The room went quiet as if time stopped. They were words I never expected to hear. Disease. No cure. Amputation. This can't be happening. Not to me. This is stuff you hear other families experience, NOT mine. He is a normal two year old. He looks just like his twin brother. How will this effect him? How will he get to be a BOY without a leg? This is NOT what is happening.
After I picked myself up from the floor. Weeping and holding my baby as tight as I could, I did what any desperate mother would do...I called to set an appointment with a different doctor to get a second opinion... and then...
I called a PHOTOGRAPHER.
I desperately needed to document our lives before our new "normal" set in, the one I couldn't truly grasp could become MY reality. Bare feet and shorts. I needed a photographer to capture my three boys, each with a set of HEALTHY legs. One day he might not remember he was in fact seemingly perfect on the outside. That his leg was made of flesh and not plastic. That he could wear shoes and socks and have stinky feet just like his brothers. I needed that to be something he could hold onto when the days ahead got to hard. I needed that to be something I could hang onto when the days ahead were too much to bare.
Grace be to God that the diagnosis was indeed CORRECT, however we were lead to a doctor that was persistent in trying an experimental surgery and my son not only HAS HIS LEG but is healthy and in normal activities. He is also in medical record books for being the FIRST kid EVER to keep his leg with this particular disease!
*Image taken in 2007. Canon 20D and iPhoto edit. But it hangs LARGLY in my home and in my heart.
*Image taken in 2007. My most perfectly IMPERFECT favorite image EVER. shoes are on the wrong feet. The fat baby hands... the dimples and snaggle tooth grins... as years passed, THIS has became nothing more than a fading memory. One no matter how imperfect the image, will last with me a lifetime because I have this image.
A few years later...
It was 1am. The phone rang... oddly I knew what awaited me once I picked up. "He just took his last breath". Gone. Cancer won the battle and took my father away from those who loved him.
I slowly slipped out of bed not to wake anyone... walked into my office, turned on the light and dug through the photographs I had. I sat on the floor and as I flipped through the images I paid extra attention to details I had never really noticed before. His hands, that smile. It was almost like I could hear his voice. I sat there and wept over those images for the next few hours. The reality has become that these photographs and my memories were all I had left of my dad.
A few years ago I had a client. A lovely woman. Dressed to a T in her red soled shoes and always carrying her purse adorned with the designers initials. Her images were beautiful and she did loved them, but she just didn't invest in them. Sure her order was fine. It was on the average side of my client orders at the time. But oddly this angered me. It angered me knowing that she cared enough to invest into her shoes and handbags more than the precious images of her family, the life she LIVED. If not for her...for her children. One day, when her kids get that dreaded phone call, they will not get up at 1am to weep over her hand bags. Her grandkids will not sit holding her shoes and tell of the memories they had. No, they will pull out the images they had of her LIFE. The life she lived and recall the fun times and possibly the sad but all over PHOTOGRAPHS.
*image taken in 2006 and iPhoto edit. Early morning. Yesterdays makeup. Me in my pajamas and Paysli in a diaper and shirt. Held the camera myself and snapped hoping for the best... and I GOT it!
Yes photography is about ART. But more than anything photographs are about the he.ART of your loved ones. Photography is about capturing the moments in your LIFE that are inevitably going to change over the years. Get your family photographed and PRINT THEM... you never know who will get the most memories out of them. Hang them on your wall. Display the love you have with your family and friends. They do not need to be perfect...just perfect to YOU.
*Image taken 2011. Dirty jeans. Untied shoes. It is perfect to ME.