We have so many loves in this life, and outside of our family members, childhood friends often become some of our first – Claudia was one of mine.
We met in grade school, and I thought she was quirky and cool because she had her ears double-pierced and wore funky colors of nail polish. Our moms tell us now that we bonded because we were both somewhat immature for our age, and naïve, and a little bit more awkward than some of our peers; all we knew is that we had so, so much fun together. We wore matching outfits, planned elaborate bike rides to each other’s houses, drew out plans to open a restaurant someday where all the waitresses would wear roller skates, hosted our own “talk shows” in Claudia’s living room, and quite simply, grew up alongside one another.
When we were older, she ended up marrying Jake, the boy who rode the school bus with us as kids, and then eventually she and Jake had new loves of their lives – Jonathan, Allison, Samuel, and Abraham. While I may not be an aunt in the biological sense, one thing I do know is that my heart plunges to my ankles when these kids run up and hug me. These are my people.
Jonathan is the oldest, and has inherited many of the best qualities of his father. He is inquisitive and thoughtful, and loves all things firefighting, as well as understanding how everything works.
Allison is his younger sister, but from the moment she could crawl, she was busy proving that her age and gender meant nothin’ in terms of keeping up with Jon. She loves all things girly and pink, and her static-y hair throughout the entire time I photographed them felt like the perfect indication of her energy.
Sam came third, and many of his qualities remind me of his mother. He is often quiet and keeps to himself, but incredibly giggly once even slightly provoked. His quiet nature often allows him to sneakily get into just about everything, which is always entertaining (more particularly when you’re the non-biological aunt rather than the parent, I’m sure).
Abe is the freshest babe of the bunch, clocking in at a little over one week old when I came over to photograph their family on Valentine’s Day morning. I am excited to learn more about his personality as he gets older, and to watch as they all grow up together: developing their own quirks, meeting their own friends who think they are the coolest, and discovering the people out there who will be added to their own circles of the loves of their lives.
But before those days come, I am honored to capture the times of unkempt hair and princess-pink bedrooms. The spilled milk on the kitchen counter and the playtime concentration. The laughter, and the cries, and the diapers, and the unadulterated contentment that can appear in seemingly small moments of everyday life.