For the past four years on April 11th I have photographed a very special little girl. I watched her enter the world on April 11th, 2016. I took her first birthday photos on April 11th the following year. We celebrated her second birthday on the 11th two years ago. Last year on her 3rd birthday we looked at the same book and used the same floral backdrop that we had used for all her previous sessions.

April 11, 2016

Our session this year was initially planned for April 9th because of travel plans I had over the Easter weekend. Then in March we cancelled those plans and I thought “bright side, we can have her session on her birthday!”. Then, at the end of March, our world was sent into a tailspin because of Covid-19.

I have cried a lot over the past several weeks. More than I have in years. I have grieved the loss of our everyday life. I have lost sleeping worrying about my maternity and newborn clients whose births are not what they anticipated; who are without support and welcoming babies into a world that is scary and unknown. I have been heartbroken that I am letting clients down because I can’t capture the memories they have been planning for for months and years. My logical brain knows that it is beyond my control and not my fault but it doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking.

Newborn Session, April 2016

When I had to postpone this little one’s fourth birthday photos because all non essential businesses shut down I was so incredibly sad. This family, who started out as amazing clients, are now dear friends and I wanted more than anything to be able to continue our tradition and to celebrate her birthday with her.

April 11, 2017

Every year she has photos with the pink woven wrap that her mom and dad used the day she was born. We take photos in front of the floral backdrop we used for her newborn photos. Her family reads “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

April 11, 2018

Then her dad saved the day for the second time since the pandemic started. When my eldest son’s computer broke at the start of March break, her dad provided remote support several times to get it back up and running. Anyone who has a teen knows that video games are life. I mean the computer is also important for school work but fourteen year old priorities are different than teacher / parent priorities.

Two weeks ago he suggested we have a remote ‘party’ on the day of her birthday. That we could connect via video and I could photograph their family and continue the tradition with virtual photos.

Yes, I cried again.

April 11, 2019

So this morning at 10 am I connected by video with this amazing family of five. I got to see her special birthday dress. Her brothers got to photo bomb several photos. The family cats even joined in on the fun! Her older brother read from the Robert Munsch book. She snuggled up with her wrap. I had my family come into the studio to sing her Happy Birthday.

I managed not to cry (until it was over). They were happy tears because it reminded me that no matter what, we will find a way.

We will find a way to stay connected even though we can’t be in the same physical space. We will find ways to continue traditions and when this is all over we will find a new normal. We will appreciate the beautiful memories we make because they will be all the more precious after this time away from each other.

Happy birthday darling girl! I hope it is as magical and joyful as you are.

Ottawa Photographer