I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was off on a very special Saturday photography assignment. One that I was most excited about but that would push me. Those are always the best, aren't they?
This particular assignment was the best. Our friend Christy, along with her kids, was getting ready to welcome Vince, her lieutenant commander husband, home from Afghanistan for a two-week visit. This was the six-month mark of a 14-month deployment.
Christy is a delight. She works with Neel, and is one of those people I never see enough of. I'm always so happy when I do. I was thrilled when she asked me to document this moment for her family and tickled to be part of the process. Tickled when she emailed: "Here's my cell!" and forgot to include the number because she was so distracted! When I got to the airport and saw her and the kids standing there, anxiously waiting for the plane to come in, I immediately got teary-eyed and thought, "I'm never going to make it."
Alexa made a sign for her dad, and Ethan tried to talk to me. But all they really wanted to do was wait and crack jokes about how Vince would probably be the last off the plane and stop at the bathroom on the way.
They were nervous, excited, pent-up and happy. It was really beautiful to watch.
See how happy they are when they finally laid eyes on him?
Yeah, it was beautiful to watch.
I used to to do labor support (in another lifetime-although I have to admit, birth photography has some appeal to me!), and you had to be sensitive to that critical moment that came after the birth and fell between when mom and dad needed you there a little longer and when they were ready to be on their own. Sometimes they didn't really know themselves! Being with Christy's family felt almost as intimate as a birth experience that day, but even after Vince arrived, I had this sense that there were more pictures to be taken.
So I took a few more minutes and walked to the baggage claim with them.Vince admired the sign that Alexa made, and Christy and Alexa both noticed how thin he'd gotten.
He couldn't stop looking at or toucing his family. A hand to the head here, a quick hug there.
As we hopped onto the moving sidewalk, Alexa turned to her parents and said, "I will never get used to this."
Ethan didn't say much. He was pretty smiley though.
Happy Family. I took several pictures like these and told them what great smiles they all had. And they all said at once, "We have a lot to be happy about."
Happy family indeed. Coming and going.