This family holds a special place in my heart but this little girl is very special. Mari June was born about a year ago, these photos were taken to mark her first year of life. She was born extremely early and the NICU was a place of home for her in her first months of life. There were pulmonary hemorrhages, oxygen tubes, waiting, unknowing, doctors, blood transfusions, PICC lines, brain bleeds, brain surgeries, scans, ventilators, blood clots, and ultimately a diagnosis of Hydrocephalus - a buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain. Luckily, Mari will be ok and her life will be fulfilled to the max, plus she has this great family so we all know that smile of hers is a miracle.
I met Candace, Mari and Henry’s mom at my first day as a Sr. Graphic Designer at ULTA Beauty Corporate in the burbs of Chicago. It was her orientation too, where she was the social media manager. I liked her from the get go. She was confident, smiley and had a cool sense about her that I gravitated to. Maybe it was that she was the young one amongst some IT folks in orientation or maybe it was because we both shared the love of our nose studs. We became friends over time and even managed to get into our own version of a supper club together. Supper club sounds dated but it was really a girl’s date night, where a few of ULTA girls who lived in the city and had to commute to Bolingbrook, bitched about the traffic and laughed about “those” co-workers.
I met Candace and Johnny at Montrose Beach one August morning and the light was beautiful, perfect in my opinion. The sky was slightly overcast but rays of light peaked through various holes in the clouds. Both kids were smiley and hilarious, and I even got a rendition of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” by Henry and Candace. He knew every word! For a three-year-old, I am impressed! These photos are soft and gentle, and I think their outfits are just the cutest, not surprised by the woman who puts all us moms to shame when it comes to Halloween!
They love these images and I hope they’re cherished for years to come. Thanks Candace and Johnny for allowing me to capture these special moments.