During our trip to NY back in September a friend of ours did our pictures. This time it was completely different from every other time we've had them done. This time was capturing a memory as well as a reminder of what we still have.
At age 18 (crazy!) we said vows to each other that we prayed would last a lifetime. We made a commitment before God and the 15 people that joined us. It was a Thursday night, St. Patricks Day to be exact. It wasn't planned to be on the Irish holiday, rather the first free night available!
The very next day Cale went in to the recruiters office and started the process of another vow; another commitment that would be apart of him for a lifetime. The United States Army.
We had 4 weeks together before I hugged him goodbye and watched the Taxi drive him away along with two other young guys. It began what we thought was to be the worst part of our lives...Basic Training. We knew AIT (the school for his specific job) would be a little easier on us because he would have the ability to use a phone but Basic meant not seeing him or hearing his voice.
I dropped a letter in the mail every single day. I checked my mailbox every single day for a letter from him. It was the beginning of a marriage that strengthened both of us for many days ahead.
After all of his training was finished and before heading off to NY; his first duty station, I had planned a larger ceremony to include the big white dress, all of our friends and family, and cake.
That night Cale held me close and said, "The princess and the soldier"
A couple weeks before we left on our trip to NY I shipped my dress and Cale's ACU's to my friend Hannah and she was sweet enough to get my dress cleaned and ready for pictures.
The morning of the pictures I felt this rush inside of me. I was still so tired from the travel the night before and running on very little sleep but I was so excited to have these pictures done! I couldn't wait.
Jessica's sister has a beauty salon in Richland, NY and she is amazing! I've seen some of her work and after talking with Jessica about our pictures, I also asked if her sister could help make me pretty...cus I sure need help! ;o) If you live in Northern NY and are looking for someone to do hair-she's pretty great if you ask me! Her site is on FB https://www.facebook.com/backwoodsbeauty
Cale was so patient the whole time while my hair was curled and make-up was applied. We offered to do his make-up too but he told us no! Ha!
As I helped Cale into his uniform I was so humbled to be the one there helping him. What an honor to still be with this man and to be able to help in in such a raw moment. It may not seem like a big deal, but this was his uniform. Everyday for work for so long he dressed himself covering his body with clothing that was a symbol for a strong soldier. And still after all this time since the injury, he still needs help, but still so proudly wears it. Hmm...does that make sense?
Funny part to his uniform was because of all the tube feedings in the hospital, Cale now has a belly. He never had one before and these were his exact pair of pants from before the accident. Once we got them all pulled up, they wouldn't button! At all! There's a long row of buttons and we just left them undone and covered it up with the jacket. It was our secret!
As I slipped on my wedding dress and looked in the mirror all fixed up again, I knew it was going to be a special day.
We first drove to a place with these beautiful falls. It was a bit of a hike but Cale was a good sport. I don't think he always loves my grand ideas for photo shoots but this time I think he was just as excited as me! Within minutes Jessica was clicking away!
Next we went to a field and she snapped several more before all of a sudden we were done. It had been kind of a whirlwind and even though I didn't have a ton of energy Cale and I had so much fun laughing and kissing! I have to say, he surely took my breath away! SAP!
It felt like it all went so fast and suddenly we were on our way back to where we were staying but during that time is when I wish that I would have had the power and ability to pause time.
We were driving down 81 talking about the pictures and how great it all was. Cale was trying to read the signs along the highway and the music was playing and every now and then one of us would start singing along with the tune. Every part of it was special and so very sweet but for an instant I couldn't breathe. Tears came so quickly it was like an army prepared for battle.
Cale's left side is where his surgery was done but with his hair length at times the scar is hardly seen. It's the muscles on the right side of his face that make more known the reminder of his injury. I had turned to look at him sitting on my right side and the view of him took me straight back to pre-accident.
For just that moment nothing in our life was different. Nothing had changed. It was like so many other times with the two of us headed home to our little Ft. Drum apartment where Cale would enter through the garage door and begin his daily undressing starting in the kitchen leaving a trail to the bedroom. He looked exactly the same as before...
It was a wrapped gift with a bow the Lord had handed right to me.
So many nights I had laid awake wishing I had just one more moment with Cale before his injury. One more time to be with him whole.
Although he was not whole and he still had his brain injury, the vision I had was him whole. The very moment etched in my memory.
It was simply amazing.
Slipping on my dress and seeing my man in his uniform again was a precious reminder that I am still his princess and he is still my soldier. We are much different in this season in our life but the way we are able to still love together and grow that love daily is a blessing; an indescribable blessing.
Jessica is talented in so many ways. I was so impressed with how easy she made everything and not once was it awkward. I told her upfront that we were not the type to quickly think of great poses and not for a second was that an issue. I felt like Cale and I were also able to share moments together that she captured over and over. I think she was able to really pull for our own kind of fairytale...
I loved working with her and am so thankful for how each picture turned out so beautifully!
To see all of our pictures you can find them on her blog http://www.jovial-photography.com/2012/12/a-real-love-story-couples-photographer.html where you can also find information on booking a session with her. She also has a FB page that you should click on and like it! https://www.facebook.com/jovialphotography?fref=ts
My plan was to write a couple sentences and say here they are but...my talking started with the computer. So...all these words later, I hope you enjoy the pictures and here they are! :o)
Thank you for gifting us these pictures. They are a treasure and created something inside me that sprouted so much hope. You are amazing and I'm so thankful for the blessing you are to us and for using your talent to capture a part of our journey!