Motherhood is many things. It is a beautiful bond between a mother and her baby. Sleepless nights and long days filled with exhaustion. A love so deep that it cannot be put into words. Endless piles of laundry and spills in unexpected places. Hours spent holding our babies, gazing into their eyes and taking in their sweet scent. An overwhelming responsibility to guide these tiny humans, while second guessing every decision we make. It is a journey. One that is different for each of us. But the gravity of the title carries a depth that lives on indefinitely. Words of wisdom passed along from mother to child. Traditions kept over generations. As we stumble through this new role, while doing our best to appear graceful as we do, that bit of legacy is not lost upon us. We hope that the lessons we have learned and our own moral compasses will guide the way. That we are somehow capable of completing this journey. And that these little souls that have been left in our care will grow up to be good people, happy, and someday, wonderful mothers and fathers. They may even look back while on their own journey, and draw knowledge from some profound thing we once said or borrowed from a previous generation. We may not ever do it perfectly, but we understand this is a precious gift we have been given and we do our best, each day, to nurture it and help it grow.
Some photos from my session with sweet baby Milah at 4 months and her beautiful momma, shot in Buffalo, NY, are below. I just love witnessing mothers interact with their babies and this one, is a dream baby. And she arrived with her toenails painted pink!! I can't even!! These may be some of my most favorite photos ever!
This boy. He is so sweet and has so much personality. He could light up a room with his brilliant smile, shark teeth and all. He brought me the most beautiful hydrangeas from the garden and laughed as he told me his favorite ice cream is 'all the flavors'. He did his best to talk his parents into a rowboat ride, and may have his opportunity the next time he comes to this park. With tickles and hugs from each parent, he giggled and kept us all laughing. It is easy to see how much joy he brings to this family. He is the light of their lives.
Four months. It's such a magical age with a baby. They know we are their parents and they are finally interactive. Smiling, cooing, all those wonderful little baby nuances, yet they are still immobile and usually not teething. It's a really lovely season. Baby Patrick is such a sweetheart and has the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes. Although he was quite excited about moving his arms and legs, I hope I was able to capture this little swirmer's stunning brown eyes well! This baby boy was most content being raised up in the air or trying to eat his momma's shoulder. We forget about those funny little things they used to do, as they grow. I love this session so much because it really encompasses everything about having your first baby. Pure joy, tons of kisses, and doing basically anything to make him show those adorable, gummy smiles that we love so much!
She is a younger sister to two older brothers. Born with incredible resilience. Fiercely independent. She looks up to those boys like they are the light of her world, emulating everything they do. She is strong and feisty. She refuses to be left out. She antagonizes her brothers and tests us daily. She seems so advanced, doing everything early as she tries to keep up with those brothers of hers. We dress her up, but she likes to get dirty and throw herself at us with aggressive hugs. She demands attention and makes us laugh with her antics. She knows exactly what she wants and is not afraid to fight for it. She keeps us on our toes and answers us with a beaming smile when she gets caught. We say she is lucky because she has older brothers to protect her, knowing she will be just fine taking care of herself. She tries all day to be grown up, then snuggles up close to be babied when she is beyond exhausted. She lays in her bed and asks for each one of us to hug her goodnight. She breathes so much life into our imperturbable little world. We cannot imagine our lives without her, this fiery little girl.
I have just loved watching this sweet family grow over the last several years. Their littlest, and Tess are close to the same age and have similar, third child tendencies. These toddler/teenager inclinations can be both adorable and draining. The older siblings seem happiest when helping with the baby and the baby does not want any help at all. He is doing everything he can to prove he can keep up with the big kids. It is a familiar dance we move to around here. A constant mantra of "I do it, I do!" We help these little ones along gracefully, trying to balance their independence and common human safety. Constantly distracting when they can't quite make it. It is quite the juggling act, usually resulting in spontaneous tears rolling down their large, round cheeks. These babies turned toddlers have such strong will. I hope they will always maintain the tenacity they have now, this desire to do. But as I chase my littlest around, amidst all of her "doing", I'm silently begging for her to please stay a baby for just a little bit longer.
I just love this smiley little guy and that hair! We always talk about this because Ben has had a full head of hair since birth and has kept it all. When we saw him after a few months, he had tripled in size and that chestnut brown baby hair had changed to a thick blonde fringe. We still can't get over the number of haircuts he has already had in his 11 months. Ben really is the most pleasant, content little boy, flashing his huge grin when anyone walks into the room. This month is special. You only turn the Big One once. So, I believe in my heart of hearts, that it is a mother's right of passage to dress them up and let them smash a cake! But seriously, is there really anything cuter than a happy baby, full of birthday cake? I think not. Feast your eyes on a few of my favs from Ben's cake smash! Happy 1st Birthday Ben!
Children holding hands as the afternoon sun dapples the ground. Sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning. There is laugher and there are tears. Just as day turns to night, they will grow and flourish. These golden summer days etched in our memories to fondly look back upon. Filled up with nostalgia, remembering these capricious years.
"13 years ago, we lost one of the best, far too soon. We are so thankful for the memories he left us with, and the life lessons he so adamantly instilled in us. He would have loved spending time with his grandchildren - but they all know that Papa Homer is their angel in the sky." - Liz Manna
And so these grandchildren stood together, with some of the items their Papa held dear. Hand in hand, they laughed, jumped, danced together, chanting his name in memory. They say a hero remembered never dies. It is clear this man's legacy is very much alive.
Little boys. They are bold and rambunctious. They laugh wildly and roar loudly. They play rough and hug you tight. They love to wrestle and fight. We carefully wipe their faces of tears and bandage their bruises. Today, they roll through the mud and wipe it on our clothes. Over time, those dirty little handprints are imprinted on our hearts.
There is something so satisfying about holding a newborn baby. That aromatic baby scent. Their squishy little faces. The way they fold their tiny bodies into yours and fall into a sound sleep. Perhaps, I am reflecting on these nouances more because I know I won't have a newborn of my own again. Sure, the night feedings, and feedings in general are cumbersome, but this time of constant sleep and minimal movement is fleeting. I am forever happy to meet and hold your precious babies and am so thankful to be able to document this sweet season in your lives. Ruby Lynn was a dream. Below are some of my favorites from her newborn session!