In 2010 my daughter was born and two and a half years later my husband and I welcomed her little brother into our world. Every day since then has been filled with moments that I want to cherish forever. As a parent, those moments are everything and yet so ephemeral.
If you have children, you know how quickly they grow and how time seems to evaporate right before our eyes. I was told, sometimes very passionately and sternly by other parents to pause, to take time to appreciate every phase that our kids will go through, because they are fleeting moments. I tried to listen, I tried to comprehend it. I thought I did. Now that my daughter is eight and my son is six, the harsh truth of the advice I was given booms loudly in my head as a reminder of how quickly time passes and once gone, will never come back. I wish I had stopped more, watched more, listened more, played more, and cuddled more. The laundry, dishes and endless other tasks can wait. My children will not always want to snuggle into bed with me or hold my hand. There will come a day when I pick up my children for the last time and I won’t even realize it’s the last time. I don’t even want to think about not being able to scoop them up and hold them tight in my arms. I want to cherish and remember everything, every blessed detail about raising them. Thankfully, I’m a realist and I know now as I did back then, that in the whirlwind of raising two small children, I will forget half of those moments no matter how hard I try to burn them into my memory. I have forgotten so much already. The first few years after my daughter’s birth are mostly lost to me. Lost in a fog of sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
My saving grace and one small bit of compensation is my love of taking photos. In an attempt to try and preserve every moment, I started taking as many pictures as I could. I wanted to capture the baby rolls, chubby cheeks, the first wobbly steps, every twirl, every silly face and everything in between. After my daughter was born I was often struck with wonder and awe. I would watch her explore, laugh & play and think, I made that amazing little creature. If you are a parent you know that those everyday, unsolicited moments are the most precious, magical moments to be a part of. Back then I would attempt to capture my daughter’s laughter, her goofiness, her innocence. The photos never seemed to capture her the way I saw her. Special. Magical. Radiant. They lacked the life that radiated from her.
So driven by an intense desire to capture my kids the way I saw them and preserve all of the special moments my family was experiencing, I went back to school while I was on Maternity Leave. I took night courses in photography for purely personal reasons. I practiced and practiced and my images started to look the same as they did in my minds eyes. I got better and I got hooked. Hooked on successfully capturing our precious moments. Hooked on capturing the perfect smile that shows my daughter’s crooked teeth. Hooked on the way I was able to capture my son with his little round belly sticking out. Hooked on being able to preserve our life’s special moments the way I saw them.
Then I did my first photo shoot for a family other than my own. At the request of a friend I took photos of her and her young family. I was nervous, but oh boy! I was so amazed at the joy it brought me. I was so happy to be able to give that family a little snippet of their life, a keepsake, a few precious moments preserved in time for them to cherish forever. I knew that being a photographer and using my creative talents this way was going to bring me a satisfaction I had never felt before. It’s a wonderful and special gift to be able to document the smiles, the laughter, the love and the true beauty of life. I feel so fortunate to have the ability to do what I do. To be able to capture images for my clients that will be treasured for a lifetime. It’s hard to put into words the way I feel when I look back at the photos I have taken of my own children. It’s a strange aching combination of longing, heart squeezing pride and limitless love. If my clients feel even half of the way I feel when I look at photos of my family, then it’s all worth it.