A few months ago, I connected with the loveliest photographers, Cindy and David, who as a team compose Henkl Photography. They’re based in Houston not far from where we live, and I jumped at the opportunity to have them photograph our little family of three. The one thing I had really missed in Maya’s first year was that we never had proper photos taken of the three of us. Michael’s sister captured some photos when Maya was born and occasionally throughout the year, but not a proper session like I imagined we’d eventually do.
We cancelled once with Cindy and David because it was like 94 degrees out and I just knew that I would be dripping with sweat. And we nearly cancelled the morning of these photos because Maya had been so sick for what felt like months. Honestly, it was months. She was sick 3 weeks of every month from October to maybe last month, with thick goo running out her nose, hacking cough and very, very grumpy disposition. Looking back on it, it was actually quite a hard time for us as a family. It was stressful to have her ill and not know what was wrong (pediatrician says “babies get sick” but my intuition now says allergies). When she went to her 15 month appointment with the doctor, she had actually lost weight because she had no appetite when she was sick and snotty.
Looking back at these photos is funny because she’s by far the skinniest we remember her, but it’s also a testament to Cindy and David. Maya was miserable and barely cracked a smile at the park. She only started to perk when we saw Ratt the Cat (our neighbor’s cat) on the way back. Ironically, that day was the turning point and she actually started getting progressively better that day. By the evening, we returned to the park and I caught a few photos of her grinning.
But while we didn’t get a whole lot of big smiling Maya photos like I enjoy the most, Cindy and David perfectly captured what this season was for us, which is so important. It wasn’t shiny and it wasn’t perfect. It was a little fragile and subdued, and that’s how I’ll remember this time whenever I look at these photos. I’m so glad to have a little snapshot of this time in our Houston home before we move on. This is the place we brought Maya home to our family for the first time, and it’s the place we’ve really grown into a family of three. It’s where she first crawled and then walked. It’s where we had two Baby J’s and a Baby Little Bird.
Big fan of those rocks, Maya is. I love these big trees, and I love that they’re barren and spooky looking because this was January. This was the season we were in, for sure. Despite being so thin, she was munching on crunchy things constantly. I had brought cookies along with me to bribe her into cooperating but all she wanted to do was grab big handfuls of them. It kinda backfired. And then Ratt the Cat came on the scene and Maya’s mood started to lift. Ratt is the neighbor’s cat and when she (or he?) is lying down on the driveway taking a nap, she looks as flat as a pancake. I think she’s about 15 years old and Maya is obsessed with her. When we turn onto our street, Maya says “meow! meow!” based solely on the trees across from the house where Ratt lives. We stop to pet Ratt just about every day and it’s a highlight of Maya’s day. Favourite photo of me and my girl. A smile with only those 4 teeth on top and bottom and the 1 year molars poking through. She’s got a whole mouthful now!
Such big thanks to Cindy and David. They are Houston based and so, so chill to have in your home or with you on a run to the park. Even their cameras are small an unobtrusive so you don’t feel like a jerk at the park on a Saturday at 10am!