After multiple tries at getting some 3yr pics of Olivia, Uncle Ben had a brilliant idea. Probably the best idea he’s ever had since knowing
me. (Other than painting their bathroom a bold color against my sister’s wishes.) He asked me to take pictures of him and Olivia in
their empty house just like we did on the day he married Ali, 4.5yrs ago. That’s right, the time has come for Olivia to have a yard to play in,
a bigger house where her toys can have a dedicated place of their own and home in a good school district. On Friday Ben handed over
the keys and drove away from the house that holds so many unforgettable memories. The place where you can literally feel my sister’s
presence the second you step in the door. Heck, she poured herself into making that place their home and every inch of it was perfection,
who am I kidding?
As you all know, Adam doesn’t shoot with me anymore, unless it’s a wedding day. But this time he asked if he could come with me. He
said he felt like he should do it for Ali. Him and Ali had a really special relationship and he hurts deeply like the rest of us. So he wanted
to be there to capture the love in their home and most importantly support me, as he knew it was going to be tough. Very tough. I also
forgot how much easier it is shooting kids when he’s around to help me out!!
While Ben was clearing some miscellaneous junk out of the way, O found a prime spot on the heater. HA!
Lately Ali has been IN.OUR.FACE. Like non stop. I usually get a handful of “messages/signs” weekly. But a couple weeks ago I asked her
to make herself more present for me. Welp, let’s just say she listened
for once . I never share these things but with some super close friends
or my family, but I feel like she’s begging me to share with you guys. So I decided I will. Feathers have been a consistent token from her.
Fall out of nowhere onto me, all.the.time. Anywho. As you probably figured, I was having anxiety about cleaning out her stuff with my
family and then taking pictures in their empty house. When we went upstairs into Olivia’s room to shoot, I directed Olivia to stand by the
window. In my mind I imagined Ali rocking her as an infant in that very spot. She went there, then bent down and picked something up…
a white feather. Oh hey sis! Glad you could make an appearance in this sesh. That same day I got a couple other blatant signs, another of
which was a bigger white feather while outside picking a Christmas tree with my aunt Dale. (Another past time we did together.)
She was fidgeting the whole time and you can’t really tell in still frames but you can in the shot on the right. Adam nailed it.Another moment while Ben was moving around stuff. O found Mommy’s curling iron in the hallway.
Ben’s friend gifted him this ukulele, then taught him how to play the song him and Ali danced to on their wedding. Stevie Wonder’s “I
Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” One night in the hospital Ben used his skills to serenade Ali. :*)
One of our goals was to mimic a few wedding day shots. We didn’t realize till Adam went to recreate this shot that it was a cropped image
taken with a lens we don’t really use anymore, which means I didn’t bring it. Doh. I still love it even though it’s not identical. If you have
never seen the cute little lovebirds wedding photos, here they are.
One of the things that hurts the most, is when I watch Olivia do things that Ali fantasized about before becoming a mom. She would talk
about taking her future daughters to ballet and watching them spin till they giggled and fell down. Which is pretty much what happened
here. It’s so hard to let go of the anger I constantly face because she’s missing these things. But I know she’s with her still watching and
likely whispering in O’s ear, “Olivia, don’t forget to spot! Oliviaaa! You’re going to fall! You’re spinning to fast! Oliiiviaaa!”
I love that Adam got this one and I took the below. We both caught the exact same split second moment.
Benjamen, you look like a baby!! When I drove away from shooting it hit me HARD that it’s another chapter shut in Ali’s life. It was a very much a “that’s it” moment. It hurt
but just as Ben so gracefully said, we’re taking those memories with us. They aren’t locked in that house. There is also a bittersweet to this
as well since the house is on my aunt’s street. This means we will be able to drive past it often and smile as we reminisce. It’s like God knew
this day would come 5 yrs ago when they settled in that house and we would need the healing of being able to see it often. Crazy.
“No Melwie! I’m NOT going to smile!”
“Ok, fine. Can I have smarties now?” She’s so cute even when she’s being rotten!
This angel sits in Olivia’s room and she calls her “Mommy.” They talk to her and play with her every day. :***)
So incredibly happy Ben thought of this idea. What perfect memories for Olivia to have as an adult! Happy (belated) 3rd, Miss Olivia!
Heart, Aunt Smelli.