When Julia contacted me to do a Lifestyle Shoot for her five children, I was excited to take it on! A Lifestyle Shoot is really just a peek into a day in the life of a family. The shots, for the most part, are completely candid. The kids dress themselves. Mom hangs out in sweats. It is just the most casual, fun, low stress shoot I offer. And, it was PERFECT for these children. Normally, when I go to a family's home to do a Lifestyle Shoot, the Mom and Dad want to be in front of the camera, too.
But, not in this case, because there is one parent who has been unable to hug his children in over half a year. Sean has been serving our country in Afghanistan for the past seven months. While Julia is busy at home with Aislinn (10), Brennan (8), Liana (4), Adin (3), and Kenan (17 months) (she home schools the kids), Sean looks forward to seeing his children through a computer monitor, watching them grow, virtually. With their two families out of state, Julia looks to her church for a couple of hours each week of alone time.
After speaking with Julia for the first ten minutes of my visit, and being a mother of three myself, I said, to Julia, "If you trust me with your children, why don't you go do something you want to do. We're fine here," with a smile on my face. A sense of relief filled her face, as she walked upstairs. I love children, and luckily, they loved me! We had an amazing time, as they walked me from room to room, all throughout the house. I found joy in every area of their home, where I saw games, toys, dolls, accessories. They were so excited to have this strange visitor. As Liana grabs my hand, she leads me, following four other little ones, all around their happy home. The kids could not wait to do things that they are normally not allowed to do...such as jump on beds (I asked permission, of course). It was like a house party!
For the last 20 minutes of my visit, I enjoyed watching the children get ready for lunch, and talking at the kitchen island with Julia. She told me about the hardships of being without Sean, and missing her dear husband. I thought, for several moments, about all the emotions I would feel if my husband was overseas, and how my children would feel. And, I realized that I was in the company of a very strong woman. I felt blessed to meet her and capture those precious kids in their loving home. I hope that when Sean sees these pictures, he is reassured of the incredible children he has and is humbled by the strength of his wife.
Julia, thank you for having me spend the day with your family. Your home was inviting, and your children were welcoming. You are an exceptional mother...and woman.