It was some time in September when I heard about The Tiny Light Foundation. They are a non-profit group of professional photographers who volunteer their time to conduct photo shoots for families of children with life altering diagnoses. Nyana fit the profile of a Tiny Light, and I was thrilled to see an acceptance email in my inbox a few short days after filling out the application form. I was contacted shortly after by a photographer, and we made arrangements to do the photo shoot on the beach down the hill on Thanksgiving weekend.
I knew I was asking a lot to hope for a photo shoot on the beach in October in Vancouver. But Sunset Beach has been a part of Don and me for nearly eight years, ever since we moved into our apartment here in the West End. We’ve spent many a summer night on the beach, perched against a log, cool sand in our toes. We spent countless hours in a NICU glider, Nyana kangarooed against our chests as we told her all about the beach and the seawall in her back yard. It was only fitting that we do a nice family photo shoot on the same beach. I hoped we’d get lucky and the weather would cooperate.
Don had booked a few vacation days around Thanksgiving so he could enjoy an extra-long weekend, and despite days of rain and grey gloom leading up to Thursday morning, on the day of the photo shoot we woke lazily to a perfect blue day. We met our photographer early afternoon, made our introductions, and before I knew it he had his shutter finger clicking away while Don and I finally showed Nyana the beach we’d spent so much time telling her so much about. As we got swept up in the moment, we made the decision to do the entire shoot completely tackle free, and for the next two hours we were blissfully disconnected from everything—Mr Oxygen and Mr BiPAP and Mr Foodpump all sitting quietly on the sidelines.
And let me tell you, I loved everything about the day.
I loved the freedom from all her tackle.
I loved that the weather had cooperated.
I loved that we were lucky enough to even have such an opportunity.
I loved the togetherness of the moment.
I loved getting lost in how beautiful she is.
I loved watching her playful and adventurous personality.
I loved that she fills a void Don and I didn’t even know was there.
I loved knowing that the worst is over now, and that we’re going to be OK.
I loved seeing how much she loves her Daddy.
I loved being reminded just how much she loves me, too.
Yeah, I pretty much loved everything about the day.
Special thanks to Brandon at BrandOne Studios for spending the day with us, and to all the wonderful folks at The Tiny Light Foundation for making it possible.