Yesterday Caitlyn's sister, Erin, messaged me on Instagram and said, "Why should you speak when your written word has always been so beautiful." So, the pressure is on to really put into words how happy I am for this sweet couple while they wait for their baby boy to arrive all the while knowing I'll never be able to adequately do so.
Caitlyn is one of the friends I've known the longest here in North Carolina (since her freshman and my sophomore year of High School). We've cheered together, for The Enka Jets as literal cheerleaders and for each other throughout the years. When the twins were heading home from the hospital, she volunteered to come stay with us for a couple of days just to help me get used to juggling two little who had just left the NICU after three months. We've sat down over Mexican food as high school students, as college kids, and as adults. We've talked about everything from fresh break-ups to first dates to final exams to where I got the twins' sparkly jackets from for their first day of school outfits that I bought on the way to lunch over many bowls of queso throughout the years. She's walked my children back to surgery while she was working in the hospital and past the line parents can't cross, but staff can.
I am looking forward to our first Mexican food date night where we both sit down as mothers for the first time. I wish I could go back in time and talk to a discouraged Caitlyn, the super young one sitting across from me at El Chapala wondering what the future held for her after a bad day, and tell her all about her future husband, Cory, and her baby boy on the way. I'm not sure she would believe me that she would have everything she has today - without having to sacrifice an ounce of who she is.
Or that she'd believe me that she deserves every ounce of happiness she's going to find.
She 100% wouldn't believe me that she would look THIS cute pregnant.
That's the thing about being friends with someone since you were teenagers and staying friends throughout adulthood - you get to watch their dreams come true after watching them fight hard for them. You get to watch them wonder what their life will be like "one day" and then you get to watch them live that life. You get to look at your friend tearing up across the table from you because school is hard, and relationships are hard and life is hard in your teens and early 20s sometimes and then you get to look at that same friend standing in the sunshine on a beautiful day while she cradles her little boy in her belly and the love of her life beams at her.
You get to wonder what she's going to be like as a new mom (even though you know she'll be amazing because you've watched her be amazing with your own kids) and you get to wonder what her little boy will look like.
& If you're really lucky, you'll get to watch that little boy as he grows up.
While she continues to watch your kids growing up.
The way you watched each other grow up.
I love you, Cait.
& I'm thankful you found her and love her like she deserves, Cory.
I can't wait to meet your son.
PS - we shot this maternity shoot in 12 minutes while they were on their way to a wedding, after having to reschedule after a foot of snow fell and a second time after I tested positive for COVID. The lake had actually been drained (they do so every couple of years to clean the bottom of it) and it had rained so much in the days before that it filled it back up. It was randomly the prettiest day of 2022. In so many ways that's representative of life and motherhood - there are so many unexpected and frustrating challenges that get thrown our way, but those challenges bring us to some of our best days. Days we didn't know to look forward to. <3
Location: Lake Junaluska
Her Dress: Pink Blush