to begin her own journey. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the chaos of becoming a mother of two. I had being a mom of one down so pat, I was sure I’d be good with another. But man! Talk about your world getting turned on its ear! That adjustment to parenting two kids was really, really hard time for me. Looking back, I can’t remember very much at all of that time. I don’t remember more than little snippets and glimpses. I can’t remember their voices. It’s hard to bring an image to my mind of how small they were, how their bodies moved, what their smiles looked like. I wanted to give my friends the gift of those memories during a time that someday soon will be so very hard to remember. To Lisa and Geoff I wanted to gift the sounds of their children’s voices, and how they moved through the space of their home and how very, very much they are loved. I hope, beyond anything else, that 10 years from now – 20 years from now – 50 years from now – they will still have this gift to open again and again; to remember that once the people standing next to them were small. I hope they will see the treasures they created now and then. I hope, in the best possible way, this gives them years and years of tears in their eyes and the tightening of their chests.