Mommy and Me Session / Shauna + Blue / Sunshine Coast BC Photographer

When I look back on all of the years, so many of the great moments were spent with my sister. You know the moments. They are the ones that were so insignificant at the time, but you look back now and cherish them more than all the possessions in the world. I have memories flooding back quite frequently lately of days spent watching cartoons, colouring, biking around the neighbourhood, walking home from school, catching the ferry to see our dad. I like to stop when those memories surface and breathe deep, hold them close to my heart and wish to return, to relive even just one second of them. No matter how insignificant that moment was, it is those simpler times,  when we had no worries and would let our imaginations run wild that I would love to return to.

We didnt realize at the time that these daily activities and experiences would be what defined our personalities and relationship as we grew older. Even to this day, Shauna and I can get caught up in the silliest of giggle fits. Say “He had the face of a cat” and we will probably burst into tears, laughing until we can’t catch our breath. This bond is what has helped me through some difficult, desperate times and has been the strongest bond I have had with any human. No one can compare to your sister. (Except you Mama, you’ve known me longer than anyone and you just wait for the post I have written about you!)

Shauna was born when I was 18 months old so I have basically known her my whole life. I have no recollection of a time when she didn’t exist. Our mother has said on several occasions that I was impatiently waiting my sisters arrival. I would touch my moms belly often, waiting for the day that I could meet my little sister. After Shauna was born I would constantly assist our mom in her daily duties, playing “little mommy”. It seems that it was love at first sight. I loved being Shauna’s big sis.

Growing up, Shauna was a quick learner; she learned how to cartwheel, somersault, swim and learn ballet quicker than most kids her age. If someone showed her a movement she could replicate it almost immediately. While in swimming lessons, she actually skipped a level because she was an insanely strong swimmer for her age! Shauna has always been a natural athlete; she was an all-star basketball player, one of the fastest runners her age and most of all, what every athlete needs: she had NO fear. One day, when we were visiting our dad in the summer, she swung from a branch on a willow tree (after our dad repeatedly told her not to) and she fell in the ditch. Luckily, she wasn’t injured. Our dad wasn’t surprised that she let the inner-adventurer take over. I mean, this girl played with salamanders and wood-bugs, she climbed every tree in sight, she would catch frogs in the ditch at our grandmothers house in the summer. (She even persuaded our father into letting her keep all the tadpoles she caught.) Well, that was all good until they grew into frogs and escaped from her fish tank. It made for an eventful summer afternoon, that’s for sure! You see, my childhood would have been so dull without her. I was not the adventuring type, I would much rather have been reading, drawing or colouring. People call girls like Shauna tomboy but I prefer “wild soul” I have always admired her free spirited nature. She makes everything into an adventure. In a way, it feels like she is the older sister.

Shauna is a “natural nurturer” aka a caregiver. From birth she has always been one to look out for the wellbeing of every animal and person – mostly animals, though! Hehe. I have heard her say many times; “I love animals more than I love people.” She would adopt every dog in the shelter if she had the money, space and time to provide the love and care that every one of them would need. With the ability to sense the needs of others, she is a valuable person to have in your inner circle (or family). Her family and friends are her priority and she will do whatever it takes to help someone she loves. There have been many times in my life where I have questioned the direction I am headed and not once has she ever shut me out. Shauna is an attentive listener and she gives her advice straight from the heart. She has been extremely supportive of many life decisions I have made and has been encouraging me in my pursuit of starting my photography business. She gives advice straight from the heart — mind you, it’s not always what you want to hear. But, she has a way of softly suggesting an alternative option if she doesn’t believe that the decision you have made is the best one for you. She has an optimistic view on every problem, a certain way of twisting it so you can see it in a different perspective.

There is such mystery to the way everything unfolded for the both of us this year. It seemed as though life was turning out to be the better than we dreamed, but with the devastating loss of our father, our pregnancies couldn’t have gone by fast enough for both of us. To be completely honest, I don’t believe I could have made it through it all without her. I might have been able to, but it would have been so difficult without her love, care and attention to all the little details that seemed to flood my brain.

Watching my sister become a mother has been one of the most breathtaking experiences to date. I was lucky enough to be invited in the maternity room when she gave birth. I felt honoured to be a part of that pivotal moment in her life. The look on her face when she first glanced at her son, Blue, was the look of complete love, joy, and wonder. I saw her change in that instant; she softened, a weight lifted off of her shoulders and she became brighter. I saw the relief on her face as though she had shed all the pain she had experienced in the past year. It was what she had been waiting for, for what seemed like an eternity. This was the defining moment. Not only was her son born that day, but so was she. Shauna had become a mother. There have been many stages in these past 6 months where we have needed each other for support and advice. It has been truly fascinating traveling on this journey of motherhood with her.

I am in awe of Shauna’s absolute patience, kindness, love, and attentiveness. Everything that Shauna does is for the betterment of her son. Blue is a very observant, funny, smart, handsome little man. He is an old soul with a fun sense of humour and a deep, profound love for his Mommy. Watching their connection right from the moment he entered the world was magical, to say the least. It almost was as though they both looked at each other and thought “There you are. I’ve missed you.” In the newborn stage, Blue looked identical to his daddy but he is gradually showing more and more similarities to his mama. I personally think that he looks like our dad, especially his ears and crystal blue eyes. How fitting is his name?  It has been so much fun watching Blue grow and change and develop his personality. It was so special to be able to capture their strong connection at this early stage in his life.

When Shauna told me she wanted to have photos taken of her and Blue, but felt nervous in front of the camera, I assured her that she would do great. I said, “Just be yourself and play with Blue as though I’m not even here.” I loved capturing their bond, not only as an novice photographer, but as a sister, auntie and friend. I am lucky because I am familiar with their body language and their connection so I had an advantage over most people. I believe I caught the love between mother and son in this fleeting moment. I look forward to capturing many more meaningful stages for them in the future.