Grandparents

Sometimes the story to be told is one we didn't expect

Song credit: “There For You” by Cherie and Lyndy

Babe & Christina’s Story
When I first met Christina four years ago, we were waiting for a Memorial Day parade to start. We had children around the same age so we naturally started chatting with each other. As we got further along in the conversation I started talking about my photography and she got really excited. Her and her husband had recently purchased a farm and were happy to share the space if I ever needed a location. As I pulled up to their property for the first time I was blown away with the beauty of the gorgeous lake, landscape, and historic buildings.

Since that day they have grown the property into a brewery, a wedding venue, and arguably the best Christmas tree farm in the area. They also own and operate a well established landscaping company. It amazes me to see how they have worked so hard to make their dreams a reality.

When Christina and I sat down for her Scriptwriting Session (6 feet apart at the lakefront might I add!), the vision that we created did not include any of the grand achievements that I just listed. She wanted to surprise her husband, Babe, with a film for Father’s Day. We were going to film little snippets throughout the day of the things she loves most about him as a father and husband – making pancakes for Sunday breakfast, helping the kids learn the responsibilities that go along with having farm animals, setting up the family for popcorn and a movie before bedtime, and throwing giggling, crazy-haired children on the bed after tubby. That was our plan and we were ready! That is until the day went into an entirely different direction.

One of the kids slept at Oma’s house and wasn’t back in time for breakfast, so the first scene we planned was scratched. Then, I quickly realized that it was going to be challenging to surprise Babe with a film staring himself. It felt intrusive to follow him all day with a camera in his face when he didn’t really know what we were creating, so I stepped back and followed a different story. One that was beautiful, deep, and real.

I saw the story of a couple who have big dreams and support each other in any ways they can to make it happen. Christina takes on a lot of the farm chores, does a ton of outreach and coordination for events at the farm, and probably 1001 other things that she does behind the scenes for their family and business every day. Babe does a lot of work with his hands – cutting, building, digging, trimming. His days are long and physically exhausting. When there is still work to be done and not enough of themselves to go around, they call on Christina’s mom (also in the film) who will swing by in a heartbeat to lend a hand. The song in this film speaks to this family’s dedication to be there for each other through thick and thin, and the visuals focus on what all of their work is really about – the love for their children, each other, and family that supports them. The beautiful moments they spend together make all of the challenges of entrepreneurship worth it. These children will grow up knowing what it means to keep moving forward in life even when there are huge mountains to climb because they see their parents doing it every day.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~Eleanore Roosevelt


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There is a reason they are called "great" grandparents

Song credit: “Best of All Our Days” by Andrew Simple

David’s Story
Generational sessions are so powerful. There is so much beauty in the varied relationships between little ones and their parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents. Each one holds such a unique bond and energy that is not had anywhere else. Lately in Family Stories sessions I have been really encouraging the inclusion of extended family in sessions and my husband, David, mentioned something one day about how much it hurts him to watch these generations together when his own is incomplete. His mom passed away in 2013. Not a day goes by that the emptiness from her absence is not noticed. He wanted a generational session but he wanted her to be part of it.

When we talked about going to his grandparents’ house to capture their story, we wanted to capture two important perspectives: what Grampa’s normal day-to-day routine was like (he loves his coffee cake muffins with “reduced” sugar) and how David appreciated them for the impact they have had on the lives around them. There was one more piece I knew I had to fit in: his mom needed to be part of it somehow.

Our daughter was getting crabby at nap time so he bounced her around in the living room until she dozed off in her favorite place to be – in Daddy’s arms. He got comfy on the couch, and if you’ve ever had a sleeping baby on you know that is nearly impossible to stay awake. As their breathing slowed and they melted into each other, I looked above the couch they were resting on and saw the pictures of family members surrounding them on the walls. In the same room, Grammi had a shelf to commemorate David’s mom. And as he laid there embracing his precious baby girl, I saw the tattoo of his mom’s face looking up at him in pride the same exact way she did on our wedding day. I felt all of that love and interconnectedness of loved ones embracing them in that moment.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with the title of the blog. I want to start with a short story. When we announced our first pregnancy, we gave a gift to Grammi at Christmas that was a picture of a bear with the caption “Beary Special Great Grandmother.” She smiled and said thank you and was about to move on without even realizing what it said. Looking back, she said she just thought it was saying she is a phenomenal grandmother. That stuck with me, both as a wonderful memory that makes me smile and a much deeper insight into what it is to be a great grandparent. I cannot do justice to the story that David tells in his own words through this story so I will take a piece from his narration:

“You continue to teach us all so much in the way you look with love at the lives you helped create. Through the love, through the loss, your simple and graceful ways carry the memories of this family. Time passes and pictures fade but your love endures forever.”

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