It has been 6 years since I started this photography business. Six years since my second child was born. Six years since I got a check from corporate America. Along with a job with a big company I left behind a company car, health benefits, 401K matching, PTO and time to reflect. (If you run your own business you know what I’m talking about on that last one.) Six years ago picked up a camera and started shooting. At first just families and babies. Then it transformed into larger groups, head shots, weddings, real estate, properties and now even product photography. My friends gave me a chance. They gave me the opportunity to document the most tender moments of their lives. What I traded in for that corporate job gave me flexibility in my schedule, opportunity to work with a new and old friends, learn new skills, work outside, choose my own schedule. I love what I do.
So why did I put down my camera last year?
The answer is Tessa. What started as a mild and transient stomach ache one summer afternoon turned my life around. The stomach pain increased with frequency and intensity. We saw doctors, ran tests, saw more doctors, changed our diet, changed our diet again, and again and again but nothing seemed to help. She would wake up in the morning and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Mom my belly hurts.” Heartbreaking. This went on for several months. The self doubt kicked in, I asked myself if I should send her to school, should I keep her home, would the distraction help, would a relaxing environment help, if she did go to school I’d wonder if she was in pain or if she was just having fun playing tag with her friends. Most days I did send her in I’d get a call from the nurse saying that Tess had been in the office for a while and wasn’t improving. The nurse, teacher and I all worked together to keep Tessa in school but she still missed 30 days. That is not including days she went in late and days I picked her up early. It wasn’t only school attendance that suffered. We missed field trips, family outings, soccer practices, walks in the park. She missed play dates, birthday parties and camping trips. She lost friends. We were afraid to go anywhere for fear Tessa would have a flare up. There were times we’d head out on a bike ride on a beautiful sunny day and end up stranded because Tessa was in so much pain she couldn’t stand up. I was emotionally exhausted. She’d cry at bedtime and tell us the pain was coming in waves. I wasn’t sleeping. Mike wasn’t sleeping. And Eli totally got lost in the shuffle.
I couldn’t run a business with a sick child at my hip. I tried. I’d get calls in the middle of photo sessions from the nurse. I’d have to cancel appointments in the morning because Tessa was at home rather than at school.
My passion for photography was drained. Void of all inspiration.
I put down my camera. I told customers I was booked. I didn’t return phone calls. I didn’t return emails.
I turned off Erin F Photography.
About a year went by. Finally, a pretty aggressive pharmaceutical intervention was prescribed to Tessa. It was 10 days of the nastiest tasting med ever. The side effects were horrendous. She had to take it twice a day. She did not get better. We were all really hoping that this was the answer. The doctor encouraged us to give her body time to recover from the therapy. We did. Two months later she was (almost) back to herself. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still weary to say she’s 100% but she’s had a good 4 weeks.
I picked up my camera for the first time in months. I had the opportunity to document the days of a few high school seniors, a few special families, and a few beautiful days on the beach. It has been 6 years since this adventure began and I can tell you that colors have never looked brighter to me and laughter has have never been more precious.
Thank you for allowing me to take time off to care for my family. Thank you for being such great friends. I can’t wait to see all of you at our next photo session together.