I was attending a mom’s night out, planned by Budding Voices, where my Noah receives speech therapy. It was a Traveling Vineyard wine tasting event, and we were there to taste good wine, socialize with other moms, and just enjoy a little break from parenting our littles. We enjoyed the event so much, that several of us decided to go grab a drink afterwards and get to know each other a little better. My original plan for the evening was to grab an Uber at the end of the night, but when Kandace and I realized that we lived in the same neighborhood, she offered to give me a ride home. By the end of the night, I was delighted to have met someone that I knew I would soon be calling a friend AND that she lived a stone’s throw away from my house.
Kandace and Lonnie were thinking about doing some photos before Christmas, so the conversation began about in home sessions. It also helps that we live in the same neighborhood, with a small park and beach within walking distance! Unfortunately, our first attempt at a session was a little tough. Owen, Kandace and Lonnie’s little one, was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms at 9 weeks old and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at 10 weeks old. Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a genetic condition which causes tumors to grow in the body's vital organs, including the brain, heart, eyes, kidneys, skin, and lungs. It is the leading genetic cause of epilepsy and autism. Despite his challenges, Owen is one of the sweetest little boys you could ever meet. He has a smile that will just melt your heart. On this particular Sunday, Owen was having a hard day though, was still recovering from a cold and wasn’t very interested in showing us his beautiful smile. We got a few photos, but I knew we could do better when Owen was feeling more himself, so I convinced Kandace that we would have a redo over the next couple weeks.
The next weekend, the forecast was chilly but the cloud cover was going to be perfect for some outdoor family portraits. With a little prodding, we convinced Lonnie and Anna (Owen’s au pair) to do an early morning session for that perfect golden hour light. I think Anna took the most convincing! She’s from Brazil, has been in the states for about 3 months, and said that she had never been so cold in her entire life. But in the end, she was persuaded.
We met at the park on Saturday morning, and started on the beach. It was clear that Owen was much more himself, full of smiles and giggles. It was also clear that he is loved more than he could possibly imagine. This family did not have to be prompted to snuggle or kiss or tickle, it was all just so natural for them.
After wrapping up at the park, we made the short walk back to their home to warm up. We played in Owen’s room, jumped on the master bed, and hung out in front of the Christmas tree. And Taffy, the cat, refused to be left out of the family Christmas photo! I had a blast with this sweet family. I’m glad I got to see Owen’s happy smile shine from the other side of my camera. I loved experiencing the love this family has for each other, and look forward to spending more time with them in the years to come.
Because I know that Kandace and Lonnie advocate for the TS Alliance, an organization that is committed to helping families affected by TSC through support and research, I wanted to include a little more information on them. The TS Alliance is dedicated to furthering research, providing education and supporting families affected by TSC. If you’d like to support the TS Alliance in their mission, please click on the link below and consider making a donation. Every little bit supports families affected by TSC and brings us one step closer to a cure.