Six Months Later & Our Own Family Film
Hey y’all. I’m not from Texas, I just love saying that. And it’s a fun way to start a post, mmm-kay? I am from Alberta, which some say is the Texas of Canada, but I digress. I’m writing this post for a couple reasons. Number one, because December 1st marks the six-month anniversary of my Bell’s Palsy diagnosis. Cause for celebration? Well, I’m not fully recovered, so it took me a while to come up with an answer for that, but I decided yes. I remember when I was told back in June by the doctor in emergency that what I had was a condition that was fairly common and well known, and I would most likely fully recover. And then I remember thinking it would all be over in a few weeks. Ha! I mean, that does happen for some people, but not this girl. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Bell’s Palsy is a condition where your facial nerve gets damaged somehow and one side of your face becomes temporarily paralyzed).
As I write this, my face is mostly better, but if I said I wasn’t self-conscious about it I’d definitely be lying. Almost every time I try to smile (and ABSOLUTELY every time I’m smiling at someone’s camera) my mind starts racing with thoughts like: “Oh man, do I look super weird? Is that funky lopsided dimple in my chin really bad right now? Maybe I should just smirk. Or try to look nonchalant.” Why???? Why does we obsess over how we look in photos (or life in general)? Anyone who loves us doesn’t care in the slightest about our funky smile or our one eye that closes more than the other (or say, as a non-Bell’s Palsy related example, a double chin because we’re laughing). And really, in the end the people who love us are the only people who have opinions that matter. This whole experience has soooo challenged me to really believe in the message that I preach to all my clients: that what matters is the feeling and experiences captured in your photos and films, not what you look like.
Which leads me to the other reason for this post: we recently had our own family film made (along with my most favourite family photos we’ve ever had done)! The amazing Sara from Sara Jewell Photography visited us about a month ago and did an incredible in-home photo and film session for us. I originally contacted Sara back in April or May about hiring her for a family film, something I had been desperately wanting ever since I started creating family films for clients. We had met on instagram through a mutual photographer friend and had chatted a bit about our love of all things family films. Then she posted a film she had finished recently and I was blown away by her talent. I had a MAJOR girl-crush on her and I knew I had found the family filmmaker I had been looking for. We set our session date for sometime in June, and then I decided to postpone (and postpone, and postpone) initially because of my diagnosis, and after that because it just kept taking longer than expected to get better. I kept dreading having to contact her and ask to push the session back again because I felt so terrible about having to reschedule, but Sara is the most understanding and compassionate person and had no issues at all with it. Eventually, after another tentative session date had arrived and I still wasn’t fully recovered, I decided enough was enough. I wanted this film because I wanted to remember my kids at this age. I stopped putting my worries about my face looking weird ahead of the importance of capturing my kids before they changed even more. So we set a date for late October and stuck with it.
I can’t describe how completely and utterly excited I was to do this. I was also completely and utterly terrified to be in front of the camera. Which is why I have to add this side note: if you are a photographer or a family filmmaker, you NEED to get on the other side of the lens in a session at least once every year or two. If for no other reason than it really helps you remember what every single one of your clients go through when they book a session with you.
You forget how vulnerable you feel having someone come into your home and take photos and film clips of your real life. I was super nervous before the shoot, and I do shoots like this ALL THE TIME as a photographer! It’s such a different feeling when you’re the one being photographed. I found myself worrying about what my house looked like, what we should wear, and if the kids would be good. Stuff I am telling my clients over and over NOT to worry about. As it turns out, of course none of that stuff mattered, because Sara captured something so much more than just the way our house or our clothes looked; she captured the feeling of the family.
Sara summed up my whole heart during this session. The sticky kisses from Miss L, the crazy kids playing mini-sticks hockey with their dad, Miss S and her huge smile on the swingset, the quiet time spent reading a favourite book with Miss B. And yes, kid problems happened. Miss S had a meltdown and ended up crying on my shoulder, but that whole episode resulted in some of my favourite photos and clips in the film because it’s such a real moment that we all experience as parents.
I can’t thank Sara enough for giving us this gift. You can view the family film she created for us by clicking here and watching her “Tkachuk family” IGTV film. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The girl’s got skills, and I’m so grateful she shared them with us.
In the photo below, I notice my crooked smile and the weird muscles in my chin that haven’t started working again yet, and yes, it bugs me a little. But I also see Miss B smiling up at her dad after she got all sweaty playing hockey with him, Miss L barely able to sit still for 2.7 seconds and in a new outfit because she had just peed her pants, and Miss S all sweet and snuggled into mom after she had a big cry. All the things that make up our crazy and imperfect (but actually, perfect) lives right now. Thank you Sara for our film and photos; they are an amazing keepsake of this season of life.
Cheers until next time,