Every summer for the past few years, our little family of three makes the journey back east to join Steve’s siblings and parents in Ocean City, Maryland. It’s a non-stop, action packed time filled with sand, waves, crab and lots and lots of ice cream. My sister in law is Holly of Holly Marie Photography in Lancaster County, PA, so with two of us photographers in the family, we’ve added the adventure of taking family pics every year on the beach also! We get all dressed up, fight the wind and salty air blowing through our hair, and bribe our littles with chocolate to get them to smile for the camera. There’s 16 of us, so it’s no easy feat, but it’s worth every single minute! This year Holly posed people while I shot like a maniac hoping to get some pics where the kiddos were at least kinda looking at the camera.
These trips have a special meaning to me. I grew up in Germany, a world away from my cousins and aunts and uncles. We got to visit every four years or so, but I always felt like though we had a blast, half of the time was spent getting to know each other all over again each visit. I don’t want it to be that way for Chloe, I want her to have a connection with her family that keeps building. With Steve’s family on the east coast, and us on the west, I feel like these annual trips are the chance to do that. It’s so much more than hanging out at the beach. These are the moments that she’ll look back on and remember her mom and dad running and playing in the water like children. She’ll remember the whispering and conspiring together all day long with her cousins who, though they normally are a thousand miles away, will be a close as ever. She’ll remember the love and adoration her Mom Mom and Pop Pop show all of them through hugs and tickles. And she’ll remember the moments of sheer joy pranking and joking with her aunts and uncles.
Periodically I pull out my camera to capture the moments as they unfold, the smiles, squeals and giggles, and then we attempt to create an organized chaos of sorts and force them to dress up, try not to get too sandy, and pose for some official pics. As important as the spontaneous moments that I capture are, I think the ones of us, all together each and every single one of us, are the most important because they tell a story, a story of three generations, four marriages, and eight children, a love story that began over thirty years ago and that continues to spread without end.
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