Photo by David Michael Photography

I love creating and capturing memories. It brings serious joy to my life to see memories in action. Growing up, my family kept hundreds of photos spanning multiple generations. I remember times that I would overwhelm my mother with questions while going through boxes, books, and bins of family history. I wanted all the details. The who, the what, the when. I was so intrigued to know what inspired that image. No photo is ever taken without a story or memory to go with it. Those photos have since been passed down to me and I cherish them deeply.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with our son I knew family pictures were in our future. I felt a sense of obligation to continue to document our family history. Besides the hundreds of iPhone photos it was nearly 6 months before we had photos taken as a family of 3. For years I had admired the work of one particular individual. His ability to capture the essence and emotion of a moment in a single snapshot was what drew me to his work. I was ecstatic when our calendars lined up. The three week wait seemed to drag on forever as I waited patiently (read: antsy) for our album to be ready. I was so excited when the Email hit my inbox.

In each image I saw laughter, smiles, and our individual personalities shine through. I see my husband and son making faces at each other (like they do 99% of the time) and the three of us playfully giggling during my favorite time of the year.

As I was scrolling I kept going back to the image of the three of us.

There was a weightlessness amongst the three of us. A simplicity that says in that moment we have everything we need. For just a split second there was no stress of school, work, or other responsibilities. Although based on their faces my little guy is not enthused and my husband would rather be cleaning his truck.

This is my favorite image of me specifically.

This image is the culmination of everything I hope to be for myself and my family. Motherhood is one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to. The joy on my face reminds me that motherhood is also the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. One day, though not yet, I will reminisce on the newborn cuddles and the sleepless nights.

When I look at this image I am overcome with a strong sense of responsibility. Y’all I’m raising an adult. Yes I’m also raising a baby but that baby will grow into an adult that has been observing me for his entire life up to that point. Everything I do and every choice I make will influence his life one way or the other. I’m not saying every decision is life or death but on the big things, the things that do matter, I can only hope that I walk a path worthy of following.

This image pushes me. It pushes me to be healthy, take care of myself, and be responsible when the situation arises. It also pushes me to not take myself or life too seriously. It pushes me to leave the dishes and the laundry and go play outside. To eat hot fudge sundaes for no reason other than it’s Tuesday. To be there for a friend in need. To make eye contact and engage with others. To show my son it’s ok to be scared but not to let fear hold you back. To show him that life isn’t about money or cars or houses or careers. To show him that it’s ok to let loose and forgo the “shoulds” for the “want tos” every once in a while.

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