I started the first draft of this blog on April 20. That means it’s been almost three months since I sat down to share this session! That time in my life was the kickoff to a very busy season both professionally and personally. These last few months have had some wild highs and profound lows, but before all of that, I made time to spend time with some of my favorite people.
In early April I flew down to Gainesville to visit Lauren and Derek, Lila, and the newest addition to their family— Titus Lee!
For two days I sat with my best friend as she nursed, bathed, and loved on her sweet new baby-man. I too sat and held Titus, staring at him for hours. I napped, was treated to a donut breakfast, rode along with Lauren as she went about her regular life-business, enjoyed the warm weather, sat in the sun, sipped some cocktails, ate dinner with friends, and even snuck in a lunch with my father, who also lives in Florida. And because I can’t go to Gainesville and NOT visit Hyppo, I did that too. Twice.
I also photographed life as it was happening for Lauren, Derek and Lila.
I’m not good with “down time”. I get antsy. Logan tells me often that I need to learn how to relax. I think I know how to relax, but it takes me time to wind down. When I go on a short trip, by the time I’m finally able to chill, it’s time to get cracking back to Real Life.
And while I did clean Lauren’s kitchen while she took Titus to a doctor’s appointment, I was able to be still and experience calm… which is funny, because I was hanging with a newborn baby with tummy issues.
So far 2019 has been serving up ALL the life lessons. There seems to be a spotlight on living peacefully and authentically. Now I know “authentic” has been watered down so much it’s practically a joke, but so far I have yet to find a word that better describes what I’m trying to say, so I’m going to roll with it.
Just five years ago when I began my business I thought I wanted a very different life that what I had then, and certainly far different from what I have now. My goals were not the same. I hesitate to say that my values were different too, but I feel that in some ways they were. I feel like I was #authentic.
My relationships weren’t as strong. I didn’t have a solid understanding of who I was at that point in my life. At least if I did, my mindset was that I wanted to change who I was rather than accept myself. I let my ego get the best of me, and instead of being real-deal authentic, I was trying too hard. (This pains me to write).
I’m sure if you’re just here to see baby photos you’re probably wondering what the hell any of this has to do with that. The thing is, I love being a photographer. I love getting to be a part of people’s lives. It’s really rather intimate, and after most wedding days or newborn sessions I feel a special kinship with those people I work with. I feel like I’m in the trenches with them during some of their most monumental life moments. It’s not uncommon for me to feel totally inspired by the people I work with, and when I sit down to blog, it’s never as simple as just showing photos. It’s a remembrance of all that I was able to capture— not just for my clients, but for myself as well. It’s that much more personal when it’s a session so near and dear to me.
Anyways, the point of all this is that I felt more like myself than I have in a very, very long time when I was in Gainesville, sitting with my friend, keeping her company, and loving on her the best way I know how. I appreciated our time together in a new way, and realized that I don’t need anything glamorous or luxurious to make me really happy. I don’t need constant entertainment, attention, or action to feel fulfilled. Like most people, I want to feel seen, heard, and valued. Lauren inviting me into her home, sharing these raw moments with me as we talked about all the things, was life-giving in a way I haven’t fully yet grasped.
Lauren is an incredible woman. She’s my go-to, my reliable source of sound advice; she always has a listening ear, is patient and kind, affectionate and nurturing. She’s also fierce when need be. She’s constantly teaching me lessons in grace. Lila and Titus are truly blessed to have her as their mother.
Yeah, I am totally gushing about this lady. She means the world to me.
Naturally, any of her offspring mean the world to me.
Derek has also eased into fatherhood with the cool confidence that IS Derek; he’s totally hands-on, a steady presence, and treats my girls like the queens they are.
It’s always sad to say goodbye, to know I can’t just get in the car and spend time with these guys in a matter of minutes, but I know another visit will always be sooner rather than later, and Lauren is always a phone call or text away. I’ll keep those two days close to me, and what they revealed to me even closer.
These are a few of my personal favorite images from our time together.