A quiet moment in a beautiful garden overlooking the slow moving Orara River with our new friend and expectant mother, Mara.
Slow conversation flowed between us, like the quiet river below. We discussed the type of photos she would like taken for her pregnancy, her tiny six month bump barely visible underneath her cotton dress. As she spoke, her hand shifted instinctively to feel where the movement had come from and in that moment I felt a wave of nostalgia.
I missed the wonderful feelings of pregnancy, like a long lost friend; the little flutters and firm kicks under my ribs as my pecan moved inside me. Nothing compares to that kind of joy, just like nothing compares to holding your tiny baby in your arms.
Today I am grateful for my family and grateful to Mara, who reminded me what it felt like to have that special glow.
Oh how I love this little face. The way her eyes smile with the upward turn of her wide grin. That's pure joy captured in a perfect Duchenne smile. The happy expression radiates from her when she is in the company of us, her parents. How did we make such a beautiful little creature? I am staring at these pictures tonight as she sleeps beside me and I can imagine her sweet giggles play over and over again in my mind. Can you hear her too?
My little photography assistant. Here, Love is pictured helping me to hold a grey card at her first ever professional photoshoot. We spent the day in three different locations around the beautiful Bellingen Shire. By the second stop she was visibly tired, her heavy eyelids blinked slowly as we took a short break to enjoy a picnic beside a freshwater stream. The sounds of the the rushing water from the recent heavy rainfall lulled her to sleep in the sling, which I loosened to allow her to rest on my bent knees. I cautiously watched and shooed the occasional mosquito whilst Byron and the family we were photographing took a dip in the cool water.
All around us the sounds of the forest hummed, from the shrill chirp of native birds to the relaxing shhhh of the running stream. Buzzing bees hovered about the blooming flowers as the light afternoon breeze whooshed gently through the tree tops high above where we sat on our woven blanket. Smooth river pebbles crunched under the wandering feet of the golden-haired sisters from our portrait session and for a brief moment I could imagine myself sleeping in a hammock strung between tall trees by the bank. If it weren't for the mosquitoes, Love and I could have dozed lazily until the sun began to set.
This was the most relaxing way to spend a summer afternoon, with new friends in the cool shade of tall, swaying trees.
Sometimes the most peaceful mother and daughter times are encountered in the sea. Every morning I send waves of gratitude out through positive thoughts and prayer to be able to share this relaxing seaside lifestyle with my family.
It's sometimes difficult to imagine a different kind of life, one where our little Love may have been born into different circumstances. A life where we might have to flee our homeland during war or fight with every beat of our hearts to survive a natural disaster. We live a blessed life and we are aware that many only dream for this kind of existence.
When we were trying to conceive, we opened our hearts to the idea of intercountry adoption and wished beyond all reasonable hope that we could offer a child a better chance at education, access to fair healthcare, access to choice.
Although we are Love's biological parents, we still hope to one day grow our family and are still very much open to adoption. I will do everything with this short life I have to be the best mother to my children; to live a full life in the wild mountain air, by the salty sea, amongst like-minded people who want to make a difference to our community by giving good food from the earth, preventing destruction of our beautiful country and by respecting the traditional custodians of this land.