My Dear Atley,
Just a little note to say “welcome to the world.” You’ve changed my life. there are a handful of moments in the history of me that I can recall which changed how I think or how I felt in a profound way. When your mom and dad asked me to be there on the day you were to be born, I was excited. Simply excited. The closer to your birth day it got, the more nervous I became. I couldn’t sleep for most nights the week before. And I can’t quite tell you why. Taking photographs has become a natural thing for me and I was prepared with cameras, lenses, memory cards, back-ups to my back-ups, if you will. I have known your mom for years. We go way back to moments I’m certain you will never hear about and that’s wonderful for me! And I think the world of your dad and brothers (even aunts, uncles, and grandparents). Your grandma LouAnn reminds me of my mom and she’s someone that I see and just want to hug. I grew concerned that I would not be able to do your huge hello to the world proper justice–that my photographs would not tell the story of how you arrived. Two days later, in fact, I am still in awe. I stare at the photos from your home and your hospital stay and just cannot believe it all happened. You should know that your mom is one of THE STRONGEST women I know. I have never seen someone go through something so moving and handle it with SUCH grace and composure. I’m not sure I ever will witness such a miraculous thing again. Your dad held mom’s hand, gave her encouragement, kissed her gently, and was so thrilled to see and announce “IT’S A GIRL!” It was moving. You are a lucky little lady. You are loved and will be well cared for. And if by chance we never meet, you’ll hopefully see through photographs how I came to love you too. And what I can pass on to you is something I learned through my part of your big day: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” May you have a wonderful, lovely, joyous life, little one.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, “mom and dad,” for allowing me to share. You will never know what this experience has done for me. XO