There is something particularly special about travel sessions.
If I've been away from my own children for a number of days, there's an emotional muscle in me that needs to be exercised. That Mothering Muscle. It urges me to show up, ready to hold hands, gently brush away the hair out of wide-eyed stares, and laugh a little bit freer.
When Kelly approached me to photograph her husband and her with their newly two-year-old twin girls, a bit of anxiety built up in me. Not just one two year old at the session, no, two. As a mom who's had three two-year-olds in rotation at her house, this prospect was one that less than thrilled me.
But when I showed up, and saw their sheepish smiles, and the wee lambs they clung to with chubby little fists, butter, y'all. Melted like a cold dab of butter over warm pancakes (I just finished a Whole 45, excuse me while I can only make food analogies right now)
Getting to know the Sweerus family was so humbling. They drove me back to my hotel while telling me all they'd gone through to get their girls. And I was blown away. The first few years of parenting are immeasurably challenging, but to do all the normal obstacles, plus the battle of TTTS? It's no wonder I can see the love all over them like I do.
Here's more of Kelly's story:
"To say that we were surprised to be expecting twins would be a huge understatement. Lucy and Adrienne were monochorionic twins meaning that they shared a single placenta. During the pregnancy we developed twin-twin transfusion syndrome. The condition progressed to the point where the pregnancy was in jeopardy. We had fetal surgery at 19 weeks gestation and unfortunately my waters broke shortly after the operation with Lucy and at 25 weeks with Adrienne. We were lucky enough to remain pregnant until elective cesarean delivery at 34 weeks through the incredible dedication of our physicians and nurses. While the pregnancy was a very trying time for me as a mother, it was incredible to see Forest's dedication to his unborn daughters throughout the process. He slept on a hard bench in my hospital room every night for months while we waited to see how our story would unfold. He would up early in the morning to help me get ready for the day before heading off to work, only to come right back to the hospital to be with his family. It was a trans-formative time for us as a family.
Forest and I hope that we are raising kind, hardworking, confident girls. Our values are not unlike most families that we talk to. We are all trying to do our best in a busy world to be present and intentional in our parenting.
This is our first family photo session! Lucy and Adrienne just turned two and believe it or not things are MUCH easier than when they were infants. We have some pictures of them when they were teeny babies but were hoping to have memories of us as a whole family. My friend, who was with me throughout the darkest times of the pregnancy, is a professional photographer. She has admired Mae's work for years and sent me a note that Mae was coming to Seattle. The choice was easy at that point - we knew that she had to be the one to take our first family photos. The girls immediately took to Mae and were being really silly, which was a joy to watch. There is something that is so natural and genuine about Mae. I felt like I was hanging out with a new friend, who happened to have a camera!
As a first (and last) time mom, my expectations have been so far off from real life it is almost comical. Motherhood for me has been hard, messy, wonderful, emotional and completely different than the vision that I had for myself as a mom. Right now I am really enjoying raising these little girls. I keep saying - this is the best month yet!
Thank you thank you again :)