Erin and I first became friends years ago through Facebook – we were both newer photographers in Central IL at the time, so it began as a message here and there to ask each other business-related questions. We eventually attended a conference together (alongside two other FB photog friends, Lauren and Sharon) and after a day of carpooling and listening to speakers and talking all things photographer life over dinner and drinks at the end of day, the four of us suddenly found ourselves as real life friends. I had never had friends in my field before, so these ladies soon became a lifeline I hadn’t previously realized I needed. We asked each other for work advice and commiserated, of course, but we also talked about dating and parenting and marriage and moving and the other relationships in each of our lives.
2015 led to change for each of us, and for Erin, that was marrying Garrett and moving with him to North Dakota. I admire Erin for a lot of reasons, but one of those will always be her ability to embrace big life changes – despite being closely tied to her family and community in Illinois, she was excited about taking this step with her husband. And in true Erin fashion, she rebuilt her business there and figured out how to make the market work for her, and they got a pup of their own and a home and started their life together in North Dakota. This past year she was back in Illinois for a visit one weekend when she broke the news that she was pregnant with all of us over brunch, and we exclaimed and asked a million questions as she told us they’d be moving back to Illinois soon, too.
So after a few years of putting down their ND roots, she and Garrett moved the life they’d created to Illinois, and they started fixing up another home and learning how to adjust to what their jobs looked like in a new area again and preparing for a little one on the way, and then baby Hughie arrived this past fall. I had the chance to come to their home as little man was turning six months, and seeing them in this stage of their lives was so fun. One of the things I love most about sessions in people’s homes are the bits of real life that weave their way in – Hugh recently started eating avocado and his mom fed him some in the kitchen while Dad was upstairs on a phone call for work, and there were tiny remnants of home repairs here and there, and they turned on Baby Shark in their living room (as I imagine they’ve done many times before) and Hugh’s eyes lit up, and they changed diapers and took turns giving him a bottle and he cried as his parents bundled him up in his little Carhartts, because I imagine squeezing your arms through those little armholes as a baby just feels like the worst. And his mom and dad climbed onto their bed with him, giggling at his giggles, and smiling whenever he smiled, and I watched as two people who found each other despite a long distance originally between them sat in the home they had once again created together, and was reminded that often times, home has a lot more to do with people than places.