As my daughter and I strolled through Target yesterday we stopped in our tracks at the new school supplies section. While I personally love school supplies and the yummy smells that accompany them (erasers! fresh notebooks! crayons in... more colors than actually exist in the natural world!), I thought Dylan was going to cry. I thought I was going to cry. Our jaws dropped and I panicked, checking my cell just to see what date it was (hey, it's hard to keep track). "But Mom, we CAN'T go back to school, we haven't done anything fun yet!" she pleaded. Oh, come on, we're at Target, I thought. What's more fun that that??
Rest assured we have had a great summer so far, but six-year olds have reeeally short-short-term memories. She couldn't remember past the previous day spent catching up on chores around the house. Prior to that we had spent a fun weekend with good friends at Virginia Beach followed by a week in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Hours in the waves. Putt-putt. Fisher's caramel popcorn served warm and gooey at the walk-up window. Fourth of July fireworks and sparklers. Sandy sandwiches. Grotto's Pizza. Anchoring off tiny islands and crabbing for hours while playing Scrabble. Bike rides. Fishing. Movies. Sleeping in. Losing track of time.
On the work front, lots of great things going on that I can't post quite yet. A few cool magazine features, beautiful weddings, and really fun bridal shoots. August should be a great blog posting month so keep coming back.
I did not take very many photos on our trips except these few momentous occasions. It may sound criminal to not whip out my camera on vacation, but it's a choice I have to make sometimes between participating and observing. And at the rate this summer is flying by, I'd much rather join in!
I have typed and erased this entry ten times over the past week. Once I even had four paragraphs written but it didn’t sound right. It just didn’t tell the story right. I really want to get it right.
This is a happy story. About a family and their new baby girl, Ella. About the crazy love that sets in the minute you lay eyes on your child for the first time, bonds that run deeper than we can understand, and even about cute twin siblings who con you into thinking they are shy but then stand two inches from the lens, front and center. And want to show you their toys. And follow you everywhere, those gorgeous blue eyes trained on you unless they hear "gummy bears" and tear down the hall to find the magical source.
I met this lovely family through Noah’s Children, Richmond’s pediatric hospice, and Kathy, social worker extraordinaire, to whom I have gladly given my services over the past five years taking photos of incredible families just like Ella's.
Here's the hard part of the story. Ella has a chromosome disorder that will significantly shorten her life. She might not have made it to birth, wasn't even supposed to make it home from the hospital. A year is optimistic.
Ella just celebrated her one month birthday. To this family, whose dream at one time was just to meet Ella, or hold her once, this is the most precious blessing. They feel like the luckiest people on the planet. They know what will come, but are living every moment in the moment. They are the reason this a happy story, their faith and strength are truly inspiring.
So they let me in, and I photographed them with Ella and her brother and sister. And as they always do, these Noah’s families, they affected me. Reminded me of how lucky we all are. How precious these little people in our lives are. How incredibly blessed we are for every single minute, every single day we have with them. To live in the moment.
Here is Ella's slideshow from our time together.