As most of you know, I started volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in August. I actually owe this to my friend Cassie, who also happens to be a mom photographer in the area. She helped me through the process of applying and even met with me a few times, despite her living almost an hour away and having 2 littles of her own. I remember after the first time we met, she said to me “it will change your life” and at that moment, I didn’t quite understand what she meant. Now that I have been volunteering for a few months, I totally understand what she meant and it is completely true. My life has been changed. There is no way to describe the feeling of helping a family during their most difficult times in life. It has been the highest honor I have received in my life, that these families have let me in and entrusted me to capture these priceless memories for them. I will forever be grateful to my friend Cassie for introducing me to this organization.
I met the Salinas family in a hospital room after they had lost their beautiful daughter Malia. They were my first session with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I remember being terrified right before meeting them- I was scared that I wasn’t going to be good enough, I was scared that they might hate me, and I was scared that I might not be able to hold my emotions in. I held my breath as the door opened, and when this mamma arrived into the room- I saw her beautiful smile and instantly felt a connection with her. I don’t know what it was but my terror instantly went away and I was determined to give this family the most beautiful images that I could. The love that these parents had for each other and their daughter was radiating even in this heartbreaking time. I photographed their sweet angel, gave my condolences and was on my way. I cried on the way home- I thought of all the things I wanted to say and the hugs I wanted to give this mama and how I wish I could make their pain go away. I never thought I would ever hear from them again but after I delivered their photos I received a thank you email from this mama that brought me to tears. After that we exchanged several emails and soon I was glad to call her a friend. Later she told me she had been to our website and loved our work. Her sons 4th birthday was coming up she was interested in a session. She was also wanting to incorporate Malia into the family portraits. We were honored of course. I immediately started brainstorming ideas for their session. We pride ourselves in pouring our heart and soul into our sessions. We don’t want to just give you photographs, we want to give our clients an experience and evoke a feeling of love and happiness. It wasn’t until the night before that the idea of including Malia in the family portraits in the form of an Angel came to me. I remembered that they would often refer to her as an angel and I asked Sam what he thought and he said he thought it was a good idea. We had ordered the tiny wings a few months back but hadn’t had the chance to photograph them yet- I think they were made for Malia. She is a beautiful angel and we will never forget her.
We had so much fun photographing the Salinas family and their gorgeous son, Dominic that it didn’t even feel like we were working. And no need to pose this family- they were naturals, we pretty much shot them doing their own thing and having fun! Dominic was just full of personality! One minute he was a serious GQ model making us fall in love with him and the next minute he was melting our hearts with all kinds of cuteness. And that hair- Sam and I were just in love with it! One thing for sure is that this precious boy is so lucky to be surrounded by so much love and warmth from his parents. To see such happiness in their eyes and the strength they carry after their recent loss is amazing to me. They thanked us so many times and this beautiful mama has told me more than once that it was a blessing to have met me- but to be honest, I am the one who is feels thankful and blessed to have met them- because of them I have a new perspective on life. I have an immense amount of gratitude. They have reminded me to not take a single moment for granted. I am incredibly grateful for all the precious gifts in my life and I count their friendship as one of those gifts. Thank you Kashia and Josh- your love for each other, your humility and your beautiful family has changed my life. With that being said, we want to wish the cutest little GQ model the happiest 4th birthday! We hope you have a wonderful day filled with lots of love, laughter, hugs, kisses and tons of birthday goodies!!!