Shameless photographer confession:
Up until COVID rocked our world, I never took my own kids out and took professional photos of them!
Eeeekkkkk. I know! This is so bad. But to be honest, I was always so busy between making sure all the kids were taken care of, sports were attended, house was clean, etc, etc, that after photographing my own clients, I didn’t want to touch my camera. It felt like “work” for the longest time. I felt like there was not enough time in the day! COVID creeped into the world and suddenly my maternity leave was forcefully extended. I had started maternity leave back in September after having an extremely rough year personally, and decided not to pick my camera back up until mid – late february. I was around long enough to open my studio and then BAM! QUARANTINE! So, as you can imagine, 8 months off essentially has really rocked my world in ways I didn’t know possible – all for the better at the end of the day. While I realize this is a very inconvenient, serious, even catastrophic event in some senses, I can’t help but find the good surfacing from all the bad. There’s no way I can sit and focus on the bad, while worthy of being some of the hardest times we’ve faced in our generation, when I have so many blessings sitting in my lap.
Aside from all the wonderful things I’ve learned about within my business, I’ve learned to be a different kind of mother also. Some days I still struggle, alot. I mean, who doesn’t being stuck at home 24/7 with 4 kids, but really, I have found myself learning how to parent on a whole other scale. I feel like growth is so important in life in general and so having the opportunity to grow as a mother is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve encountered because I’m able to recognize where I was, where I am, and that the journey to where I’m going is following the curve.
I’m not sure I’ve heard “mom” so many times in a 60 second period, enough that I’ve literally wanted to pull my hair out, IMMEDIATELY! I may or may not have found myself stomping through an open field, cussing at the top of my lungs from frustration. . . . I have possibly found myself throwing a fit over my husband mashing MY MASHED POTATOES for me when I felt like the one adult thing I “had” was being taken away from me (he was trying to be helpful). . . And I may or may not have found myself locked, a few times, more times than I can count, in the bathroom just letting out a goooooooddd ol’ ugly cry. But these moments, all of these moments that I would on a normal day say “Man, I’m freaking failing” to, make me realize that I’m actually doing a great job – and I pat myself on the back for that. And all of you should too! It’s okay during these times, when all of our worlds are shaken, to feel stressed. . . and tired. . . and exhausted . . . and depressed.
Out of the “ashes” of what’s happening in this world I have found a better appreciation for my children within this all. I have stopped to count the eye lashes on their lids while they sleep in my lap. I’ve given extra hugs, extra kisses. I’ve kissed LOTS of scraped knees & elbows, and even a nice head injury that required some sewing up. I’ve taught hard life lessons about actions & their consequences, lessons that even shook my soul a little bit. And in those moments, I learned to give tough love in the most gentle way. I’ve taken my kids out, and I’ve photographed them. I’ve searched the depths of their souls through the lens of my camera and I’ve found little bits of personality that I never knew existed. I found new beauty within the lens and I began to see them in a different light, and I fell even more in love with them – and I never thought that was possible. But, put all 4 of those beautiful children together in one photo, pull it up on the big screen and your heart just burts because that’s yours. . . That’s all yours. YOU created that. It’s those moments when you realize that you are on an equal playing field – we are one in the same, just trying to navigate through times that we were just thrown into, without a life vest, without instructions, without anything.
And we are all surviving together. We are all going to come out on top, better than ever.
It’s a beautiful thing.