The early evening, mother and daughter session I did with Nicole and Orianna on the grounds of Gypsy Pines Photography in Mifflinburg, PA was so touching and heart-warming. With sunset approaching, and rays of light adding a glow to their skin and shine to their smiles, there was an adorable loving connection between this mother and her growing toddler which will be hard to match. They came fully prepared for everyone to know they were a cute little duo with matching nail-polish, jewelry, and even color-coordinated dresses!
Having a blended family, Nicole and her late husband gathered all the children up for the holidays to have portraits done a few years ago. Since her children are growing up way to fast, Nicole knew it was important to make sure she captured those times she could of the family together, but Orianna was just a baby, and she has certainly grown since then. Unfortunately, they lost two members of the family this past year, but Nicole still has those family portraits to look at and remember. She realized the importance of preserving these moments to look back on and cherish. Nicole did not want to pass up an opportunity to have her fairy princess frozen in time, because as a mother of adult children she knows they grow up so fast, and the fleeting memories will be the remaining pieces for her stories.
Originally, Nicole wanted to just do portraits of Orianna, since they were moving out of state on her birthday, and wanted to have something to give the grandparents. After hearing Nicole's story, I could tell she was still deeply affected by her family's loss, and did not want to have Orianna miss the out on having pictures with her mom. Nicole was a bit hesitant, as most mom's are, with getting into the picture, but I reminded her that Orianna loves her anyway.
We are the most critical of ourselves, but there is never a time when those who truly love us look at a picture and think, "Gee, I wish my mom was (thinner, had a better tan, had her hair done, had make-up on, etc.)". The people who love you look at those pictures, and are glad they have a picture to remember you by and think of the happy moments and times. Those happy moments are what Nicole wanted to show in the portraits. After the passing of Orianna's father, Nicole knew she needed to capture the part of their family story where Orianna is still looking for fairies in the trees, smelling the flowers that are taller than her knees, the sheer joy of a 4 year old with an arm full of stuffed animals. This is also the same time where she can read a book with her, looking at the pages and pictures, guessing what might come next, something that wont last once Orianna can read by herself.
I had first met Nicole while at the Gathering for the Gessner charity event in Mifflinburg. Orianna was outside enjoying all of the children's activities we had planned. Her face was painted like a cat and she was diligently drawing with a piece of chalk bigger than her little fist. Having grown up in Mifflinburg, Nicole had always been active in the community and loved spending time with her family and friends around town. Orianna and her also loved going to the zoo and park and enjoying the different things always going on in the area, like the event at the Mifflinburg Hotel that sunny weekend in May. Even though they have moved on to the chilly and breezy shores of the Atlantic Ocean, I know Orianna is still running around in her little red rainboots looking for monkeys in the trees, coloring with her left and right hands in an impressive ambidextrous way, and making the funniest faces for Nicole while reading and playing with their dogs.