An Eternal Love
I was so excited to photograph Lauren during her pregnancy. My first maternity photoshoot was in 2001, just as I started my photographic journey. I set up a black backdrop near a large living room window, posed my muse on the floor with a white chiffon piece of fabric, and went to work. When the film developed and I picked up the prints, my heart skipped a beat… I was mesmerized… they were so beautiful. I knew my client was going to be so happy and I was proud of the job I did.
During Lauren and James’ photoshoot, thoughts of that first maternity shoot flooded my mind. I thought to myself, “Here I am, 20+ years later, still photographing beautiful moms-to-be with a happy heart and eyes full of tears” (I used to cry at every wedding I shot too). wThoughts of my own pregnancy filled my head; What I felt about my body changing, the moments I began to feel his movement inside my belly, wondering what he will look like, all the joy and healing he was meant to bring to my life—
I wanted to remember all of it, our entire journey. In only a moment’s time, all these thoughts came back, and I smiled at them. These memories of motherhood prompted me to share a letter I wrote to Baylor when he was three years old:
I LOVE YOU TO ETERNITY
Tonight, I lay down with Baylor after he fell asleep. I turned the night light on, and it gave off a soft warm glow. I lay there next to my precious little man; his rosy, red cheeks, beautiful blonde hair, chubby little hands, perfectly shaped lips, short sleep t-shirt with a scuba turtle on the front, “Bear” tucked securely under his arm, and a snore coming from his tiny little nose. I just stared. I couldn’t hold back the tears welling in my eyes. No words can express the power of this love. Yet, how it is that I can love him so much now and think he is the best in the world and want to be so close to him— and then tomorrow I will wake up to another day and cannot wait until the days-end because he is driving me insane.
I begin to question myself as a mother; Am I teaching him everything he needs to know right now? Am I spending enough quality time with him every day? Am I teaching him enough about the love of God? Did I teach him about respect and to listen? Did I let him get away with too much today? Did he eat too much sugar and not enough veggies? Will I continue to question myself as a mother for the rest of my life? Just overnight, I will wake in the morning and he will be a grown man. I will have to let him go into the world and build a life for himself. What will that feel like?
As I stare at him in the still silence of the night, I remember him as an infant; nursing him, rocking him, holding him as I sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “You are my Sunshine.” The days are gone when I stood, holding him in my arms, singing to him as he fell asleep on my shoulder. These days I kneel by his bedside, singing close to his ear the same songs I sang to him as an infant, but now he sings with me. I rub his head whispering, “I love you to eternity” and the words echo back to me, “I love you to eternity.”
Baylor is now 22 and he still amazes me. He has taught me more about myself than anyone else ever has (and we still say, “I love you to eternity.”)
Parents, take time to soak in the quiet moments and write down your thoughts. One day, before you know it, your little ones will be spreading their wings to fly and those notes, pictures and random thoughts will bring so much light and love to you.