when val & i were talking about what we might do for these mother/daughter photos, i really wanted her to just capture us hanging out (this is a theme for me with professional photos see here & here!). no poses, not trying to get e to smile on cue or sit still (that would have been especially hard!). so, we simply went & hung out in our living room, then at a nearby park.
what i wanted most was to have photographs that when i looked at them, years later, i could take a deep breath, smile & think "ah yes, that's EXACTLY what it felt like to be her mama in that moment." to say val did that better than i could have ever imagined is such an understatement. as i went through the images, i just felt like i was watching my days with ellie girl.
now, i need one huge disclaimer here (just so you new mamas don't think i've lost my ever-loving mind saying this is what motherhood looks like)-- let's just say the one difference is e & i are a little better groomed than we are most days. i think the day we took these might have been the fifth time since May that i actually dried my hair instead of throwing it back in a bun (in the scheme of my priorities for a day, drying my hair falls about 110th on the list most days -- i usually only get to my 6th or so priority :) & most days i'm not wearing a dress my sweet husband picked out for me (he's so awesome). the number of times ellie has worn this sweet white romper can be counted on one hand (the child eats blueberries multiple times a day & likes to be sure she wears them too).
so, we kicked it up a notch for these -- but what i mean when i say these photos are "so us" has much more to do with the expressions on our faces; the way ellie sits in the crook of my arm; and what our eyes are focused on. and certainly the incredible light val captured shining through. what i am struck by is how these three photographs capture the one thing that has been really unexpected & profound for me about motherhood: what it's like to watch ellie see something for the first time (& how much time i spend doing just that -- multiple times a day she sees something she's never seen before!).
i didn't plan this in advance, but ellie had never seen, held, touched, smelled (or tasted, as she eventually tried) a sunflower before. in the first two photographs, that's what she's looking at. she is so focused. so curious. so intent on really trying to understand this simple flower. i feel like she takes this huge spotlight & shines it so brightly on things i've never paid much mind to. she makes me pause long enough to actually really see something. i have a habit of moving way too quickly through life -- valuing efficiency, checking things off my to do list & getting onto the next thing WAY too much.
while motherhood is far from always being sunbeams all the time (cause you know, there's the utter exhaustion, constant-fish-out-of-water-feeling, extremely draining side of it too :) these images make me dwell on a totally new kind of joy that ellie has introduced me to. & for that, i'm so grateful.