Our family is growing so fast.
This is where I think of that poem that I once saw a momma recite to her friends on YouTube about how the days are long and the years are short that is apropos.
I feel like it was just yesterday when we moved to Manila. Diego was still in diapers. Gia was entering first grade. Mig was just learning how to write his name.
Gelli was still a wish, a hope, and a dream away.
Growing up, my dad always had a camera around. He either had a camera to shoot stills, or later on, a video camera to shoot home movies. He documented our childhood. I know he did this, not just for himself because he enjoyed it, but also for us. I love looking at family photos when we were growing up. I wish I could remember more moments from my childhood.
Instead, I find myself searching through old photos and digging up old albums to try and recall moments passed and people who have gone on before us.
I’m so grateful that I have those moments, and those photos.
Part of my job as a mom is to do the stuff I know so many of you do every day.
Moms pack lunches. Send the kids off to school. Set playdates. Help with homework. Prepare dinner. Tuck everyone in bed. Wake up early the next morning and do it all over again…That’s what we do.
But do you know what else we do as mommas?
We make MEMORIES.
And we DOCUMENT them.
YES! I’m sorry, but we also have to make sure we document these memories too! It’s why so many mommas scrapbook, keep digital albums, write blogs, take photos and post them on Facebook! We want to create memories for our kids, but we also want them to have proof that they really happened, right?
This is where I can call on the help of some of my friends.
I met Lianne through the blog. When we talked about a family photo shoot, and she shared that she really wanted to shoot “A Day In the Life” with us, because as she put it, there was very little we had to prepare for. She wanted us to be relaxed and have fun, while she documented this particular stage in our family’s history.
YES. We are writing our family’s history right here and now.
I guess that’s why I loved this shoot so much. It was our “every day” history. It wasn’t anything that special (save for the fact that we end up playing a pick-up game of Diego’s favorite b-ball) and it was easy to do.
But just having Lianne there to document it all made it VERY special. Like looking through a window into what our lives look like on a typical day. Without the formality of worrying about what to wear, who was going to do makeup, how long Gelli would last before a melt down, or how formal our poses should or should not be.
All we had to do was be ourselves.
But you know me.
You know I still had to prepare just a few things, right?
I made sure to have what I thought would look really fun in the photos like Gelli’s favorite stackable bubbles from BaoBao Babies in Cebu. I made sure we had some hula hoops, Gelli drove her car while we were in the backyard, and I made sure we visited a nearby park for some greener backgrounds to the photos.
The rest of the shoot was decided by the kids.
We captured moments on the swings and made sure we followed their lead. When Diego wanted to shoot hoops, we all followed. And when it started to drizzle, we packed it up and shot some more photos at home, in the comfort of our own living room.
I had one request from all of my family members and from Lianne. I just wanted one photo with each of them. I had the idea of this blog post already in my head and I wanted to make sure that I had the one photo with each member of my family for it.
Because as I watch each of my kids grow, and as my relationship with my husband matures there are moments that I want to mark down, write about, and remember.
It all goes by so fast.
I can see a photo of times past and recall the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that I was blessed with during the moment when those photos were captured. I have kept journals for each of my kids. I haven’t been so good at writing in all of them when I said I would, but now that I am reminded, I know I will revisit them again soon.
Even on the most mundane of days…
And most definitely on the VERY special ones…
My idea for this post has evolved into something short of a journal entry. I wanted a photo with each of my kids so I could document where they all are in each of their lives…and how I feel about being their mom.
Being a mom is an amazing gift. It’s a spiritual journey that not everyone has the privilege of being able to go on. I’m thankful for this gift, and for today, instead of writing in each of my kids’ journals that I have for them, I will share a short makeshift journal entry for each of my kids (and my husband) here with each of their photos that I love from our shoot with Lianne.
“Motherhood has become the deepest form of religion I know. And as I look at these small feet, I am thankful for the grace of getting to experience my religion everyday.”
You are a young lady with a good head on your shoulders. As I see you navigate adolescence, I do not worry. I can see you have a very good grasp on the way things work, and how to be yourself, amongst all the different people you will come across in your life. I can see that you are a problem solver. A doer. Someone that people look up and can count on when they need help. You are creative. Smart. Beautiful. And resourceful. You are my first teacher in this journey of motherhood, and what a wonderful teacher you are. I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow.
My sensitive boy. Even before you were one year old, you were attuned to how I was feeling. Every now and then I would go through days where I might have been sad, or fighting back the tears because things didn’t quite work out the way I envisioned them to be. You knew. You would climb up on my lap and hold my cheek. You are gifted. Because you are so intelligent, I think you get bored sometimes. But it’s up to you to face that challenge head on, with the grit and tenacity I see when you play your video games. I know you will find your way. You just have to apply yourself more. And don’t worry about what other people think…the ones that matter will love you just the way you are. Always. As you enter the years of adolescence, I know you may find it difficult…but if you listen to your heart, it will be easy to tell right from wrong. Your internal compass has never done you wrong. Continue to spend time outdoors. You are my boy who didn’t love the outdoors so much at first…but you’ll see it calms you and centers you when you need it most. We are cut from the same cloth in that way.
I forget you are only 10 years old. You have been an old man trapped inside that little body of yours since the time you turned 3 years old and were asking me philosophical questions about God and church, and why people do the things they do. Your world is black and white. Right and Wrong. There is no in between. Sometime down the line, you will see that there are often shades of gray. These shades of gray are usually intertwined and laced with compassion, empathy, and the human spirit. I know that you will create an understanding that there are tough decisions that have to be made when you get older. There are many things that are black and white, but when you realize that not all things are this way, you might be disillusioned. I will be there for you when you need to work through that. You are a ball of energy and extremely athletic. I’d love to see you put that energy into something where you will feel success in competition. Your competitive spirit will take you many places. I’m sure of it.
if you only knew how much you taught me in these first four years of your life, you would surely be amazed. I am sure to tell you every day, just how much I love you. If your ate was my first teacher in my journey of motherhood, then you are my greatest. You have shown me that the greatest gifts in this lifetime can come in the smallest of packages. You inspire me to be a better mom for you, and to fight for what is right and true in this world. I do this not just for you, but for all kids and adults who are like you…gifted with an extra chromosome. Your extra chromosome has shown me that people can be better when you give them the chance. Thank you for choosing me as your momma.
We started as only two people with so many lofty dreams. While some of those dreams may have changed and adjusted a bit with time and age, I’m so happy with our growth of a family of six. Being married isn’t easy. But it’s easier when you are married to your best friend. Thanks for being on my team and my forever coach. Thank you for loving me the way you do, and for giving me the gift of motherhood. We are blessed so many times over and I’m glad that we have each other as a reminder to stay grounded, humble, open, and forgiving. I am so glad that we can still laugh and survive at the curve balls that life may throw at us. I know you are my home run.
Even while we were in the midst of shooting, I found myself just observing the kids. I was meditating on how far we have come as a family. I don’t just mean coming from NY to settle in Manila. I mean the different ways we all fit together. As a unit. As a team. I had this one idea on how to write this post, and while it may have changed a bit…the crux of it is this.
We are a family.
And these photos speak volumes for the amount of love, respect, and fun we have for each other and with each other. That’s nice to see. It’s nice to see, feel, and to write about. Especially if there challenging days when no one is listening, dinner is late to the table, there is a ton of homework to be finished and a dirty diaper to be changed.
As a mom, I’m pulled in so many different directions all in one day…that’s ok…I know that’s what I was in for when I signed on for this job…but these moments?
These seemingly not so important moments, that turn out to be terribly important…
These are what it’s all about…
Thank you Lianne for this reminder. It was just what I needed.
If you would like to contact Lianne for a stress free photo shoot which won’t involve much preparation on your part. I suggest you do. You might even feel a little reflective while looking through the photos like I did.
AND IMAGINE! I didn’t even order my full size photos yet, for our photo wall! I can’t wait to see these photos blown up in a photo collage of frames. They are going to be beautiful.
Here is the package we availed of:
With our package comes 40 pcs of 4R inclusive of the short story fees. I will add on some 8X10’s and some 11X14’s, and maybe some extras for the grandparents to have for their homes too.
Thank you Lianne for showing us all about what “A Day in the LIfe Session” is all about. We loved it!
Peter A. Ressa says
Wonderful photos and so well written thoughtful pieces for each photo! Loved it!
Thanks Dad! I loved this whole process…From the shooting to the writing.
This is one of my fave posts! Thank you for sharing your story with us.:) I loved getting to know your family more.
Thank you! It was one of my favorites to write…it just flowed so naturally.
joey @ 80 breakfasts says
Thank you for giving us a peek into your life Mish! Beautiful photos and words to go with them! Definitely an important reminder to both make memories and dicument them 🙂
Thanks Joey! This was such a wonderful shoot. It reminded me just how grateful I am for my family. Nothing else above it…