I love photographing families, especially families lead by parents like Adam and Victoria. Our shoot was simple and sweet. It took place in their beautiful backyard where their twins, Zelda and George comfortably roamed and explored. The shoot wasn't perfect. It was a bit windy and George got camera shy a few times, but Adam and Victoria were present for every moment of our experience. Tears and laughter were taken in stride as equally important memories. They've only been parents for a year, but they already seem to understand that being a family means embracing everything about one another. I love the moments we created together.
The following is a letter written by Adam for Victoria in honor of her strength as a mother. Adam is a very gifted writer so I warn you now, grab your tissues. You're going to need them.
"What makes a mother? Certainly we understand the technical requirements. But what really makes a mother? Is it love? Sure, yes, of course. Love and motherhood go together better than any pair you can name. Love is essential to being a mother. But it only scratches the surface of beginning to understand motherhood.
Nobody tells you how terrifying it is to be a parent. The other night Victoria and I were following our 16-month old twins, George and Zelda, as they crawled up the stairs. It’s a nightly ritual we do before bedtime. They take great pleasure in pulling themselves up the stairs. Each step conquered elicits a squeal or shriek of laughter. We follow closely behind in case there’s a slip or an error. They’ve gotten a lot more surefooted recently, so it’s not uncommon for us to let them get a few steps ahead of us. George had practically raced up the stairs on this night. Zelda was taking her time, inspecting each dust bunny she found along the way. As George passed the top step, he set his feet and shot upright, ready to sprint forward to his bedroom. But he was too close to the edge of the stairs. An error. What was going to happen next seemed immediately, and terrifyingly, clear. George wobbled, teetered, grasped for balance, and then…fell. Backward.
So love, and what else? Devotion? Yes, that seems right. It must be a mother’s devotion to child that pulls her out of bed repeatedly throughout the night for weeks — or months — on end. It’s devotion to child that drives her to sacrifice so much. A mother is no longer an individual. She is an individual devoted to another.
George fell and the universe froze. Heels went over head, tiny arms flailed as he passed the top step and began what would be a devastating tumble. Victoria arrived just before his head smashed into the next step down, just before his world may have been irrevocably altered. Just the way a mother knows how to do. She scooped him into her arms and he cried because he was scared, and not because he was hurt.
Love and devotion are perhaps the two most obvious characteristics of mothers. The third is perhaps the most important: Strength. Witnessing Victoria as a mother these past 16 months is to witness her tap into deep reservoirs of strength. It’s her strength that gets us through the terrifying, exhausting and mystifying ordeal of parenthood. Sometimes it’s as simple as preventing George from falling down the stairs. Other times it’s not. Beneath it all is the strength of a mother. It’s the strength that keeps our family going.
Happy Mother’s Day, Victoria."