The Hadleys’ car pulled into the spot next to mine. I smiled at Grace sitting in her carseat. Milk from her bottle dripped down her chin. Becca and I exchanged smiles before each taking another long swig of coffee and stepping out of our cars into the cold morning air. Our 15-month-old daughters had turned us into pros at waking up early and running on coffee. Despite our similarities of raising little girls only two weeks apart, loving coffee, serving as FOCUS missionaries, and being Polish and proud, one really big difference set us apart: Becca’s 8-month-pregnant belly that made itself known as we hugged. Baby #2 was already on its way into the Hadley family!
Kyle, Winnie, and I were visiting Tim and Becca for their housewarming party at the end of May when we first saw the new sonogram hanging on the fridge. “We’re pregnant!” Becca told us with a smile. We were so happy for them! Becca and Tim are doing such an amazing job as parents. Photographing them on this cold morning allowed me to see them in action, as they took turns snuggling Grace under the blanket and chasing her when she needed a break. Grace couldn’t adore her mom and dad more. She flashed the most contagious smiles at them throughout our session. Being a wife and a parent myself, I love photographing families. Mostly because I get it. I know how hard it is being a spouse and a parent. There is a reason Jesus says, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow me.” The cross must be carried every day. It gets heavy and can feel isolating and lonely, but it is also sweet, and is our only way to follow Him who brings us joy. Spending time with the Hadleys reminds me that we do not carry our crosses alone, but that others carry theirs alongside us. It also reminds me of how sweet and joyful it is to be a young family. What a gift it was for me to capture images of the joy and love present in the Hadley family.
Becca and Tim, I am so excited to watch your family welcome and love your new baby. Seeing the love you both have for Grace and each other shows that Christ is living in you. I am so inspired by your confidence and trust in God, and how you’ve surrendered to Him and given Him permission to do with you as He wills. I hope that you’re able to look back on these images when the cross starts to feel heavy or unbearable, and remember the joy and sweetness it also brings. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to capture these images of your family. I sincerely loved every minute of it!