Family photo sessions seem to be most often prompted by two things---annual tradition or jarring moments in life. For Tina, it was the latter. She lost her father, which took her back to her childhood home in AK. While settling her father’s estate she had a chance to see her familiar childhood surroundings with adult eyes stained with the tears of loss.
Anyone who has settled the estate of a parent knows what an emotional rollercoaster the process takes the heart and mind on. There’s little one can do to prepare for this, you just kind of brace yourself for what seems an unbearable task that demands tending.
One of these days, while knee deep in estate matters, Tina was headed to the courthouse to settle some estate matters. She saw crowds of people waving flags lining the street on both sides. Unsure what was drawing the crowd, she looked around to see in her rear view mirror over a hundred motorcycles.
The realization dawned on her…this was a military funeral. Feeling almost frozen in her tracks she managed to pull over and get out. She joined the crowds in amazement. Under what other circumstances could hundreds of people, unconnected to one another, gather and silence be the sound that thudded in every chest.
Tina remembers that a butterfly’s wings could have been heard in the crowd. It was impossible for her to relay this story to me without tears. Upon seeing the flag draped coffin in the hearse she felt life come to a stand still.
The realization was all too clear, she was burying her father and the boy in the hearse could be Christian, her son who had just joined the U.S. Marines.
Tina called her husband Tim in an attempt to relay what was coursing through her. There was a sense of urgency welling up from deep inside her. She felt compelled to record the preciousness of what God had blessed her with in her family.
Tina knows God grants no one guarantees of tomorrow. She wanted a record of who the Hanna-Fredericks are as a blended family that has struggled to make the blending work and come out stronger on the other side.
Tina’s desire to have the underlying love recorded was easy with this crew. Everyone knew the significance of this day to her, so all these adult children cleared their schedules for 2 hours one evening to gather, celebrate, play and record.
When I arrived the Hanna-Frederick home smelled of deep southern comfort in fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn bread. The family had just shared a feast to celebrate Christian’s return from boot camp. The house was bustling with activity and excitement.
The kids all laughed easily with one another, even during our formally grouped poses. It was a unique experience for me not to have a toddler running out of the frame, but we did have Dusty who graced us intermittently with his presence. He would continually sidle up to his Katey and flop down facing her until we re-arranged him to face forward!
Tina had mentioned to me in her family priorities fall like this: God, family, country, lacrosse. That helped to set the tone pretty decisively for how we would best C A P T U R E this sweet family.
Katey is the only daughter in the family, so she’s fiercely protected by all 3 of her brothers. She’s a recent graduate hoping to get a teaching job and shares her love of lax by coaching lax for Century High School. If you ever have a chance to cross paths with Katey—do so, you’ll find a sweet, kind strength in her that sets her apart in life.
Tim has shared his lax passion with his son Christopher who plays for Drexel University. Christopher was part of my heavy lifting crew for the chairs we brought out from their home and did so with a smile and graciousness.
Chaz has an electric smile. I asked his fiancée Heather if this is what caused her to fall in love with him. Her reply, “nope, it was his love of Jesus.” It’s pretty clear these two have a lot of fun together and are building a solid foundation for their upcoming marriage.
Christian…part of the reason why this session happened today. Decked to the nines in his dress blues and freshly home from his first wave of boot camp. He brought a stoic military presence to his formal family photos until Katey mentioned his dimples…than his gorgeous smile emerged!
Hanna-Fredericks I wish you all the best as you walk the roads God sets before you! Enjoy the blessings that have come through His Grace so clearly marked on all of your lives!