There was a time when I couldn't take my boys to have their picture taken. Like many barber shops and kids hair cutting locations, we had been kicked out of many photography studios for my boys being "uncooperative". I had decided to give up on the beautifully staged pictures I saw on so many other mom's walls. I tried to come to terms with the idea that I would never have a candid shot taken by a professional photographer that would capture their spirit on film.
Lucky for me, I belonged to a Mom's group. I had tried Mom's groups before but usually couldn't participate due to appointments or was asked to leave because of Cameron's erratic behavior, but this Mom's group was different... it was primarily online. They had play groups and Moms Night Out, book groups and forums for selling all my baby crap. I loved this Mom's group. Those days when we couldn't go out, I could stay in and still belong. Not only did I make some very close friends that I keep to this day, I was able to receive help and in turn help other Mom's going through the Autism diagnosis process. I also met a very patient woman who was just starting her photography business.
She offered "mini" Christmas sessions in her home at a reduced rate and said that the boys behavior would be no problem. I was so worried and stressed about it but willing to take the chance on getting a beautiful picture for my wall. We weren't there long, we didn't have to be. As my friend promised, she was patient and let them do that they wanted, snapping pictures all the while. When I received our pictures on CD a little later I cried. There was my boys, their personalities shining through! We finally had a beautiful family picture and a picture of my two boys together... PLAYING TOGETHER. These pictures mean the world to me.
I tell you this story not because I want to commiserate on the difficulties of having a family photo taken but because this wonderful, amazing, talented, photographer and friend of mine lost her home and two daughters in a fire last night. Her husband, youngest and oldest daughter survived.
(photo from Frederick News Post by Travis Pratt)
I learned of this after I had dropped off my boys at school and by the time the school day was out, my amazing Mom community had banded together to ease the burden of this family by setting up donation sites and fundraisers all over the county. Their house was a total loss, saying they lost everything is an understatement with the loss of their beautiful daughters as well. If you would like to donate, here is the information: Lillard Family Donations
So today when I picked up my boys, I asked them for extra hugs. When they asked why, I said that I was sad today because I had a friend that was sad. When they asked me why I was crying, I told them that sometimes people cry when they are happy, sometimes people cry when they are sad and sometimes when you know someone is hurting really really bad sometimes tears just fall.