I don’t even know where to start with this one… so let me start at the beginning. While I was editing these pictures, I was thinking back on all of the years that I have been doing this thing I now call my art. If that sounds cliché for a photographer to say, it’s because it probably is… and because Ally was literally one of my VERY first clients! TEN YEARS AGO!!! So how can I not think back to all of the years gone by?
I still get nervous for most of my sessions after all of this time, but going into Ally’s session I knew it was going to be like hanging out with an old friend.. because it was! Her mom, Jess, was one of my very first friends in the first years after I moved to Wisconsin. I’ve done quite a few sessions with them over the years and I also photographed Jess and Matt’s wedding in 2015!
10 years y’all!
I delivered her gallery last night and told her I wouldn’t give her the pin to download them until I got this blog post up, but in the meantime Jess emailed me the most incredible testament to my journey that I just have to share:
“To you, this was just another Senior Session. But for me, it was SO MUCH more. First of all, I remember the day you ordered your first camera. I remember the day you came to my tiny, crappy apartment to take test pictures with my girls (which I still have the one you printed me). I remember being in your front yard for our first actual family pics. Your wedding pictures and I could almost see your mind working and all the ideas you got from them. Then our engagement pics and wedding of course!! Oh wait, can’t forget the boudoir pictures. Damn I was nervous but you nailed it!! It has been pretty amazing to watch you throughout this process, building an entire business by yourself. Take a step back and recognize all those important moments that you have captured through that lens. All those images you edited, stayed up late, sacrificed your family time for. I am here to tell you it was all 100% worth it. You did it.“
Oh my gosh did I need to read this, this week, Jess. On Wednesday I almost had a complete mental breakdown and I had to take a step back and take a break. I cancelled my session for that night and spent the evening with my family. On Thursday I woke up with the worst migraine I’ve had in nearly 19 years which I am assuming was a culmination of stress, got the bare minimum of work done for the day, and then took two naps, because when I am at my worst, my bed is the place I find comfort and feel safe. I left my house later that night with my extrovert pants (my workout clothes) on and taught some actually pretty awesome classes at Be Fitness (where you’ll find me at my other job, group fitness instructor!) which revived me mentally, then on my way out of the gym, opened up my email to read the above. To say that waking up today was different than the last two days is an understatement. I’m back. I’m okay. I’m good. I made it. I didn’t completely break down, only sort of, and I got myself back out of it, and YOU helped me with that, Jess.
This wasn’t just any other senior session to me. As I told Jess in my reply to her email, “I had a feeling while I was editing them that you’d be seeing glimpses of your life and the time gone by as you looked at them. Probably my favorite picture of all, is the one where you’re fixing her hair and she’s just looking at you with that “you’re my mama” look in her eyes. and shit, now I am tearing up.” As a mama to sort of big but still very small boys, all of my senior sessions mean a lot to me. I can look right into the young grown man or woman’s eyes that I am photographing and see the little boy or girl still inside of them. At the session, I see the tears welling in their mama’s eyes when they see their baby looking so grown up. And y’all, the first born is always the hardest. You just don’t think as a mother that time is going to go by so fast. I know that I speak for every one of my parent friends when I say that I can STILL feel the weight of my son’s infant form in my arms, and still remember the baby smell from the top of his head.
And now, I’m literally sobbing. That, my friends, is why I took a break on Wednesday. That is why I stayed home, that is why my kids didn’t say to me that night, like all the others recently, “You’re leaving again?”
It goes so fast. Another cliché, and one that is 100% true. Mamas, let’s remember to hold onto these moments while we have them. Also, I just realized today that I have a growing adorable collection of photos of mamas helping fix hair, put on shoes or swim caps, or just loving on their grown up babies!
A special shoutout again to Lannon Sunflower Farm for not only their awesome sunflowers, but the cool pictures we took in the hemp, too! Check them out… and go Wisconsin and Lydia’s Law!! We also shot at Menomonee Park and Lannon Quarry!