JDP senior Jeffrey is the kind of kid you wanna go out for pizza with and swap funny stories. He gets that from his family. I’ve been creating portraits for the Laney (his mom’s maiden name) family the last 4 years and they are a blast to create for because they live out loud and they love big on their people. Looking for senior portraits? Click here to contact us!
Jeffrey is so much like his Uncle Joe that it is uncanny! They all spend a lot of time together, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising! Jeffrey’s aunt Shannon also sounds sooo much like his mom Chrissy that I did a double take on more than one occasion. His stepdad was at Jeffrey’s session to help maneuver his dirt bike for us and he was such an encouragement to Jeffrey the whole time, with poignant injections of humor along the way that helped to make the portrait time a blast. Why do I share this? Because I was so impressed to see the loving, raucous, hilarious network of family that has surrounded Jeffrey his whole life. They are the kind of people you are blessed to do life with. These are the kind of people that raise an awesome kid like Jeffrey who excels at Mount St. Joe’s while also taking on adult level responsibility at his job.
Jeffrey is being raised in a way that makes family a priority. When he was a kid his grandmom would pick him up just about every weekend to go see a movie; he got to pick. Maybe she knew how valuable the time was to him as a kid trying to find his way in life, maybe she loved going to the movies, maybe she loved the thrill of sneaking their dollar store candy contraband in her purse to avoid paying 5x the amount at the movies? From what I know of the Laneys, I’m betting it was a precious mix of all three.
On their ride home, she’d ask Jeffrey what his favorite part of the movie was and they’d share stories and funny inside jokes. As Jeffrey got older and more involved with motorcross and school demands, their movie outings happened much less frequently. To everything there is a season and his grandmom seized the opportunity at the perfect time in her and Jeffrey’s life to make these memories. Little did she know these stories Jeffrey has banked away would grow more precious to him as his grandmom began slipping away into the awfulness of Alzheimers.
Two years ago the diagnosis was given and Jeffrey’s family surrounded her with the love she’s poured into them. They noticed she wasn’t eating and this coincided with Jeffrey getting his license, so he took charge of taking her lunch a few times a week and helping with errands like medication refills. He’d share a meal with his grandmother and she continued the tradition of asking how things were going for him. For Jeffrey, one of the hidden gems in the devastation of Alzheimers is that every time she saw him, it was like she hadn’t seen him in a very long time. So she was overjoyed to spend time with her grandson and lit up when she saw him. The woman who invested so mightily into him was seeing her joy filled deposits reap a bountiful and precious reward.
Today Jeffrey’s grandmom lives with them but her confusion is growing and her family realizes her care needs will exceed what they can safely provide in home. Some days she knows who he is and it’s like old times…others she’s unsure who Jeffrey is and is very confused. She confuses her bedroom with his then apologizes. She wonders why her daughter has to work when she’s there ‘for a visit’ not realizing she lives there. What a baffling disease! To have logged away sooo many hours of memories with someone and then the brain just cannot locate them. Jeffrey knows he is losing one of his biggest champions in this life and that’s a devastating blow. Reminds me of the often quoted, ‘better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.’
Jeffrey knows his time is limited to make his grandmom proud and he’s aiming to do that to the best of his ability. She likely will only remember the news of his accomplishments for a few minutes, but the smile on her face and how she lights up when he shares the news makes it all worth it. Those few minutes are pushing Jeffrey to become the young man she helped to shape. I’m honored to have partner with JDP senior Jeffrey to lock down this time in his life–I can just envision the joy he’s going to have looking through his album with his grandmom! She’ll be pointing out his portraits on the walls and commenting how handsome he looks and he’ll grin. She’s likely going to want to go through his collection every day and he’ll get to hear how much she loves these portraits on a regular basis! If you are looking for your own senior portraits, we’d love to chat with you! Click here to contact us!