This post serves as the third in a series I've just now entitled, "The Boyden's: A Global Family". This isn't the title because it's a progressive idea of how to approach familial issues with a global mindset. It's the title because I've come to be convinced that, in some way, we're really all Boyden's (and we should be proud)...
Yesterday Tim and I had a conversation about modern feminism. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that I am so very grateful to be surrounded by women who are marked by these characteristics: humility despite experience and education, self-denial despite strong desire, submission out of trust, boldness despite fear, persistence even in exhaustion, gentility mysteriously paired with zeal, and last [but not although truly] least, pure style.
But that's not all. What's also so very relevant is that in most cases for each women, there is a man nearby who bears beautifully complimentary characteristics, blending together in a symphonic and miraculous movement we call family.
This surrounded-ness in my life is a good portion of the reason why I love, despite the stresses it brings, to take photos of marriages and families. It's a feast day for each victory of human virtue through the lens, and I'm re-convicted every single time I snap the shutter (and I'll shoot anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 photos in one wedding day...that's a lot of conviction.)
The couple in these photos is the brother and sister in law of two of my brothers-in-law (confused? Try to not figure it out. Read about this phenomenon of familial ties here.) They, along with their kids, could be one of the boldest examples of this wonder. The first time I met them, they shared with me their beautifully intimate conversion story as a family and I was in tears. The first time I met them!
It's appropriate that today is Tuesday of Holy Week, because it is a holy reality, the self-sacrifice that whirs back and forth in families like these. This week, for those moments that I mainly just want to scream at my husband or daughter, I'll think of the people like those in these photos and hope I can act on the inspiration.
Enjoy, and I wish you a most joyful Easter!
Today I was flooded with this memory. My old basement in our house on Hearthstone Ave where I grew up. Giant square of maroon carpet. Green sectional couch. Toy baskets neatly shoved to the edge of every inch of perimeter of the room.
My two sisters, our neighbor and I are there pretending, for the seven-thousandth time, to act out every scene from Beauty and the Beast. Our parts were most definitely chosen based on seniority: Our neighbor got to play Belle (maybe because she was the guest?), my older sister was the Beast (a very begrudging yet elegant Beast), I played Lumiere and my younger sister got stuck with Cogsworth. Occasionally our roles would require us to swing back and forth from Mrs. Potts and Chip, but we definitely saw it as an honor to play all of the household items.
There you have it. A pretty much cookie-cutter memory from every child who lived through the nineties.
Now, these two little boys would make excellent Chips, but only because he's the cutest, roundest, happiest, bounciest member of the cast. They most certainly bear all of these characteristics and more. I am always grateful to this family allowing me to photograph them! I've followed them with a camera on their wedding day and through several photo shoots as a family.
Last week Edith and I went to Costco with my mom (a common occurrence) and they had a miniature playhouse there. [Enter, Edith's dream come true.] So, instead of doing any actual shopping, we, along with several other passersby (who we soon came to find were also grandmothers), watched her play for 45 minutes. One of my favorite stay-at-home-mom activities to date :-)
I'm fairly sure that little house was the same as the one you see in these photos, thus proving little playhouses prove to be excellent investments (plug for Costco in hopes of free diapers?). These girls and their personalities were so much fun to catch on camera.
Edith is going through a phase that sort of [really] puts me on edge lately. Let me demonstrate:
Me: Do you want a peanut butter and jelly, Edith?
I make sandwich, smash it for an easy fit in small mouths, cut it in quarters with care, and give it to her.
Me: Okay...Do you want pasta, Edith?
I microwave left over pasta, salt it like she prefers, let it cool down to perfect toddler eating temp, and give it to her.
This goes on with several other foods, including pickles, olives, chips, peanuts, until finally she tells me she wants a cookie. She eats nothing and screams. I eat everything and cry.
What do I do? It's an unsolvable mystery, toddler eating. Or so I think. This phase was driving me out of my mind until one day when Edith spent some time with my sister Elizabeth and her kids while I was at an appointment. I walk in, and Elizabeth, among other Edith updates, says ultra-simply, "she's in that toddler eating phase. You just giver whatever 'til she eats it." I stand there in amazement. Of course! You just go along with it! You're the adult! Choose simple foods! Let it happen! Don't sweat it. Brilliant.
This moment of the sage imparting her knowledge on the ignorant has happened at least a hundred other times between my sister Elizabeth, mother extraordinaire of seven, and me, hyper-rookie first time mom. She's the ultimate go-to, and I'm unavoidably grateful to have her a short and frantic text away.
Elizabeth has also been the one to call me and ask me to take her family's photos more times than any other one person. (Here in 2014 and here in 2015, just to show a few.) Her support and encouragement have allowed me to unlock so much enjoyment and gratification from taking photos, and I'm so very grateful for her.