A Perfect Way to Celebrate

There is nothing that makes me happier as a photographer than to get to photograph a family for an entire day - literally from before the kids wake up until after they’re in bed for the night. The story is so full of emotion and moments from every end of the spectrum. My first full day photo session was over a year ago, but this was the first time I made a family film from 12+ hours of coverage. Let me tell you, it was a struggle to keep the film to a reasonable length and in the end 12 minutes was the shortest I could make it without cutting out a clip I was just too in love with or felt so essential to the whole story of the day. I cannot wait to do more full day mixed photo and film session in Calgary (or Cochrane or Canmore or really anywhere)!

I am still on such a high from getting to capture this time in this family’s life. It felt special for a hundred and one reasons. This was a celebration of a baby boy about to turn 1, Mom’s birthday also approaching, and during the session we found out it was also international women’s day. But most of all this was a celebration of one of the biggest Mom milestones I know of so far - the last maternity leave coming to an end. It is a time of soooo many mixed emotions. When I went through that transition, it was relief over surviving it, gratitude for this intensive time with your kids, fear about what the new life balance would look like, sadness over babies/kids growing so fast, and so many other feelings. I love that I got to photograph a Day in the Life of a Mom session while Jocelyn was in her last couple weeks of maternity leave and when I went to write a thank you email for booking me, it turned into something that I felt spoke to so many other Mom’s in this big life transition:

Dear Jocelyn, First, you are an amazing Mama, truly. It was so fun to get to see you in action with your kids and to document what a typical day during maternity leave looked like for you. I know they weren’t all the same. Some were a million times harder and full of challenges you never thought you’d get through at the time. But you did. And you have two beautiful, happy, and healthy kids. I’m sure there were a lot of tears and wanting to bang your head against the wall, along the way - two little kids seem to have that effect on Moms. And its easy to be so hard on ourselves, so let these photos be a lasting reminder on future tough days, of just how much heart you put into this. I feel like this family film and documentary family photos from your Day in the Life session really show all of it. They show the cuddles + cuteness, the smiles + giggles and all the beauty that is easy to forget on the tougher days, but is always there with the amazing love your family has. And it also shows the tantrums and battles over the “simple” things of getting dressed or getting a diaper changed. It is funny how those things won’t always be there, even though they feel like a daily fight right now. I feel like you’ll want to remember those parts too - how very hard you work each and every day. You and Taylor are unbelievable parents, from your fun traditions like friday night pizza to the way you teach and nurture your kids. I know going back to work soon will bring big changes, but you’re so ready and I know you’ll tackle that next challenge just like the rest - like the super strong mama you are - and don’t forget to enjoy hot teas and private bathroom breaks because I know those are luxuries that don’t happen on mat leave very often. Thank you so soooo much for asking me to capture this phase of life within your beautiful family :) Much love, Shirley

Shirley Sullivan