"When I'm out here on the road, I think of you and those kids at home" -The Head and the Heart
I'm listening to the song, "10,000 Weight in Gold" and these lyrics flow out of my earbuds and into my head. I've been thinking about my wife and children all day and this song comes on. Fitting I suppose.
Booking destination weddings is easy. I don't mean that it's easy to book a destination wedding. I just mean that it's exciting. The thought in the moment is: "awesome! I'm hopping on a plane to shoot a wedding".
The reality of the consequences are so distant when the wedding is booked. But as the date of my departure nears, I begin to think about the reality of what my absence at home means. I left my wife and children at home this morning at 5:00am. Our toddler had a fever and our newest member is a very recent addition born only three weeks ago. So as I'm rocketing through the air 33,000 feet above the Pacific on my way to Kona to shoot a wedding that I booked a year and a half ago, my thoughts are firmly planted back at home.
Of course I'm excited to be going to Hawaii to photograph a wedding. To have someone put so much trust in you to capture their wedding day is a true honor and I'm flattered. But there is a part of me, a large part of me that simply doesn't want to be on this plane. This isn’t an uncommon feeling. The majority of weddings take place on weekends. I've missed countless bar-b-q's, family get-togethers, camping trips and that's just the big stuff. Am I going to miss another first step? What about the opportunities to comfort my children when they scrape their knees? Napping with the little ones? Having a catch with the big ones? Or telling Reef (our toddler) with a smile on my face, to stop drinking his bath water and have him look at me with that big rebellious grin as he defies me yet again? The laughter that I miss on a weekend such as this is enough to bring a tear to my eye as I'm surrounded by strangers. The night before every trip my wife and I lay in bed next to each other and discuss the fact that we're both scared of the possibility that I may never return. A plane crash? An epic shot in a dangerous environment where perhaps I fall off a cliff?
I can't help but think: "maybe I should sell some of my gear, and keep just enough to continue photography as a hobby. Maybe this will solve my sorrow and I won't have to feel as if I'm abandoning my family.”
My wife wouldn't allow it. She knows me too well. As much as it hurts me to leave my family, this is something I must do. I must create. She knows that in four days, I’ll walk in the door so excited about the wedding I just shot. The joy that I get from being hired to preserve this cherished event between two people will in fact benefit her and the kids as much as it does me. She knows it’s what I am meant to do...and so do I.
Jamie Jo, thank you for supporting me. Thank you for taking care of the kids when I'm away and thank you for telling me that you love me as I walk out the door knowing what the next four days is going to be like without dad at home. I love you Jamie. All of you.