The first thing just about everyone points out when they come to our house: the photos. Canvas portraits cover our walls, from one room to the next.
It all started out so simple – I wanted a few pics to put in frames, use in throwing together a Christmas card, and perhaps make gushy post on social media. But then, as time went on and Kieran’s situation evolved, I came to realize how precious time and memories actually are. Something came over me, and I discovered that the art of photography is therapeutic for my heart.
Back in 2013, we first crossed paths with Jessica Lacey Photography, LLC. We snagged a slot for Noli’s newborn session, having no idea how the experience and results would completely blow us away. The minute we got in the car and drove away from that photo shoot, I told Thad we absolutely HAD to get on Jessica’s schedule to do pictures again. ASAP.
To date, we’ve had 13 sessions with JLP (and our next is coming up just over a week from now!). Jessica’s incredible talent has created priceless memories for our family, and there’s a certain presence about her that always leaves me smiling, even after we depart the camera’s view.
JLP has a gift for creating a comfortable environment, always pinpointing the perfect moment that genuinely illustrates our personality, and she has stayed with us along the ride – laughter, tears, and everything in between.
During our very first JLP session, Noli’s ‘precious’ self slung poop in my hair. (Anyone who has ever encountered the ‘newborn poop’ knows what I’m talking about… that runny, orangish, foul smelling goop no one would never want anywhere near themselves, much less caked in their coiffure.) I was already so tired from not having slept for days, I felt ugly and gross flapping my squishy body around, and was right then straight up angry to have feces all up in my do [locks that I had just washed and taken a blow dryer to for the first time in weeks]. While me and my postpartum hormones were on the brink of a meltdown, Jessica swooped in and completely shifted the energy around us. She shared funny stories of prior ‘poop’ episodes she’d managed, all while helping me clean up and pin my hair back so we could continue snapping pictures. Sure enough, scrolling through the photo gallery she sent us afterwards, you’d never know any of it ever happened… JLP managed to produce nothing short of flawless, breathtaking pictures showcasing a very glowing [clean cut and put together] first-time family.
Every session we’ve had with JLP has been unique, awesome, and perfect. We knew Jessica was special from the moment we met her, but we could never have imagined how close our family would end up connecting with her.
Kieran’s medical problems started during our third trimester of pregnancy. In a matter of weeks following the discovery of his heart complications, we were told Kieran’s most optimal chance for survival would be via premature delivery. Apparently the stars aligned when the universe decided that, of all days, Kieran would be born on the birthday of our dear Jessica. September 15th.
In my home [every. single. day.], I sense my heart flutter as my eyes process the images that hang in each room. I gaze around and become overwhelmed by not only how beautiful each photograph is, but also how they flood my memory with emotional details, as if I am living those days all over again. My recollection is so vivid — I could tell you exactly how different the temperature outside was from one session to the next; my head can instantly replay everything that was going on around me while ironing our outfits and putting a bow in Noli’s hair; I can still smell the scent of Thad’s cologne (that he usually sprayed one too many squirts of); and I distinctly remember the sound of Kieran’s high pitched giggle from each time he flashed a grin towards Jessica’s camera.
I pray there will never come a day where photographs are all we have left; however, I encourage everyone reading this to pause and be mindful of reality. Time answers to no one. It comes. It goes. And, after passing, it can’t come back. We aren’t able to stop the pace or rewind the clock, but we do have the ability to CAPTURE time as it happens.
The JLP photographs I have of Noli and Kieran, and our family, are my most valued possession. Money spent on cars, clothes, and other materialistic things have no significance in comparison to the investment made developing a tangible reminder of our time together.
Jessica’s work has had a profound impact on us, and we are forever in her debt for playing such a large part in memorializing the Barrett journey. She is a stellar photographer, remarkable person, and honorary member of our family.
If you aren’t already in the know about JLP, do yourself a favor and check her out:
**a few of my personal favorites from our JLP sessions over the years**
JLP’s #1 fan