Back in September Meraki + Light held a giveaway contest for one lucky family to win one of our Savour Sessions. We had so many amazing entries, and honestly it was hard to narrow it down. But when I read through the submission that Karly's sister had sent us, the tears were flowing. I knew then that this was the family that we were supposed to pick. Here's an excerpt from Karly's sister's entry:
My sister Karly and her boyfriend Kurt had their beautiful son John almost three years ago. When John wasn't hitting his milestones, doctors decided to do a scan of his brain. The results came back and they discovered that John had a stroke in utero causing damage to his brain. At a year and a half old, my nephew John was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and at almost 3, John isn't sitting, talking, walking, or feeding himself.
My sister has not gone back to her job as a teacher because she takes care of John and his needs each and everyday. She feeds him a bottle three times a day, puréed food three times a day, carries him around, changes his diapers, and takes him to countless physiotherapy, speech and alternative therapy appointments. It's all so much work, and things that a mom of a 3 year old does not typically have to do. My sister never complains about all of the extra care she has to provide for John and always finds time between the feedings and appointments to take John to new and exciting places making sure he can have every possible experience.
Karly's partner + John's dad, Kurt is a geologist and works so hard to provide what he can for my sister and give John the best chances for development with the expensive alternative therapies he does.
The love, courage and hope this family has is admirable. They've been through so much these last few years and I would love for them to be the recipients of a savour photo session with Meraki + Light.
We arrived early, on a crisp October morning, and found the three of them snuggled up beneath the warmth of their blankets. Joy was already written all over their faces. John welcomed us with his sweet smile and made us feel at home right away. Light crept in through the window, reminding us of all the beautiful light that was ahead. I knew before we arrived that morning that our time with this family would do more then just bless them, I knew that we would leave different because of it. I knew that we would be deeply moved and impacted. And we were.
We were amazed by the endless love that was poured out between these three. Karly is full of passion and love, she is strong, sincere and kind all the way through. Both Kurt and Karly not only served John selflessly with JOY, but they poured out the kind of love that truly heals the soul. And the connection between Kurt and John was beautiful. As I watched the love that flowed from a father to his son, I knew without a doubt that John would grow up secure in who he is, and confident that he is loved.
Karly about Kurt: He's the fun, the spontaneity, the butterflies in my stomach, the laughs, the love and the truth when I need it. He's the best dad, the best friend and the world to me."
"I feel John and I are most connected when I read him stories. John absolutely LOVES books. I remember as a child, I loved when my mom would read me stories at bedtime. She would always give each character their own voice, and I cherished that time together very much. John listens so intently as I read and points to certain things in the pictures. He always seems to be taking it all in, like a sponge. He smiles, squeals and kicks with excitement. He is a very happy boy, but when we are reading…his joy, could light up a room."
And John, oh John. How he moved us with his sweet smile and inviting spirit. He is joy. And a light. A beaming, joy-filled light. He is a gift, not only to his mom and dad, but to the world. We were so moved that day by such a small little boy, that we had barely known. But from such a small amount of time, his life has flooded ours with light, and in him and his parents we saw what love looks like. Little boy you will help people who are blind see. You will help people who are hard become soft. And you will help people who are broken become healed. And you will help those who have lost all hope to find it. And everywhere you go, you will spread joy like light upon the earth.
The light that we saw through to capture this family wasn't just a physical light made up of sunshine. It was a light that outlives the day, that shines through the night, because the light came from within these three remarkable people. And I believe that everywhere they go, they help others see in the darkness what they cannot see on their own, for their lives truly are full of light. And in just one day spent with them, they helped us so much. They taught us, and their story changed us. And it wasn't through words, but through acts of selfless love and kindness. One thing I will forever remember from our time with you, is all the beauty, and power and love that is found in a life laid down. For you guys are truly one of the purest real life examples of this that I have ever seen.