The family I have now

Josh recently suggested that we get some family photographs taken. He learned of a coworker who has a photography business on the side, and thought it would be a nice way to capture our family in this season of life. 

I found every reason to say no. Winter isn’t always an ideal backdrop, not to mention we would all be shivering in the cold weather. Would Cece be in the photographs? Shouldn’t we just wait until I hopefully get pregnant again and make it a maternity shoot? I told him I would think about it.

The first time we had professional family photos done was in the fall of 2020. Kyeler was 9 months old and CJ was 2 months. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that we have a grand total of about 3 photos where both babies weren’t crying. We decided to wait awhile before scheduling another session.

At the beginning of 2022, I thought about getting some more photos done. But then Josh and I started talking about growing our family, and I didn’t want to be posing and smiling for pictures while feeling nauseous and bloated. So I postponed the photo session a little longer.

I got pregnant in August, and it didn’t take long for me to begin dreaming of a spring maternity shoot. The weather would be balmy, the background dripping with flowers, and I’d be sporting a giant baby bump underneath a flowing pink dress. The boys would look dapper and hopefully be old enough to smile for the camera instead of grimacing at it. It was the perfect scene in my mind’s eye—our family of almost five, glowing in the warmth of a spring evening.

Then, in October, we lost our baby. I had to grapple with the reality that there would be no spring baby bump, no May due date, no precious new child to welcome home. The idea of a family photo session lay cast aside and forgotten, along with so many of my other hopes and dreams. Until Josh came home from work one day in early December, reminding me that this season is still worth capturing, even if it doesn’t look like I expected it to. 

I can usually think of a million reasons to not live in the present moment. To not celebrate the family I have right now, living under my roof right now, playing and fighting and laughing together right now. There are so many excuses to wait until everything feels tied up neatly with a bow before I let myself rejoice in it—to postpone not just a family photo shoot but joy itself. 

“Let’s get the photos done,” I told Josh. 

This is the life I have now, the family I have now. And I love these people so much that it stretches the confines of my very heart, making it physically ache sometimes. Who knew that being a mother would be so terrifyingly heartbreaking, so overwhelmingly joyful? 

This season is hard in a lot of ways, but it’s beautiful, too. I’m delighted each and every day by the unique magic of toddlerhood, and I’m so grateful for a marriage that is a soft place to land. I’m glad we chose to capture these moments in time—these lovely, difficult, never-to-come-again moments, with the precious family I have now.

[Photo credit: Glenda Holcomb Photography]

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