For months I've been sitting on this session coming back over and over again trying to find the right words. Because this family deserves them. Deserves words carefully chosen and polished to a tasteful shine.

This family deserves intentional, deliberate words because every single thing is their home, the way they love each other, the way they parent, it is all done with care. Nothing is slapdash. Nothing ill-considered. 

 I, on the other hand,  can be very slapdash. Most of my decisions feel ill-considered. 

Being around Sara felt like a behind the scenes peek on a parenting class I didn't know I needed. A gentle reminder to slow down and pay attention. To look left and then right.  To be fully in each moment.

Even allowing my memory to trail back to that slow Sunday morning I spent photographing them in their Capitol Hill rowhouse calms my nerves. Lowers my blood pressure. Gets me to stop and look around at each member of my family engaged in their own words. To memorize their noses and eyebrows and the way they misconjugate certain verbs. Inhale the smell of their heads and be here now.


Leo Tolstoy, I'm hear to tell you that you are wrong. All happy families are not alike. 

I see them. The way some love quietly and some love boldly.

I watch as some adventure and as other's prefer the refuge of home.

Yes, they all have a light, the glow of people who love well and are loved in return. 

But you weren't there as I pulled up to see a barefoot, dapper teen pick a dew covered rose for his mother before he realized anyone else was there.

And you didn't witness the way each son wanted his turn to lean on to his mother and smile for a camera so that the future would know how much he loved her. 

You didn't see the pride on the smallest face as she wore the dress made just for the occasion.

How they laughed with each other, even when they teased. 

How their home was such a magnet that even the neighbor's cat came in and out as he pleased.

I have made a job of studying happy families, Leo. And I've never seen one quite like this.