At 2 years old, Riley’s blonde hair glows as she stumbles through flowers for her Lilacia Park Family Session. Her blue eyes bright, and excited, like her father’s. Her personality, stubborn, in the best way possible. As we shoot on this unseasonably warm fall day, she picks flowers, takes her time soaking in the environment. She is a child in love with life, in love with exploring. She is happy, and cheerful, much like her mother, Jessie. It is my first time meeting Paul and Riley, but their faces are familiar and kind. Jessie and I are former coworkers, and over the years I have watched her families story unfold through social media.
I have not seen Jessie in the 7-ish years that have passed since we worked at the same preschool in the suburbs of Chicago. We worked together only briefly, but I’ve always remembered her as a positive face across the hall, a teacher that the toddlers loved. She is happy and uplifting, the type to never raise her voice, to sing the silly songs and make the funny voices, hug your children when they are sad. She is the kind of teacher you wish your child had. The kind of mom that Riley is lucky to have.
As I think back on Jessie now, she’s a reminder to always be kind, for you never know what kind of battle someone is fighting. Their story is not mine to tell. But I can say that witnessing it from a distance has been incredibly humbling. I’m honored to have been able to capture their beautiful smiles during this chapter of their story. I can’t wait to see the beautiful things that life has in store for this family.