Heading home for the holidays is always bittersweet. You learn to prioritize your time with who you need to see. Catching up with Jessy and Jacey is always one of my first stops when I get off the plane. I’ve known Jess since we were in diapers, though our friendship really came to a head when we reached junior high. We’ve run the gammit, as far as best friends go. From slumber parties and homecoming dances to weddings and babies, we’ve done it all at this point.
I can remember staying up all night when Jess went into labor with Jacey. I was worried about Jess and how her labor would be and I was excited to meet this awesome little human who had been growing in my bestie’s belly for the past 9, almost 10 months. Seeing Jace come into the world was life affirming in so many ways. The girl I knew, who had only ever talked about being a mom, would finally have the missing piece to her puzzle. Jacey Sunshine Ray came into this world on March 15th, with a full set of lungs and a heart filled with joy.
Watching Jace grow up has been an adventure and reality check for us all. Every time I come home to visit, something about this child has changed. She is taller than the last time I saw her and her vocabulary seriously blows me away. She is smart, sweet and wild, just like her mother. She has kept us on our toes all these years, which is why I was a little worried when Jess said, “Baby No. 2 is on the way”. We all wondered how Jace would respond to sharing the spotlight with her soon-to-be baby sis.
Princess Kessa made her way into the world one day shy of being my birthday buddy. And oh what a gift! I bummed my way through the holidays, counting down the minutes until I could fly home and snuggle this munchkin. Though Jacey would always be my girl, Kessa had stolen a little bit of my heart from the minute I met her. She is so tiny and she resembles Jace in way I didn’t think possible. Doing this newborn shoot has been such an experience for me. Not only because I got to spend some alone time with Jace, but because I got to see Jess with her newest little bundle of joy and photograph these first sweet moments with baby. Much to my relief, Jace, as you can tell, is thrilled to have a baby sister.
Though I wish I could say these portraits were for Jess, Jamie and their respective families, I can’t lie. They are for me, for my own personal catalog of awesomeness. They are to remind me of how little they once were and how much I miss them every day. In a way, these portraits were done to capture this moment in time, something that I feel flies by way too fast nowadays. Being away from them means missing birthday parties and ballet recitals, but it also means, I get to monopolize time with these kiddos when I am home. One of my greatest joys is to be a part of their lives. My saving grace is knowing that no matter how near or far, I am only a phone call or plane ticket away from playing Barbies or learning how to tie-dye.
So until then, I’ll keep snapping away and put all these pictures in my keepsake box. And in 50 years, when Jess and I are living it up at the Senior Center, we will look back and think, “What a great day that was and look at how far we’ve come.” I love love love Jessy Fisher but I must admit, I love these girls more. They are this beautiful extension of my oldest and best friend. I am sure, that one day soon, Jace and Kessa are going to cause just as much trouble as Jess and I did back in the day. Unfortunately for them, we’ve done it all so Good Luck getting one past us! Love you guys so much! Counting down the days until our next play date.
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