I come from a two parent household. My parents are still married to this day, as are both of their parents. My first real experience with single parenthood, in all honesty, was with my sister. She found herself young and pregnant with someone who did not want to be a father. I helped her change diapers, I held my niece when she cried. I babysat on many occasions. I was there for her as much as anyone could be. But at the end of the day, I can’t say that I ever really knew what she was really feeling. When my niece was 3, my sister enrolled herself in school and met her wonderful husband to their now three adorable children. It was a perfect happy ending, and in all honesty, I hadn’t thought much about it again. Not in any real context. Not in the kind of moments and feelings that she had when her daughter was small. I didn’t know. If I could walk back in time and hold my sister when she was 19 and tell her she was doing everything right, I would. I would tell her over and over and over again. And If you are reading this, I want you to know… you did everything right. I’m so proud of who you are, and what an incredible parent you are.
In 2012, I was moving back home to New Mexico at a very low point in my life. Little did I know that within a month, I would meet two boys that would change absolutely everything. While I was living in Washington, then New Jersey, traveling to other countries, and eventually leaving a damaging relationship, my now husband, Edd, was here raising a little boy who would soon be mine too. I met Logan when he was 7. He was a shy little ball of energy and sweet smiles. Hearing him laugh for the first time is in the top five best moments of my life.
My life was perfect. I had found everything I’d ever wanted. Just before Logan’s 9th birthday (the weekend before, actually!), I married his Dad.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect wedding day. I married the man of my dreams, and I gained a son, who was an excellent Best Man, by the way! My heart was indescribably full. For weeks before the wedding, Logan was stressing about his speech. I told him not to worry! I suggested he talk about his favorite memory with his dad, and his favorite memory with me, and how he feels about us getting married, and that was all there was to it! On our wedding day, Logan stood up in front of everyone with the microphone in one hand, his speech in the other, and his Uncle Chris at his back for moral support, and he told a story about his birthday one year. He said that his Dad had gotten a chocolate pie from Village Inn that night, and that they stayed up really late, and he got to eat as much pie as he wanted! He was so full! When they were both stuffed, his Dad had taken the rest of the pie and thrown it in the trashcan, but the trash bag fell in and the chocolate pie ended up all over the trash can. “and we still have that trash can with a chocolate stain,” Logan said in his speech.
We were all in tears from both laughing and crying.
A couple of years ago, we decided to make a photo book for each year of Logan’s life. (Huge shoutout to Shutterfly.com, because we ADORE their books!) When we started making these books, I was introduced to a life that I didn’t know. It was a life that I wasn’t a part of. There were hundreds of photos of Logan’s sweet face, from birth to now, organized perfectly by year and month. All of the places he would fall asleep, his first time playing in snow, their Disney trips. What I started to realize was that my husband was a single parents. For 7 years. I had known this, of course, but it wasn’t until I saw their photos of those 7 years that it really truly hit me. He was doing this alone.
That birthday Logan was talking about in his speech was his third birthday. He was 3 years old, eating pie late at night, and it is his favorite memory with his dad. Not because it was a big event, or because he got great presents. It was a quiet night at home, laughing and eating pie with his dad.
and there it was, sitting in a slew of photos of freshly turned 3 year old Logan. A self timer photo of my two favorite boys, sitting at a tiny kids table eating chocolate pie together.
Logan will be able to look back at this photo with fondness and nostalgia forever. I don’t think he will ever forget that chocolate pie. But as I sat there and looked at that self timer photo, I suddenly, all at once, felt the gravity of single parenthood. It’s rewarding, and beautiful.. but it’s lonely. It’s isolating. It’s hard. I’m sitting here writing this while my husband plays video games with our now 11 year old, and our 18 month old is sound asleep, and I can’t imagine doing this alone. Raising children is messy and chaotic and consuming, and I’m not doing it alone. I want to step into this photo, sit at that table, and laugh with them. I want to take photos of them together, and jump in to their self timed group shots. I want to put 3 year old Logan to bed on his birthday, and kiss his little forehead, and touch his sweet curly hair. I want to hold 2008 Edd and tell him he is doing everything right. You did everything right.
I recently hit 2,000 likes on my Facebook fan page, and I’ve been holding out on doing a giveaway, because I wanted to tell you this story first. I wanted you all to know how close this giveaway is to my heart. I wanted you to understand.
I am giving away 2 FULL family sessions to single parents. I want to tell your story. I want to photograph you making memories with your children. I want to come into your home and bake cookies or play games, I want to come with you on an ice cream outing, or a date to the dollar theater. I want to photograph you on a picnic in your living room in a fort. I want to give you something beautiful and real to hold onto.
So here is what I need from you! I need you to nominate your single parent friends. I need you to nominate yourself. I want you to tell me about your story, or your friends stories. Tell me who deserves this. Help me find the parents that are sacrificing everything for their children, so that I can give back to them. Help me show them how beautiful their life is, and help me show them that they are doing everything right.
Please share this blog post so that it can find it’s way to these parents! All nominations/stories can be emailed to email@example.com or through the contact form.
Winners will be announced on Christmas Day, December 25, 2016.
I can’t wait to meet you.