I’m going to attempt to not write a novel. My disclaimer is, if you don’t want to read this, just enjoy the photos. If you do plan to continue reading just beware because I didn’t have a proofreader. Ignore the errors and try to hear what my heart is screaming!
My kids have been a little under the weather lately, so I told myself it was “focus on them” time and not “try and get as much work done as possible during the in-between times’ time. However, because Hazel is better and went off to school and Ben is sleeping more then normal, I had some extra time. Instead of squeezing in work I chose to relax. Relaxing for me is my own photos. I looked back over pictures I’ve taken of my family since Ben was born (almost a year ago, yikes!). Wow. I had an epiphany. Not a huge one but an eye opening one nonetheless. I have a family member expecting a baby almost exactly 1 year after I had Ben. I’ve been watching her and thinking a lot about my time carrying Ben. I was in really good shape before I chose to get pregnant with our third child. I was optimistic that this time I wouldn’t be sick on the couch and by the toilet for almost 9 months. It didn’t work out that way. I again (for the third time) gained a lot of weight, didn’t do much, and just tried to survive as my body shut down everything normal in order to grow a baby.
I also had grand hopes for photographing my third baby, although I’m not sure I even realized it. I didn’t know with my first two what I know now about photography. I’ve always know that I love images and photographs. I love the emotion and the memories. Those things have always been the most important but now that I have greater skill I wanted to be able to use my little baby to take gorgeous, well thought out images. I’d developed my skills and my style both photographically and artistically and I was going to take the most amazing shots of my newborn. He was mine and I could take whatever photos I wanted, whenever I wanted. After my first two babies came I was pretty good about getting away and out of the house to keep me sane and life balanced. I expected that to be the same the third time. Funny thing with having children, our bodies, minds, and hearts do what they want.
I didn’t want to set my baby down long enough to photograph him. I didn’t want photographs of just him, I wanted those heart tugging images with me and him together. I wanted to FEEL what we are and what we felt together as mother, baby…family. I didn’t want to just capture a pretty picture and more then that I didn’t FEEL like anything but holding him and kissing him. I loved having my babies with the first two but this inability to leave was a new feeling for me. I got so frustrated because I couldn’t find a time where he was fed, I was fed, everyone was dressed and groomed appropriately and I didn’t want to cry. You might call it baby blues, you might call it depression. There may have been some of that, but while looking back at the photos today I realized it was more…wanting…longing…to hold on to these precious moments…and to never let go. I couldn’t take portraits of just the baby because they didn’t give me the emotion I wanted. I couldn’t make it just pretty. I couldn’t see the emotion through the lens. The emotion I capture for others I just couldn’t seem to get for myself.
This image is one that I have never shared with anyone but my husband and my mother. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t share it then. It was too precious to my heart. It captures exactly what I FELT about my little family during Ben’s first months.
I had no idea where my business was going to go. I had pretty much stopped marketing during the time I was pregnant. I had photographed a wedding near Albany, NY and a family reunion on Lake George, NY while I was pregnant and sick. I just “faked” my way through those events. The photographs turned out great but it took me a WEEK to recover and with 3 kids who has a week to recover? In my head I was sure I would be ready to jump back into the business end and the creative end of Images of U Photography very quickly after the delivery. What I soon discovered was that working my business would involve not only leaving my baby but also setting my baby down! I kept going with life but I was very confused. It just didn’t make sense to me. I struggled to figure out what was happening within me.
Business picked up. Past marketing paid off and fall/winter was the busiest year yet for us. I loved it and things started to click again. The baby grew and I forced myself to take breaks from him. It’s amazing to me that it’s almost been a year and I’m just now clueing into what was going on in my mind and my heart. The photos from that day in our backyard that I’ve posted here aren’t perfect. I’ve lost multiple 10’s of pounds since we took them. Our eyes are darker then I wanted. My shirt needed a lint roller. The cropping was all off, especially on the ones of Dad, baby, and Mom because they were taken by 6 year old big brother. All that being said, I see now what I wanted, but didn’t realize it, then. I wanted to see in my photographs the emotion I felt as a Mom. These photographs captured one side, the fun we have as a family but I didn’t get the really sweet ones. The sweet emotion I feel when I hold Ben.
I’ve been told a MILLION times…”enjoy it while their young because they grow up to fast.” Yeah, yeah, yeah I always thought. I know that. I’m basically a stay-at-home mom. I don’t miss a thing. I’ve seen every first step and every first grin. I’ve seen EVERY first. I haven’t missed a thing and I’ve loved it all. But as my oldest is now 7, and my newest is a precious brand new baby from heaven, I finally get what all those old ladies were talking about. Right now is so precious. We can’t keep them young, nor do we really want to. We can enjoy all the moments, which I think I’ve done, however, what we can’t do is bring back lost memories. I’m starting to forget what it was like when the oldest was a baby. I’m starting to forget the images in my head that I drew upon to FEEL the precious emotions that came with those moments in my life.
In summary, I don’t regret anything from the years as I’ve watched my family begin to grow. I have been here for all of it. I’ve yelled more then I should and worried about things that were necessary but hey, I’m human, and a girl so I don’t stress over those mistakes! What I worry about…what I truly worry about deep down…what I worry that I will hate and regret in 10, 20, 30 years from now is forgetting. I. DON’T. THINK. I. CAN. HANDLE. FORGETTING. I need to remember when Scotty broke out in song or when he yelled, “Oh no! A whale, I better run!” when we taught him about Jonah. I want to remember Hazel scootching around the floor on her bum and carrying things between her legs. I want to remember how they looked at me. I want to remember how they cried and how they laughed. I just want to REMEMBER.
Here’s to our memories. The good. The bad. The ugly. They are our memories. And where are memories fail may our photographs fill in the gaps.