A Mother with her four daughters
This sweet mom and her four daughters (with husbands and kids inluded) haven't been all together in about 6 years! Over the holidays, I was blessed to be part of documenting their reunion, family time together, and portraits. Read on for more of the story and all of the things these fantastic women are doing!
This backyard space holds so many special memories of gardening, playing, watching sunsets, and spending time together. Although it was such a shock to everyone's bodies to be outside on this very cold and windy day, it was especially a surprise to the children who came from California only a day before and hadn't experienced a PA winter in their memories. Still, everyone braved the wind and chill for a family photo in this special space. Sometimes the moments I get to capture aren't "Picture Perfect" but they are real - and certainly the thrill of that cold air was very real to the kiddos!
Children and Cold Outdoor Play:
Watching those sweet California kids running and playing despite the cold made me remember a story I had heard on the radio a few years ago about how children in Alaska must go outside for recess even when the temperatures are usually too cold for PA schools. Basically, the story said that the children need to be used to being outside and running around in cold temperatures that much of the country would never be hanging around outside. I saw this story and thought it was a neat comparison of kids' experiences around the globe of being outside or inside for cold or rain. What a shock it would be to experience all of that chilly play for the first time in your life like these kids!
Everyone say, "Reunion!"
That's not actually what we said for this group photo. We were saying all kinds of things really - and singing songs. Snacks were promised as well as surprises from my prize bag - Whatever it takes! We did it! Whew! What fun!
So, these 4 daughers are scattered around the world actually - One daughter, Edna, lives in California with her husband and four children. She is in the medical field and is ready to working on her residency after working in research. I can't imagine the stress of that with four little ones at home - but she and her husband make such a great team that I'm sure they'll get through it and grow together on that journey. Another daughter, Katye, is a music teacher and band director in Pennsylvania. If you've ever been in high school band, you have an eensy glimpse of how many hours of her life are spent in school-related tasks. A few minutes with her and you get a sense of what a committed teacher she is and how lucky her students must be! Another daughter, Edith, lives in Washington D.C. but travels lots for work. Roberta and her husband, Robert, have two boys and are missionaries in Japan. You can read more about their work here from my photo session with them this past fall. There is a neat video on their work here too. Judy, their mom, lives in central PA and is spends lots of time helping others and being involved in her church community.
Can you imagine the house in going from one person to 13 as all of the children and grandchildren visited? I am sure there were moments of joy and stress being all together - but overall so very good.
What surprises did your reunion hold?
I asked each of the sisters a few questions to help the blog flow together. I asked them what was surprising to them about their time together after all of those years. Roberta said, "As my sister is in residency and my other sisters have jobs without a lot of flexibility, it was just so great that it worked out at all to be together."
Mom jumps in!
The Greatest Joy in the Reunion?
Roberta said that the best part about their reunion was when "Robert, Ryan, and my mom watched the 6 kids while my sisters and I went to a local favorite coffee shop (Cool Beans in Bellefonte). It was fun to catch up, reminisce, and enjoy them (as, darn it, they're really great people!)"
Edith said that the best part about their reunion was just that their "lives are SO different (and don't include this but we don't really have much cohesion...). With significant differences in our life setups and in our individual person (2 with kids, 2 without... three in the US, 1 not... 1 who travels a ton for work, 3 who don't... 2 with larger friend groups, 2 with life setups that limit that...1 classic extrovert, 1 classic introvert, and 2 that are closer to midline.... 3 timezones represented...3 states and 1 country... our lives are all over the literal and figurative map. With that, being together helps. :) It brings similarity, common ground, types of interaction that we wouldn't generally have."
Cousins meet in person for the first time!
These cousins see each other from time to time over Skype, but Roberta said, "they really enjoyed actually being in the same timezone in the same room together. :) It was fun seeing them get acquainted and interact."
My favorites are almost always moments of real laughter, tender emotion, and sudden smiles. I think that these candids above are going to be good reminders of that time together for a lifetime.