It was the house.
That was one of the hardest parts for me; the house.
Growing up, I had a difficult time feeling “in control”, so one of the ways that I managed that was to keep my room meticulously clean.
Every day. All the time.
Of course, as I got older and I ventured out in the world a bit more, I soon discovered that there was even less that I was able to control. So I cleaned more.
I cleaned the edges of baseboards and the dust off of bottles. I cleaned floors and closets and window ledges.
Obviously, this isn’t necessarily a standard reaction to coping with life, but it was my standard and any time things feel like they are spilling out into chaos a bit, it’s a coping mechanism that helps bring me back down to earth when I need it.
Now, with all of this being said, babies and young children tend to have a lot of stuff. And that stuff tends to cover every square inch of a new parent’s home. From furniture to baby clothes to bath toys…it just never ends.
And it was hard for me. I kept trying to keep everything in its place and manage the clutter and “control” my surroundings as I adjusted to this huge change in my life.
Until, one morning, when I walked into our bedroom and found my little guy sitting on the floor, playing with one of his board books. He just looked so content and happy, and that’s when I realized that this was his home too. Of course, I think that most people already become parents knowing this, but for me, it took a little while to surrender to the reality that some things (read: most things!) are left uncontrolled. I can tidy and I can sweep and I can keep things from growing in the fridge, but I can’t obsess so much that I keep the love from growing and the memories from happening and the minds from exploring.
When we moved out of that house four years later, I cried walking through its empty rooms, remembering that it all started there.
This is the single biggest reason why I absolutely adore photographing new parents in their home; because that space means so much, especially when a family is growing. It’s where the joy is shared, it’s where the tears are shed, it’s where the nights are spent, it’s where the world is changed. And the moment I walked into Isabelle and Graham’s home, this overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I had been there before, on the morning of their wedding, as Isabelle got ready for her big day. There was a buzz of excitement rushing through the house as make-up was being done and dresses were being adjusted and flowers were being delivered.
But this, this day was different.
Graham quietly opened the door with his little love held tightly in his arms and with the most content smile, invited me in.
It wasn’t too loud and it wasn’t too quiet. It was just filled with the sounds of pets roaming through the spaces and dad whispering to his little girl and mom getting ready down the hall and birds chirping in the yard.
It was the sound of a family finding their new rhythm. It was the sound of nature encouraging them along the way. It was the sound of the universe unfolding in its own perfect timing.
It was the sound of two people who had been waiting their whole life to meet their perfect baby girl…