I first met Megan at preschool, where both of our kids attend. I’ve been blessed to be the photographer at St. E.’s for the past two years, and Megan had fallen in love with M.’s fall portraits. We struck up a conversation one morning and Megan, nearing the end of her pregnancy, asked for me to send her information on a newborn session. We met for her pre-session consultation and thankfully Megan liked what I offer for I was lucky enough to become Baby C.’s photographer. 🙂
The Williams are such kind hearted, gentle souls. Both Megan and Neil are friendly and our conversation flowed easily during the session. Miss M. and Mr. C.’s grandparents came as well and it was clearly obvious how much these two children are loved. I appreciated that Megan felt comfortable enough to step away and chat with friends on the phone and took time to rest while I worked, giving herself a welcome respite. I want every session to be calm, relaxing and stress-free for you.
I must tell you that Baby C.’s big sister, Miss M., is a darling girl with an enormous personality. We had little trouble getting her to interact with not only her brother, but the camera. One of my favorite sibling poses … too sweet.
Mr. C was so handsome. Perfect round nose, tiny soft lips, adorable chubby cheeks. He was a great sleeper for me.
This is one of my absolute favorite images from C.’s session. I am actually ordering this as a new sample for the studio. I adore the soft color tones and, of course, his delightful baby yawn. 😉
But oh, how I love this one too!!! His expression is so innocent and tender here. I’ve been lucky these past few newborn sessions at capturing some truly spectacular eye contact shots. I think they’re pretty amazing … makes me wonder what the little babes are thinking.
Unfortunately, this session was the first and the last time I will photograph this sweet family, at least for the time being. They are leaving the area and moving on to bigger and better adventures. Neil & Megan, thank you for allowing me the privilege of photographing your family and Baby C. I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming journey and hope our paths cross again.
What do you wear on the day you know your dog, your beloved companion, is going to die?
I stood in the middle of my closet, letting the question rattle between the four walls, momentarily shocked by the shallowness of it. My question hung in the air like a bad smell, then gently slid between my neatly organized shirts and dresses, then burrowed into the pockets of my pants like a used kleenex, crusty and dirtied with tears.
And then I realized my query wasn’t callous, but a diversion. Like I’d already attempted to do that morning, by frantically scrubbing dirt off my kitchen counters. Dirt that no longer remained due to the numerous passes I’d already made, my arms weary from work but my mind still raging.
How profound that we measure the times in our lives with the pets we’ve owned. There was Patches, a dog from my youth, whom I mostly remember from slightly faded photographs and casual conversations with my mom, dug from memories long past, rusty and cobwebbed. Then Abby, the silly, affectionate wire-haired fox terrier we had through my high school and college years and into my adulthood. Even my husband still speaks fondly of his childhood pup, although she passed long before we’d even met. And while their sweet faces have faded to dusty glimpses in the mind, the grief at their deaths, experienced by those who loved them, is all but fresh and vivid. The endless tears, stained with love, happiness and, yes, even regret. And now it was our time, Taran’s and mine, to wade through the depths of such loss and sorrow.
Taran and I took turns laying by her, eagerly offering Zoe sips of water and dog treats that she continued to ignore. I curled my hair, applied a light base of makeup and sat, motionless in the car. My insides were filled with dread, I couldn’t ignore the relentless catches in my throat and my hands trembled beneath my thighs. I knew what was coming. I felt it in the depths of my bones and it left me breathless. How many mornings had we lightly joked about her surviving through another night? How many times had we stepped into a room and paused, cautiously watching to see if her chest would rise, if a paw would move, her nose would wiggle, sensing our presence?
And now how I ached to have those days back.
The boys played quietly in the backseat, not fully aware of what was in store, but knowing enough to hush their voices. Zoe had been a part of our family for almost 15 years and it seemed only fitting to have all four of us there to say goodbye.
I could hear the younger dogs’ anxious voices as soon as I emerged from the car. Taran had to carry our baby in, her back limbs too weak to support her ailing body. We were ushered into a room quickly, firmly closing the door behind the other dogs in the waiting room, one ironically a youthful version of our girl.
There wasn’t much to say. I heard the word “tumor,” understood that, at best, she might have two weeks, unlikely a month. Quality, not quantity I said. She was barely eating, couldn’t stand, unable to go outside without assistance. Our spunky, athletic, stubborn, intelligent, beautiful girl was a mere shell, gone most of the day – slipped away into her dreams – where she could run, play, eat and be free. Free from the body that had worn away, like the ocean gently molding the sandy beach each night.
Taran laid Zoe on the too-glistening table, and after a brief moment of struggling to sit, resigned herself. Our poor girl quit. She released herself into our trust once again as she had so many times before, a deep sigh escaping her lips. I held her, buried my face into the nape of her neck and sobbed. I don’t know if she understood what was happening, I could barely understand it myself. Where had all the time escaped to? Who had come and ruthlessly took the years away? I was angry at myself. Ashamed of the times I was too busy, too distracted, too selfish to give her what little she asked of me.
Did I even deserve her?
We gave the kind, soft-spoken veterinarian a choked sob of permission, then watched our sweet girl’s life fade gracefully from her eyes. Within seconds our beautiful Zoe left us to go on to a greater place, one filled with endless pools of glistening water for swimming and lush fields of green, perfect for unending games of fetch. Regaining her full hearing and eyesight, Zoe’s weary body returned to that of years before and the legs that struggled to sustain her, restored.
How fragile life is. Like a soft, delicate puff of air, so are we. This chasm between life and death is no chasm at all, yet a mere fraction of a moment. Here one breath, gone the next. I had never fully witnessed death. It’s life changing, I think. I know I left Zoe’s side a different person. How quickly yet simply the balance shifts.
I imagine there are those reading this thinking, “It’s a dog!” but she wasn’t just a dog. Zoe was so much more.
Taran had just joined the Army, our first duty station was in Heidelberg, Germany. And we somehow found ourselves picking out a pup from a large litter of adorable, round black labs. Taran and I had traveled to a local American Airforce base about four hours away. Honestly, we knew nothing about picking out a dog; we figured the dog would pick us. And so she did. Taran and I were instantly smitten with Zoe’s outgoing personality and tiny patches of white fur on her chin and between the pads of her little feet. You see, we brought Zoe into our lives the day before Taran left for his first deployment, and she was with me for four other deployments. My steady friend through the nights I cried myself to sleep, afraid for my husband and his Soldiers, praying for him to be returned to me. She traveled the Atlantic, was welcomed into six other homes, five additional duty stations and countless road trips. She lived through the birth of both of my children, and was the first to teach them what it meant to have a pet.
So poetic that she began our military journey with us and saw our family through to the very end of it.
Like a friend reminded me, “All good dogs earn their rest.”
Rest well, sweet Zoe. I pray that my fond memories of you reside within my heat forever. And while I weep for you today, I know that I will see you again.
One day it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s cold and rainy … welcome to the crazy spring in Georgia! Please don’t despair, be guaranteed perfect light, warm smiles and oodles of silly laughter no matter the weather during our Easter/Spring Mini event happening this month!
That’s right! Easter/Spring Minis are coming! 9-1 on Saturday, March 21 at my RH studio. Price includes a 20 minute session, use of props, 5 digital images and a digital Spring/Easter card. The card is perfect for printing or digitally sending to family or friends just in time for the special holiday. Up to two children are welcome, additional kiddos are $10/each. Spots are going fast, so be sure to contact me ASAP if you’d like one for your sweet kiddos!
And the something extra …
March is also my birthday month! Woohoo!! If you know anything about me at all, it’s that I love to celebrate even the tiniest of wonderful things, and a birthday is an amazing big thing! During the month of March any full or Tiny Toes session booked will receive a $39 print credit (hmmm, bet you can guess how old I’m turning, lol) and a special surprise (because who doesn’t love surprises?)!
And just like Baby G., I might cry and require a pacifier if you don’t come see me. You don’t want to make a birthday girl cry, do you? 🙂
(and for the record, Baby G. truly loved his cake smash, as evidenced by the state of his cake … although not so much by his sad face in this image)
If you haven’t joined the MMP family yet, now is a great time! To those who are returning, you know I can’t wait to see your faces again!
Deliciously gorgeous to boot, Baby R. was one of the best babies I’ve photographed to date. I don’t remember exactly how many times she woke, but it wasn’t much and we sailed through our time together. She quickly and easily made her way into my heart – as did her wonderfully kind parents. So when her mama contacted me to book her six month session, I squealed with delight.
True story. 🙂
I bet you can imagine how happy I was to see that she hadn’t outgrown those sweet chubby cheeks.
(Someone pinch me. I honest to goodness have the best job ever.)
One of my favorite things to do is to reuse props from the newborn session again during subsequent sessions. It’s such a thrill to see how much a child has grown, even in six short months. This image was a huge family favorite from Baby R.’s newborn session.
Almost the identical set-up at her six month session.
I should pause here to mention how much I love six month sessions – it’s where a baby’s personality really starts to shine. 🙂
The difference is simply amazing, isn’t it?
Unfortunately this is the last time Baby R. will visit me at my RH studio. Her family is on to bigger and better adventures in Texas – where Baby R. will be wowing everyone with her larger than life personality … and cheeks, of course. 😉
Jason and Cristin, thank you for sharing your precious baby with me. It was such a joy to have met you and Baby R.
Best of luck to you! I hope our paths cross again!
I would later express that the love for her newborn baby girl was more than apparent, it was intoxicating. The type of love that made me smile wide, despite the fact that I’d never met this sweet family before. The type of love that instantly made me think of my two boys, tucked quietly in their beds, breaths slow and heavy with sleep.
A love deep, purposeful, (at times jagged and worn at the edges), unrefined, deliberate, consuming, whole.
A mother’s love.
Circumstance had kept me from meeting Tyler and Callie before the birth of their darling C., but it just didn’t matter. I had a pretty firm idea that we’d get along famously after a few telephone conversations and emails. The day of C.’s sessions proved my instinct correct, as we hit it off immediately.
The Evans family burst into my studio wide-eyed and smiling, infectious personalities that greeted me kindly. Gorgeous, like a couple out of a magazine. And then I met precious C. (yes, it’s true the apple does not fall far from the tree).
Don’t let C.’s sleepy eyes in the above image fool you. She was definitely more interested in checking out her new surroundings than sleeping. 😉
Oh! This face!
This was one of Tyler and Callie’s favorite images. Who could blame them?
Pink is most definitely C.’s color.
She had some of the most perfect newborn skin I’d seen. Delicate, soft, flawless.
Dad played college ball. Love when clients bring personal items from home to incorporate into sessions. Makes the images that much more meaningful.
Baby C. woke several times during her session, but I never minded. She loved to be swaddled, and was completely content.
I usually win out though, and before long she would settle back to sleep.
Tyler and Callie, I will be forever thankful that our paths crossed. It was such a wonderful blessing to meet the two of you and your beautiful new addition. Thank you for trusting me with some of your most precious memories. I look forward to watching Baby C. grow.
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Megan Myrick Photography
10384 Ford Avenue
Richmond Hill, GA 31324