Maybe it’s my recent birthday; maybe it’s all the babies I get to meet; maybe it’s just time passing, but I get so wistful sometimes when photographing toddlers. Sometimes I’ll see one running a certain way, or turning their head just…so, and it reminds me so much of my daughter Jenna when she was a brand new person. I have a lot of photos of her when she was little, but there are just some things I missed.
Anyway, this morning I got to see some old clients–Audrey & Dave, their son Jonah and their awesome dog Luna. I photographed Jonah awhile ago when he was a baby. Not a newborn, but still so far from toddlerhood. He just recently turned two, and Audrey asked me to come and photograph him before he becomes a toddler, because you know, once that starts, they grow so, so fast. I know from personal experience that this time passes so quickly. Oh, it feels very slow, for sure. The long days of chasing a comet through the house while hunched over, the naps that seem to last, oh, all of about two minutes, and then just when you think you’re never going to get to sleep in on the weekend again, poof! They’re grown and are moving out of the house.
I think Audrey is brilliant. Jonah is starting to talk clearly; he’s grown so much just since I last saw him. He’s already lost most of the newborn baby fat. I’m sure that when Audrey & Dave are looking at him, they can see the child he’s growing into, and the man he’s going to be. Having photos of your baby’s everyday routine–playing with the dog, struggling to get onto the couch then bolting off and screaming at the top of his lungs–those are the things you’re going to want to remember. Those are the things that are rarely photographed, because, you know, when we get our picture taken we sit up straight and we look at the camera and we smile, and while it’s a picture of us, it’s not all of us; it’s not our entirety. You know what I mean?
Photographing babies and kids has taken me down some amazing, wonderful roads of nostalgia that I didn’t even remember were there. I’m forever grateful to the moms and dads who let me into their homes, into the life of their child, to take part in their own little grand scheme of life.
With everyone online now, especially in places like Facebook (where I am always to be found when I should be posting here), there are just so many pictures of everyone and their kids, right? But the vast majority of those photos are at places, events, that you just couldn’t forget: a first trip to Disneyland, riding a bike for the first time, birthdays, family reunions and holidays.
Sometimes, the smallest moment can become the most meaningful. And sometimes, when you’re smack in the middle of the chaos that is being the parent of a baby or toddler (I call it “Babytown”) you get so many of those moments they become mundane. Nothing special, they happens a bazillion times a day. But through the eyes of someone else, they can be new again. They’re the things a mom wants to remember, but doesn’t know it yet.
It’s really amazing, my job. It’s more than a job, I don’t know what else to call it, but I know that meeting someone, like Jonah, on the precipice of life itself can be intensely amazing and wonderful and satisfying in a way that none of my previous jobs could even come close to.
Obviously a little emotional today, thanks for reading. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic; I mean, not everything your kid does is a golden egg with an everlasting memory inside it, but the thing is, when they’re that young, you really don’t know which ones are the special ones until they’re years behind you.
Be good to your littles, including the beasties.