“It takes a village.”
You hear the phrase and you know exactly what it means. And as a mom of two littles, I couldn’t believe in the phrase more.
The grandparents. The sitters. The neighbors. The teachers. Everyone.
It takes a village.
And without my village, life would feel impossible.
My village. The people I relate to. Lean on. Celebrate with and cry with.
For more than four years, I have been a part of a close-knit moms group. We were all pregnant and due in October of 2012 and connected online. How 21st Century of us, right? We’re all different kinds of moms, all over the US and Canada. Some of us have one kid, some five. We are all so incredibly different, it’s beautiful. But the most beautiful thing is that we have had each other – we have had our village – for more than four years. When one of us falls, the other 100+ of us picks them up.
The perfect phrase and perfect mug with one of the fantastic moms in my group.
About a month ago, one of “our” kids got sick. Alarming symptoms and multiple doctors visits led to the words we never thought would make their way into our world.
Immediately, we joined together. For Zoey. For her mom, Casey. And for her whole family. This was one of our own. And we will be damned if we don’t fight.
Zoey lives near Rochester, New York, about an hour from where my family and I spent our vacation for a family reunion. My first instinct was to see if Casey wanted me to take some photos of Zoey. I wasn’t sure if I would be interrupting their busy days but when I asked, she welcomed the offer with such gratitude.
So, I got the privilege of photographing Little Miss Zoey. To capture her spunk. Her sass. Her joy. Her spirit.
To celebrate the incredible little girl she is.
To mark this as the beginning of her triumph.
Because she will beat this.
And she will beat it with all of us by her side.
This sweet, sweet girl. The whole time we were shooting, we played games together. Zoey hiding. Me making ridiculous, three-year-old-worthy jokes. And of course, there were countless m&m’s and gummy bears.
Zoey thought it was pretty hilarious to “feed” her m&m’s to her stuffed cow, “Cowie.” Her spunk remains untouched.
Sweet girl. You have us all.
The moment Casey picks her up, Zoey’s smile reaches a whole new level. It’s that kind of love only a mom can give.
Even in the hardest moments as a mom, there is a joy.
Because motherhood…motherhood is joy.
Those big brown eyes. They aren’t shedding tears.
They’re beaming with the joy of exploring the park for just the right pink flower.
The look when we found the “perfect” pink flowering tree.
The deal we struck:
I take a photo of Cowie, and then I get to take one of her.
I’ll take that deal any day.
Just being three…
Our group has been able to show our love for Zoey and Casey in so many ways, and we won’t stop. Fundraising with t-shirts and bracelets.
A doorstep delivery of craft beer for Casey 😉 Photos all over Facebook with our kids holding signs that say, “#teamzoey.”
Because this girl is loved. And she is forever in our village.
And when you find your village, you love it. Live it. And pour all of your heart into it.
Zoey and Casey, we love you. So much. And when you’re in this village, you know you’re safe.
Please help us in flooding Zoey & Casey’s world with prayers, thoughts, good vibes, juju…whatever it is that you do.
To learn more about Zoey’s journey, search #teamzoey on Facebook or Instagram.