Before Olive was born I prepared, like any good mother, for how I would announce our baby's birth. I saved coupons as they came across my email for all of those popular online photo shops, I intended to splurge on sweet announcement cards that would tell the world of our son/daughter's birth, and I contacted a former high school classmate to schedule ahead our newborn photos.
The announcement of Olive's birth did not happen as I had planned. Rather than beautiful cards adorned with a sweet newborn in a cute crocheted hat, our announcement came in the form of a Facebook post indicating that while our adorable newborn had made her way into the world - she, just as quickly, was about to make her way to heaven. What a whirlwind those days were. That was five months ago.
A couple of months later that dear sweet friend from high school reached back out to see if my husband and I were ready to have that photo shoot. It wouldn't be the shoot we originally anticipated, but it turned into exactly what we needed.
I wanted to find a way to incorporate Olive into our annual Christmas card photo. To take it even further, our wonderful friends at Tony Just Photography asked if we would be open to an idea they had. When we left the hospital the day Olive passed we were given a box of her belongings. There wasn't much, but the little we do have are now some of my most cherished memories. I find myself going through that box most nights, smelling her blanket, holding up her gown to see how little she was and running my fingers over the mold of her feet.
While many mothers have nightly rituals of brushing teeth, tucking in their little ones and saying prayers - my nightly rituals involve closing my eyes, breathing in what's left of her and asking God to, in whatever way He's able (since I don't know how it works in heaven) to allow my kisses and love to reach her.
We met up in early November on a sunny fall day. They started by taking some stunning photos of the two of us and then we moved to a nearby park so my husband and I could have some privacy while we went through Olive's belongings.
Tony and Vicki found a way to capture my husband and I in some very intimate moments remembering our daughter. Since I can't possibly send each and every one of you that kept us in your thoughts and prayers this year a Christmas card, I wanted to share some shots from our first family photo shoot.
I have no idea how one goes about capturing the essence of a family when 1/3 of the family is in heaven, but I'm certain we all felt her presence that day. I can't thank them enough for their amazing support, and for giving this grieving mama beautiful photos to create an album that will help ease the pain on days my heart feels the heaviest.
To you, dear friends, the love and encouragement you've shared with us is incredible. This holiday season especially - the notes, messages and packages you've sent have warmed my heart more than you will ever know.
We wish you a beautiful and blessed Christmas filled with hope, love and peace.