The sacrifices involved in having children piled up quickly. There was the first time I sat at the kids' table at Thanksgiving - as an adult. There was the time I thought I was going to die, but it was just a contraction. There were also the times a baby peed on my shirt and I figured I could wait for it to dry. There was the shift in thinking that 9 pm was too late to be out but 2 am was not too early to be awake. I also remember the thousand times I looked at my husband and said, "What were we thinking??" He'd look at me covered in baby fluids, with unbrushed teeth and a frumpy shirt and tell me I was beautiful. I thought he was lying.
Then there was the other side - the time I saw my daughter's heart flutter on an ultrasound screen for the first time, the first time her impossibly small fingers wrapped around mine, and the first time she looked at me and knew who I was. There were also the thousand times I looked at my husband and said, "Isn't she perfect?" When she was sound asleep on his chest I thought he looked amazing.
My interest in photography can be traced back to high school before I understood its power in capturing moments that would otherwise be reduced to obscurity. When I hired our wedding photographer we paid quite a lot to remember what I thought was the biggest day of my life. Our last song of the night was "The Best is Yet to Come." And it was. Some of the wedding photos were replaced by pictures of the little people who glued us together.
Somehow though, it's easy to forget that's what they are. Which is why I love what I do. Life is hard, but a picture of a newborn baby can soften the hardest day. A picture of our kids loving on each other and laughing can carry us through the trip to the ER, or the job loss, or the cancer diagnosis. When life is hard, portraits remind us that it will get better. When life is good, they remind us of moments we might have forgotten.