I was determined to follow, yet be unseen. To have a mythical creature appear that was unexpectedly exhilarating. I calculated a safe distance of approximately 20 feet, but when the others began to swoop in I realized my calculations had been incorrect. Slowly I crept closer. I'd never really thought I'd be here. Well okay, I knew exactly where I was. It was another raucous (just kidding) Friday night at the Belle Meade Kroger in Nashville, TN. While the city was hopping with live music EVERYWHERE I was perusing the shelves for my weekly staples. But since this was Nashville, the fact that one of my all-time favorite artists was standing feet from me should not have been surprising. While I checked off my grocery list, Garth Brooks had come in to buy ice cream for his brother's birthday party (I know because I heard him say so to others that were too excited to not bother him on his mission). I was in a conundrum. Once, I had driven over a thousand miles to see him perform as a tiny speck on a stage so far away from my seat that I cursed that binoculars did not come with it. But I never thought he would be standing in the checkout line one lane over from me on a Friday night. Should I approach and swoop in? My manners told me no, but I also just couldn't walk away. So I stood there with my receipt in hand dumbstruck and silent. I was frozen long before Disney thought of it. Luckily, Garth was obviously used to this behavior and he walked up and asked me if I would like his autograph. I nodded quickly, handed over the back of my grocery receipt, and hoped that the ink wouldn't smudge. This was Nashville, the place where anything wonderful can and does happen--even on a Friday night at the local Kroger's. When a family that had just relocated to the Denver area from Nashville contacted me, this was what flooded my mind, along with so many other wonderful memories of a very special town that holds a truly unique place in my heart.
Nashville was the first place where I gave serious thought about actually being a professional photographer. In a town like that, I saw daily the struggles from some world-class musicians who kept at their craft despite the odds and learned the meaning of keep on keepin' on. It was a town where my then-boyfriend, now husband's family treated me as though I'd always been a part of theirs, and where I learned so much about myself and my aspirations into the world of photography.
When I heard that this Denver via Nashville family was expecting their third child and interested in capturing her first days at home, my excitement was palpable. Not only would I be meeting their sweet baby girl shortly after her birth, but the entire family who had just moved from a place I used to call home. AND their family included a very fluffy furball named Grizzly. Hooray! Triple-score! I knew I was going to love meeting and photographing this family and I was not disappointed. In addition to their new baby girl, they have another sweet and beautiful gal who loves dragons and a little boy who was charming, adorable, and always with a ball in his hand (one can never have an appreciation for sports too early).
After baby girl had arrived, we promptly scheduled our photo session. As a mama myself I know very well the fog, haze, and exhaustion that arrives along with the fullest heart and happiest of highs you could ever imagine when your kiddo is born. I arrived anticipating a family that may be slightly overwhelmed (after all they had just moved into their new home, just had a baby, and just so happened to be more than a thousand miles from their old stomping grounds). Instead I was welcomed with SO much kindness, joy, and happiness. The entire family allowed me to spend an afternoon with them and I felt like we had been friends for years, instead of minutes. That is what happens when your clients happen to be one of the most incredible families I've ever met. Throughout it all, I kept thinking of how lucky I was to have met them and how lucky their little girl is to join such a loving and fun family.
As the photo session came to an end, I knew that just like those years ago in Nashville, I had been so lucky to be at such a place for a magical moment in time. People often think that superheros have superpowers and wear capes. Well if this is true than Mama Rebecca 100% qualifies as a superhero (no cape necessary). Her calmness, kindness, and warm heart just days after welcoming her third kiddo were nothing short of enchanting. I'm now convinced that a cape is absolutely unnecessary.
I moved to Nashville toward the end of my college career to complete an internship and decided not to leave once it was over. It was a large town that felt small, and the uniqueness of it stuck to me like my hair to my forehead in 90% humidity. It is a town I have to thank for a lot of things in my life, and one I will always have wonderful memories of. A new product of Nashville that I'm thankful for was the opportunity to meet and photograph the McHugh family. Thank you for bringing such a fantastic family to Denver and for welcoming me into your home with my camera. I cannot wait to hear what wonderful adventures await you all in the years ahead.