April and I didn't meet in any traditional way. I used to paint rocks for fun and I would leave them in random locations for others to find. Painting them was a form of stress relief for me and eventually, I found groups dedicated to rock painting on Facebook. April had posted one of my rocks she had found in one of these facebook groups and also mentioned her friend who had passed away from cancer recently. Her heartfelt words moved me to paint breast cancer awareness rocks just for her. She was so thankful and even left one of them at her friend's gravesite.
We instantly became friends.
April cannot be described in a few sentences. Her joy spills out onto everything she does. Her faith in God and passion for teaching young children fuels her daily. I had previously met April on the beach for a sunrise best friend shoot. It was so fun and different then anything I had ever done before. I also photographed her dog's birthday party and it was a blast!
When I decided to jump back into the photography business, I knew I wanted to get back to weddings. It's where I started and where I belong. I also felt a pulling towards a different type of session. I wanted to capture families just being families. Crying babies, messy houses and everything in between. I posted a short mention of these sessions on facebook and the response I had was amazing! I am booked up with Family Lifestyle Sessions after that post and my heart couldn't be any happier.
April and her husband Michael welcomed me into their home this morning, all of this after April ran a 6 mile race this morning. She's kind of amazing! Her husband recently retired from his service in the military and they are adjusting to their new lifestyles.
They started off their session with a quick game of spades. Michael taught April how to play and then they were off to cook breakfast together. As they went about their normal tasks, I just stepped back and snapped away. The love these two share shines so brightly. Watching them cook together & share memories was beautiful. April even taught me the correct way to cook bacon! (haha!)
After sharing a morning prayer, they enjoyed their breakfast and headed upstairs to read the Bible together. Each morning, these two lay together and Michael reads her a few verses from the Bible. It was such a sweet, kind moment between them. Of course their sweet pup had to have his space on the bed, too!
We ended our session in an empty room.
April greeted me when I arrived and shared with me that she wanted a few special photos in her third bedroom. Tears welled in her eyes and she briefly shared their struggle with fertility and why that room sits empty. She really wanted to show the emptiness of the room but the strength of their love for one another. We saved this for last because I knew it would be emotional for them both. I didn't expect it to be emotional for me. I have friends who have struggled with infertility and I have volunteered through NILMDTS, an infant bereavement service, so I have seen second hand both spectrums of the desire for a family. April and Michael each walked in gracefully as a quiet fell over the room. They brought along their sweet puppy's favorite stuffed fox and we posed for a few pictures. For me, these meant the most. Michael, who admitted from the start that he wasn't a fan of having his photos taken, stood strong for his wife as they held each other in this empty room. April grasped the stuffed animal and you could see the desire and love in her eyes for her husband and their future family. I am so thankful that these two trusted me to capture such a vulnerable moment for them. It's not easy and I realize that fully.
Thank you to both April and Michael for inviting me in, speaking with me freely about the easy and the hard things and trusting me to be the one to help these memories live forever. You both are so amazing together. I am thankful that we met, even by chance, and that it lead to this friendship.
I look forward to being there when that room is decorated. Keep shining!
I hope you enjoyed your birthday present from Michael!