I see you Momma. Rocking, pacing, bouncing, feeding, burping, changing diapers, shh-shh’ing, gingerly laying that sleeping baby down in that Pinterest worthy crib; quietly sneaking out of the room. Each time you make your silent, tiptoeing exit you seriously consider marking the floor with tape all the creaky spots, I mean honestly is there anything worse then bouncing just the right amount of times, swaddling just tight enough in the perfect blanket, laying them down ‘just so’ to have them jolt awake because your old house decided to settle!? I think not!
This dance is something you have done a hundred times since bringing that sweet baby home. And it is a dance that you will continue to do well after your arms and shoulders and back give out. You do it because you are their Momma, because you love them and, because let’s be honest… You want them to sleep!!
I have been there. It feels endless. I remember when my baby was 10 months old I told my husband, “that’s it, I cannot bounce her to sleep one more time! I need a rocking chair, stat!” We Amazon Primed two chairs that day. I have rocked, and read, and nursed and sang in that chair. But, I cannot remember the last time I nursed in that chair or the last time she fell asleep on me in that chair. Even just saying that makes my heart hurt.
They always say it goes so quickly. I get that. But what they don’t remind you of is that one of those moments that you are supposed to cherish, be present for, enjoy and all those other guilt inducing phrases is that you will never know the last time you do something. The last time you swaddle, baby wear, sing to sleep, one day they are a brand new little baby the next they are crawling, standing, walking, running all in the blink of an eye. When you are in this cycle of wash, rinse, repeat you can’t ever imagine the day that you won’t do all of those things. It seems impossible. But, I can tell you it, it absolutely does.
This young family will have this one day for a lifetime. I spent 12 hours with them and it was so healing. Knowing that all those moments I have forgotten and didn’t have in photographs they will. I was able to provide them something that they may not even know the value of until well after their sleepless nights, baby snuggles and endless loads of laundry are over. What a gift for their futures selves, for their daughter for their grandchildren.
I arrived early morning before their sleepy eyes were fully awake. The night had been long, as they usually are with a 5 week old! Mom let me in and then snuck back into bed grasping at any last moments of shut eye.
As I sat in their living room with the soft glow of sunrise I soaked in the silence. It was like a warm blanket. The early hours of a summer morning are some of my favorite. I’m not sure what it is, maybe the stillness, the sigh of relief and reprieve from the impending heat, whatever it is I wish I could bottle it. Peeking at all the baby books on the shelf I could imagine all of the excitement and anticipation they must have felt just a few short weeks earlier when they were placing each book on that shelf with intention, so much love and possibility.
As they began to stir in the next room I was instantly brought back to my memories of those first few weeks we spent at home, together as a new family of three. The moments before anyone else woke were my most cherished. I would lay there, staring at this sweet sleeping baby nuzzled safely between her Dad and I. Watching them both sleep was a little surreal. A tiny human, I grew a tiny human and here she is, with us as if she had always been here. It is entirely unbelievable.
Dad sneaks out of the room first. Sleepy. Mom and babe are not too far behind. I recognize that look. Another day, it is inevitable and filled with such emotion. Wishing for another moment of sleep but not wanting to even blink because you may miss something, a tiny detail, maybe she will smile for the first time; can’t miss that!
And as the morning routine starts as it did the day before and the day before that everyone assumes their role. One parents eats while the other parent soaks up all that new baby goodness and then switch. This is something that will continue for months and months, you may think you will never eat a meal together, at the same time ever again!
Breakfast gives way to snuggles and tummy time on a hand-knit blanket. This is magic. I love being a silent observer bearing witness to the bond of a family.
As the morning continues each moment is a cute as the one that just passed. Daddy so carefully changing her diaper, one of many he will do that day. Momma watching in almost disbelief that this is now her life as her sweet little girl gazes up at the hand made mobile. Such a sweet content baby full of wonder and tiny little smiles.
Another thing I love about Day In the Life sessions is that I get be a part of their story. I get to see how the live, how they love, how they move through each day. This Momma would take a daily walk and I got to join. It was lovely to head outside and explore her neighborhood. And as she walked the same path she always does on the way to her local coffee shop she stopped at a bench that she has stopped at many times before. I can just imagine her story as it continues to unfold and as her Little grows that she will sit on this bench in a different way. Watching with that same wonder as her baby who was once snuggled up in her carrier now runs and laughs and plays with all the other neighborhood kids.
Making our way down the quiet side streets we find ourselves scoping out a consignment shop filled with new and vintage items, I could spend all day here! But alas, the need for caffeine out weighs the thrill of the treasure hunt.
Back home, the afternoon is much the same as the morning. Diaper changes, different eating schedules, snuggles and nap times. Another well used phrase, sleep when the baby sleeps is all but forgotten. There is a list of things to get done and a very short time to do it in. I break form and gently remind Momma to eat, she is feeding another human after all! Laundry, thank you notes, bottle cleaning and gardening are all waiting for us.
As my time with them draws to an end we spend the last remaining hour back where our day together started, in their living room. All three feeling the weight of the day setting in. It isn’t easy being a parent! There is a lot that goes on in a single day with a newborn plus trying to keep up with the day to day it can be more then exhausting! As late afternoon turned to early evening I was again reminded of those couple of hours, you know the ones… where no amount of rocking, bouncing, snuggling, singing or feeding seems to work. Those are the really tough moments and you just do what you can to get though, swapping back and forth until that cloud passes and screams and cries fade into sleepy, heavy eyes.
Documentary photography so much more then taking snapshots, it isn’t the same as taking photos with your phone. It is so much deeper, it’s intimate. All the moments we spend documenting together in a Day In The Life Session are woven into the fabric of your life. It is telling a story, your story one that you need to be in. For you, for them.