barrhead photographer

A Full Time Referee

Mary's four sweet little ones are in a very busy time of life; constantly creating, snacking, scoring, jumping, farming, playing, and of course, battling. When Mary's first two were just babes, her neighbour had kids in this stage of life, and warned her "Oh, just wait for this, it is like being a full time referee", which Mary of course casually brushed off at the time. Now she laughs a little as she realizes that indeed she has become a full time referee herself. And of course, with the older ones in school, the dynamics are constantly changing.

Being a full time referee can be draining at times, and having a village around you can be everything. Mary has embraced her village by participating in a weekly coffee break and bible study for moms, and it has brought her the connections, the insight, and the respite to the world of adulthood that makes it possible to keep the referee in the game. I have now made it to a couple of these sessions and can see why she so values those moments and relationships.

Managing the changing dynamics can be a challenge, but observing them is such an interesting part of the motherhood journey. The littlest one is now the wild-card, and the game of choice is to see who can add her to their team. Of course, she has quickly learned to play right into this hand, choosing new allies each day, and making it known when she tires of being the plaything.

When you are so caught up in those early days of baby land, it seems that every moment has a new milestone; first teeth, first words, first steps... it seems sometimes like once all those great big firsts are over, the thrill will somehow fade. Yet the new milestones, while farther apart, are so big... each one a step closer to our biggest achievement and also, secretly, one of our biggest fears. They are growing more capable, more unique, and more independent. Growing closer to being a person who will one day stop needing us, because that is what we have raised them to do. And so we soak in every beautiful moment as they learn to read independently, and as they embrace their passion for hockey, and we savour this time when a few dolls can create an entire universe of possibility.

So during the fellowship at church this Sunday we were reminded by a mother just a few years ahead in her journey that we would miss these little ones rolling under the table at our feet. Reminded that as we enter the phase of being a friend, a guide, and a support, we will actually miss the days of wiping bums, carrying an extra body everywhere that we go, and being needed almost more than we can bear.

That is why these sessions mean so much to me; because sometimes these moments are hard to embrace when we are amidst the chaos, yet every wise mother has told us the cherish them.

One day we will long to step back to this moment, and in a way, we will actually be able to relive it. This is a gift to our future selves.

A Manifesto

brush watercolour calligraphy your love

Your Love…

…is a radiant beam of light that turns the dust wafting through the everyday into beautiful, sparkling magic.

It is your everyday inspiration, and the most important legacy that you will leave.

It needs to be documented in its purest beauty… to be made tangible for future generations.

To capture that raw emotion, to awaken you to its beauty, requires an artist that forms a real connection with the truth of your heart.

To be real and vulnerable, you need to be comfortable, safe, and confident.

We can create that safe space together, with guidance through wardrobe and planning, and a laid-back session full of cuddles and giggles, without the pressure of perfection.

Your love is an art; display it proudly, hold on to every glorious moment and never let it go.

A Truly Thankful Family

In honour of thanksgiving, and in support of living wholeheartedly, I offered up a session by nomination to a family appreciated by their friends and family as living with daily gratitude for the little things. The nomination came in from Jenny's friend Lisa:

"As soon as I read your post on Facebook, Jenny and her family came to mind. They have helped our family in so many ways despite any problems they were having at the time. My husband fell off a roof at work. He fell 14ft onto his head. He was lucky enough to walk away from it, but he needed major therapy to get him back in shape. Jenny at the time was about 8 months pregnant and didn't hesitate in providing him with the help he needed to be able to function in day to day life again. We were so excited for them when they welcomed their baby boy into the world. When he was 6 weeks old it was discovered that the newest member of their family had a severe heart condition. He has a hole in the bottom and top of his heart. He will need at least one, but very likely more, open heart surgeries. Much to their disappointment doctors at this time aren't wanting to operate. They want to wait until he is older. Jenny watches him gasp for air while eating, she bundles him up when his hands and feet turn blue from the bad circulation. I can't even imagine the grief they are going through as a family, let alone Jenny herself as she has to sit and do nothing while her baby boy struggles. I think it would be amazing if this family could get some memories caught on tape of their amazing love for each other and how they are overcoming this obstacle on their lives."

The video clip below highlights just a few of the special moments that I was able to capture in our time together, the beauty of the relationships that this family shares, in a candid and honest way. These documentary sessions are a special way to showcase the beauty of mundane everyday moments. Not only are these films and albums a treasured glimpse into the beauty of your love, they are an incredible legacy for your children, a true portrait of the love that surrounds them and the beauty of their childhood glee.

Jenny admitted to being skeptical of a session so candid, of being vulnerable to capturing the imperfections that all mothers feel. Sometimes no matter how grateful we are for what we have, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the heavy moments of parenting. Those moments when it feels like a lot of work, a lot of nagging, a lot of bickering, and a lot of chaos.

My favourite part of the process is being there when my clients are able to see their images for the first time, the emotion that washes over them as they realize that their life is every bit as beautiful as everyone else's appears to be. That in the moments of chaos there is always beauty. The youngest girl was with us as we viewed the images, and honestly did not see what the big deal was. I think that this speaks so much to me as a mother. To her, that beauty is always apparent. That is the love that she sees and feels every day, because even though it feels hard for mom and dad sometimes, her parents are doing everything right. She doesn't see that it is hard, she only sees that she is loved.

After I left, I received the most beautiful words from Jenny:

Thank you so much for making us realize the beauty in our own lives that we felt “must be missing!” Thank you for your talents! We will cherish these pictures ;)

What would it mean to see your family this way? What would it mean to your children to see this moment of their lives in such an honest way when they are grown? Are you ready to be vulnerable, to open your eyes to the beauty amid the struggle? Are you ready to be brave?