Beautiful Erin… and Beautiful Charlie

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As I walked to my chair to sit down and write this post, I felt the familiar crush of a Cheerio beneath my shoe, called the dog to come clean it up and wondered how on earth we got our closest friends to follow us into this beautiful mess.  We haven’t exactly made it look easy, our entry into parenthood was less than graceful and its the people closest to us that have born the brunt of our complaints about lack of sleep, freedom and privacy in the bathroom.   They have ignored moody outbursts while stepping over mine fields of toys to access a fridge with sticky handles, turning a blind eye to the dirty diaper sitting on a piece of furniture that somehow never made it to the pail.  But I guess they have also watched us glow, laugh, cuddle, sing, smile, rock and coo while getting stupidly excited about the small things in life, like the way my son says, “belly button”.  I guess that these are the impressions that stuck since one by one, ready or not, our favorite DINKs (dual income, no kids) are dropping like flies.

Enter Dan and Erin who rented an apartment from us while relocating from New Orleans to Richmond after Katrina.  They were the Ricardos (young, riotous and shenanigan prone) and we were the Mertzs (a little older, a little grumpier, equally shenanigan prone) and life as we knew it in Richmond hasn’t been the same since they came.  Many years, travels, life changes and shenanigans later, we are family.  We were so happy when they announced that they would be joining us in the beautiful mess.

If you read my post on Olivia’s belly portraits this past summer, you already know that I arrived at their house with my equipment, some excitement and quite a bit of dread.  Taking pictures of people I love is always infinitely harder than photographing people I have just met for reasons I haven’t entirely figured out.  The sun was not cooperating as the sky continued to darken and threaten rain… so much for good light.  Poor Dan had been up all night working and fell asleep in the nursery during a costume change!   Erin was every bit as nervous as I was and its probably good that photos can’t reveal the occasional irreverent conversation amidst our chatter.  Mostly we talked momma stuff and despite the awkwardness, it was nice to get Erin to myself for a little while without the men folk or the ankle biter.  The house was quiet and dark and warm like a favorite cup of tea.  She and I weren’t nearly as quiet as the photos look but if they feel pensive, that was real.

If there’s something I really like about belly portraits and first time mommas, its the quiet before the storm.  Pregnant women in their final trimester, if left to their devices, are a flurry of nesting activity, whirling dervishes of laundry and preparation.  So its nice to press the pause button and allow the calm, confidence and readiness to rise to the surface: which is exactly what I see in these photos of Erin.

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Even Sienna Brulee is ready.  Reluctant maybe, but ready…

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Erin and Dan welcomed Charleton Fisher O’Regan to the world a week ago yesterday and are doing fantastic together.  Dan is already a master swaddler, as we got to see during a brief hospital visit the day after Charlie was born.  Welcome to the world, sweet Charlie.  D&E, welcome to the Beautiful Mess.  And to all three of you, welcome home.

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