When Stephanie’s daughter lost her two front teeth, she knew it was a special fleeting time that she needed to have documented. During our session, she shared some of her thoughts with me around this milestone, and I asked if she would write them down so I could share them here. Stephanie and I had our daughters one month apart, and I’ve loved experiencing motherhood together with her from the first months of pregnancy. These words hit me hard as I know I will be looking at my own daughter’s toothless smile with bittersweetness sooner than I will be ready. Thanks so much for articulating this milestone so beautifully, Stephanie!
This is the version of my family that includes me in the photos
I had read all the blog posts about having three children and was aware of the challenges from the beginning, but I was still caught off guard by how impossible it would feel to handle life with any sort of gracefulness. I was under the assumption that we would be fine since we had already embraced a lesser version of our expectations after the chaos of having two children. We were already rarely showering, we already considered cheese, chips, and olives a full meal, and I already left the house a mess knowing it was a complete waste of time to clean anything. Certainly we could handle having three children in the same mediocre fashion that was working for having two kids, or so I thought until I realized a whole new level of keeping it together was going to be necessary to just get through our days unscathed.
Roland was such an easy baby, the transition to three kids was made almost too easy at first. But then he started to crawl, and walk, and climb and I was forced to be constantly vigilant at the same time Winnie started expressing her delayed feelings of jealousy. Of course this all coincided with the time Charlotte was experiencing that thing that happens to kids as they are about to turn 6 (a time aptly known in Waldorf circles as the “first puberty”). Daily meltdowns by us all had me frantically waving a white flag and muttering either “namaste,” or “Lord have mercy,” not so under my breath to avoid screaming profanities throughout the day (if I could manage it at all). My mantra was (still is), “I can handle this without screaming or swearing,” often merely an aspiration.
These fast-paced, blurry, often rage-inducing days are my new normal, and being in it is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. The struggles are real, but I know it goes fast. In one breath, I’m dreaming of the day a few years from now when they will be older and it will all be easier, and in the next breath I am dying to hit the pause button to have time to take this season in and appreciate it for what it is. In many ways, that’s what these images are for me, a way to press pause to see it and feel it at a time when the pace and emotional demands of the daily routine make it nearly impossible otherwise. When I look at these images, I don’t forget about the craziness of this year, I don’t forget about the times where everyone is crying (myself included), but I feel ok about it because these moments exist on the other side of those experiences. When I look at these pictures, I get to see that who I am for my kids is enough. I see the way I smile at my kids, I see the way I make them laugh, and I see how much love I give them all day long. I feel like a good mom, and we all deserve to feel like good moms.
So, here we are in April of 2018. My final baby is turning one and we are coming up on our 10th year of being married. It’s all very ordinary, but I couldn’t have imagined a better way for it to have all turned out. I love seeing how tired and happy we are and how crazy and bizarre our kids are. This is the bittersweet end of the season of having babies for us. Anda, the way you see us is a gift to me. It’s a gift that grounds me in the present and shows me just how beautiful and good our life together is. I can’t even imagine what these images will mean to me in 10 years. Thank you.
I know that It’s mini session season. I know families everywhere are getting all dressed up, going to a park of the photographer’s choosing, and signing up for a short slot to get that perfect Christmas card portrait. I know that is an affordable way to get a family picture, and I know those images are great. But, those are not the images of your family that I want to show you.
I don’t want to do a mini session with you, I want to do a maxi session (lol, that’s a terrible name, but you get my point). Maximum time spent with you, maximum attention to only your family, maximum moments that are yours, not elicited with prompts or conjured with bribes. I want to have the time and space with you to show you, as Caroline says, the “ordinary magic that happens when the minutes are sluggish and haphazard in their marching out.” I want to get bored with you, frustrated with you, overwhelmed with you, and show you what it felt like so you can remember it all.
I know it requires some guts to let someone into your private spaces to really see you for a whole day. Inevitably, it will be messy at times, and there will most likely be tears and tantrums. I understand that, and I hold space for that. I acknowledge the difficult moments along with the joyful moments and believe they are all worthy of being seen and remembered as evidence of the humanity within the home.
So here’s the full day of the Kolts family. Zella the brave is a precocious three year old, the kind of kid whose genuine curiosity is contagious. Foster the kindhearted draws you in with those big blue eyes and flashes a smile that makes you feel seen and loved. These two are two forces that I am excited will be living in the same world my children grow up in. Aunt Christina offers an extra set of arms for holding and playing and gardening and teaching. Patrick is a photographer, and although his family has no shortage of gorgeous images that he has taken, I hope he is able to see himself as part of his family in a way that is impossible to do when you are in that moment living life. Caroline has an incredible way of stringing words together, so I asked her if she would write something that I could post with these images because I knew that whatever she came up with would more eloquently articulate what is so special about recording the moments that exist within the regular rhythm of life, and she nailed it.
I am so excited to finally be able to offer full Day in the Life sessions. When the photo session is one or two hours, it is too easily a separate thing from the rest of the day. With a Day in the Life session, the photo session IS the day, and there’s no escaping the reality and rawness of life as it is lived. I have space for one more Day in the Life session in December. Let me know if you are interested.