“I guess I always believed the moments that would one day end up defining me would be loud. They’d be noticeable. I pictured fireworks. I thought I would definitely be able to point the moment out from all the rest if you put them side-by-side in a lineup. I’d be able to stand there, on the other side of the glass and say, ‘That one. That one was loud and big and mammoth and I knew it would change my life.’ But you can’t put moments in a box. You can’t keep people forever. Those moments are meant to happen and disappear.”
Excerpt from If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher.
How eerily true is this? I think it’s so easy for us to be ready for what’s next in life, that we so often don’t take the time to fully embrace the seasons we reside in in the present. Whether the season be happy or sad, it’s a natural part of the human experience to wonder, plan, or anticipate what’s ahead. When I first read these words when reading Hannah’s book, they stopped me in my tracks. Umm, hello reality check. Moments, seasons, experiences exist for us to feel what we feel from them in those moments and mold us into the future human we evolve to.
As Danielle got out of her car and greeted me, it was the first time I’d ever met her. It only took a few sentences of dialogue between us for me to notice the calm, peaceful personality she emanated. After spending that afternoon with her and looking through her photographs, I was able to put my finger on what was so alluringly tranquil about her–she embraces the now of this beautiful season of life she is in, awaiting her daughters, Ivy and Lily.
It wasn’t until after her session that Danielle shared with me the news that she learned weeks ago that she lost one of her girls, Lily. She is currently still carrying both girls. I had no clue of this while photographing her, and now looking at these photographs radiates her strength during this season in a whole new light.
I cannot begin to fathom both the fear and excitement she has for her delivery next week. Observing the contentment and love for that beautiful belly and the spectacular ability her body possesses during these months was so incredibly empowering. Nine months, a “moment” so inherently special to her, Lily, and Ivy alone, that she can never replicate in this exact way again.
The morning of Danielle’s session, there was a stirring in me to do something more than just dreamy, creamy photographs of her in a field. We’d never spoken other than through email before, but as she picked up the phone and I introduced myself, the conversation went a little something like this, “I know we’ve never met, but umm, are you down for a milk bath?”
I’m incredibly glad she was open to the idea, because the way they display the beauty and strength of her body during this season of life is so profoundly breathtaking to me.
Danielle, I have no doubt that you will execute motherhood just as gracefully as you do the road leading to it. Thank you for allowing me to capture your strength and beauty during this stage of life for you, Lily, and Ivy.