It was March when Betsy and I first spoke on the phone, and Isla was just 8 months old then. Betsy told me all about their family back then, and I've been so excited to meet them ever since.
If you're here and reading this, maybe you know me already, and if you do, you know I'm absolutely just out of my mind with joy when someone tells me about stories they want to tell with their family's photos... and Betsy and Wesley had so many facets of their story that they wanted to be sure to tell and honor... and I've just been waiting for the moment when I could meet them and get to document their family.
The story begins with Betsy and Wesley.
Betsy's been living in her North End apartment for a decade - they got married in St. Stephen's just by their place... and for their daughter Isla's 1st birthday photos it was important to show this part of their family's story in our photoshoot. We knew we'd go walking during our photoshoot to show off their North End life... but once we realized we were all fully vaccinated, we were excited to be able to go indoors for the first part of the photoshoot.
Wesley is deaf and Betsy's hard of hearing, so we also knew we wanted to show their family signing with Isla. When I first arrived at their apartment, I watched Betsy sign something quickly to Wesley and I wasn't sure what she was saying, but she zipped into the other room and came back with a mask with a clear front for me to have!
This just meant so much - I like to be able to connect and chat with parents as we're taking our photos, and while I was wearing my mask this was really hard since reading my lips was impossible when I was wearing my regular mask.
I love her interactions with her parents in these photos... it's fun to be the center of attention and have your daddy tell you how beautiful you are!
I adored spending some time playing inside really documenting the sign language aspect of their lives to start our session.
Another important part of their family's story is that Isla was supposed to have a twin, but Betsy and Wesley lost that baby when Betsy was 20 weeks into her pregnancy. When Betsy told me about the stone heart "Angel" remembrance piece that their family has for Isla's twin, we knew we wanted to be able to show Isla and her guardian angel's remembrance piece somehow...
And when they brought it out, I completely melted. It was as if Isla knows and understands the importance of the "Angel" heart, because she treated it so lovingly and carefully during our photoshoot.
And then it was time to go walking... and look who's SO close to walking herself! Grateful to have her parents' help, though... right there in front of the church where her parents were married.
The other symbolic piece that Betsy and Wesley brought along for our photoshoot was a guardian angel doll that Wesley's twin gave her...
She carried it throughout our photoshoot and really loves it as a comfort piece - you can spy it in a lot of the upcoming photos below...
Spending time with Betsy and Wesley, especially at the beginning when it hit me how hard this year of masking must have been for their family -- it was just such an impactful experience for me. Their family is just bubbling over with love... and I know, as we all are... that they're really looking forward to seeing mouths again!
And of course, before we finished, I needed to be sure to get some Daddy/Isla photos together...
And some Mama/Isla photos...
I'm so grateful to have gotten to know your family, Betsy and Wesley.
Thank you so much for meeting me for photos last weekend! I adored every moment.
Now that Isla's turning one next month, your family will be aging out of my Year One Together Facebook group, but I hope you'll come join me in my other Facebook group called "Boston Families Together", and I want everyone who lives locally with their children to come join!
I have live interviews happening in there all the time, on topics ranging from "Talking With Your Kids About Race" to tonight's "Your Toddler Isn't Nuts: Bringing Montessori Home" and "Back to The Workplace: Strategies To Cope". You can watch recordings of all my interviews anytime in the group.
I'm also raffling off goodies and photoshoots and all the things in there...
I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2021 will mark my 18th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.
BBP Demo Video
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