The “J” Family

The way it feels to have a little body tucked tightly into your lap. The way it sounds when they carefully sound out the big words, one letter at a time. The way the pages rip when their too excited hands reach to turn it just a bit too quickly. Feeling the stickiness of pages that have been touched before tiny hands have washed the syrup left over from the morning pancakes.

The way their hands feel tucked inside of yours and wondering–will they take my hand tomorrow?
Picking them up and holding them tight for one second longer and breathe in the sweet scent of shampoo mixed with the days snacks.

Catching their toes as they wiggle to the beat of their own tune.
Feeling tiny hands touch your face and watching as they unclasp and re-clasp your necklace.
They way they squeal into the air “higher! higher!” with every push on the swing.
The way the grass feels as you sprawl out together.
The creek-creek-creek sound of the swing as it sways back and forth, back and forth.
The way the golden sun feels warm on your face as you stand together under the evening sky.

Each family is different, I know. Our histories shape us and our hearts guide us. One step at a time, each family makes a path all its own. Decision by decision we write a story that has never been and will never be written again. And while one family looks completely different than the next, I’ve learned that there is a commonality that runs deep among us all–an understanding of brevity of our days.

Maybe it’s having small humans that change so rapidly inside our walls that makes it impossible to deny the passage of time. One day the top of their heads reach to our knees and seemingly the next day, there they are standing as tall of our shoulders. The question is constantly pondered, where did the time go?  There is no time for pondering, though, the time just keeps marching.

So instead, we drink it in. We dive in and love fiercely and fully. We celebrate the teeny tiny details and recognize that the most spectacular things are not things at all. We suck all the marrow out of today knowing that this is the only place I want to be.

And even on the days when we feel like we barely survive, we still lay our heads down at night and look for them–the little moments that gave the day life. A tiny laugh, a glint in the eye, a lesson taught, a lesson learned.

In the end, it’s all beautiful.


I am so fortunate to have met this family who so fully understands the gifts they have. The way they love each other deeply. The way they take time to make the moments matter. A family made richer with the gentle hands and open laps of grandparents. Sara wanted to capture their every day. The presence of her parents in the lives of their little ones. She wanted to document the gift of these moments because she has a deep understanding of the passage of time.

I loved walking through the home of this family and seeing years of photos on their walls. The passage of time celebrated and documented. Their story unfolding quickly, moments gone, but memories captured to remember and relive whenever they choose. This, I believe, is the gift of a photo. Not perfect poses, or perfect light–it’s the capturing of time in the only way we know how. The gift of a photo is the stories we tell with them.

Remember that day when Daddy pushed us so hard on the swing we almost touched the tree?
Remember, the way Breckie refused to get on the dock without his life vest?
Remember when we had the photographer come the day after Basil’s birthday and all the decorations were still up?
Remember the way we had to work so hard just to get a photo of the two of us alone?

The photos are nice, yes, but the stories. . . the stories are what matter.

Oh, the stories this family will be able to tell. . .

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