When you grow up in a small town, it can often become tough to recall a time when you didn’t know a particular person who also grew up there – you don’t necessarily remember how or when you first crossed paths with them, because they became so ingrained in so many different facets of your life that it started to feel as though you had always known them.
This is how I feel about Ashton.
We played basketball together, and we were both bridesmaids in my cousin’s wedding, and at one point I was her cousin’s roommate, and we cheered together on the sidelines of the same football field, and she was riding in the backseat of my car when I got into an accident pulling into the local Pizza Hut, and our parents have gone on vacations together, and our brothers used to ride their four wheelers together on the same roads we both drove back and forth on regularly as teenagers. We both went off and did our own things, but ultimately, there’s no denying that we’re not only cut from the same cloth, but also that our lives have been continually weaving together for as long as we can both remember.
I do, however, remember the first time I heard about this guy she was dating that she had met in law school. Pat was smart, and friendly in a quieter way, and asked thoughtful questions in conversation, and had absolutely no connection to our small town, interwoven life and community but came in embracing it anyway. After having to reschedule their engagement session due to rain the first time around, the two of them brought me homemade cookies and a card when our reschedule date fell the evening before my birthday. It was one of those sessions that made me feel lucky to do what I do – to capture two people who still just really adore one another, and to think about how special it is to not only photograph Ash in the town that made up a large part of who we each are, but also to see how Pat loves this part of her just as much as the rest, and the many ways in which they’ve now become some of the best parts of each other, too.