When I do my visits, most of the time I'm working privately with a group of just 3 people – mom, baby and dad or partner. The intimate nature of the work lends itself to these close encounters and honestly I think it is so cool I get asked to share in this time with the family nucleus. Occasionally, there are other family members around and I get to observe and even feel the love and complexity of those relationships. New babies bring family together. It can be expected to be crazy, intense, warm, nurturing and surprising, with, let's be honest, a tiny bit of proverbial baggage. Home visits with any number of people can be enlightening and I often feel energized when leaving a house after each unique family touches me.
Summer has come to a close and it has been amazing. We finished it off with a flourish in Cleveland, OH, of all places. A good bit of my family lives there and each summer we visit with cousins from all over. We all stay on top of each other in one house. We eat lots of gooey pastry and sit around talking while the kids run loud and glittery circles around us. Just like the families I visit professionally, being with my own family these last two weeks was enlightening (and beautifully tiring) as well. I love feeling exhausted at the end of a day wrangling kids and catching up. Getting to spend all this time with a new baby added into the mix was a great opportunity to look at my work in a renewed light as I end my vacation and come back to work refreshed.
My cousin has a 6-week old baby girl (that makes the baby my 1st cousin, once removed – thank you, Google Machine). She and my cousin have been feeding and bonding beautifully. It is really special to get to support a family member, especially one I have a great deal of love and respect for. My cousin does amazing work as a pediatric nurse practitioner for Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and also happens to be a hysterically funny human being.
As my family dispersed and my tears dried I brought it back down to just the simplicity of mom and baby by sitting quietly with my cousin and her daughter as they nursed. My cousin was so sweet to allow me to photograph the moment.