Senior Session: Meet Josie

I'm finally getting along to sharing Josie's senior session...just in time for her graduation. Outside of the opportunity to capture a beautiful soul, the opportunity meant even more to me since I've been shooting her since birth. For 18 years she's been one of my favorite subjects. And now, she's grown and off to start the next chapter in a journey that is sure to be as wonderful as she is.

Josie was the first child that I got to truly be a "bystander" to. Her mom, Mindy, is one of my best friends since high school and that means from the second she was conceived, I have loved Josie as much as I have her mom (and by extension her dad Kevin and two siblings that followed in the years to come.)

Being asked to capture Josie in one of her very favorite places on Earth—Blandford Nature Center—was like completing a circle for me personally. Though I play the role of pseudo Aunt, watching her upbringing has influenced much of my own parenting and informed me on how setting a strong foundation early-on reverberates into early adulthood. Josie has become one of the most unique, creative, funny kids I know.

On a weekly basis my children request the "Josie story." Often I have to tell it two or three times in a row. It goes like this: "Josie was just 10 days old and I traveled from MSU to Chicago to meet her for the very first time. The next morning, we were awake with her after a very restless night. Kevin had to go to work at the Container Store and I asked Mindy if she wanted me to hold Josie so that she could take a break and shower. Who knows how long went by, but Mindy gently shook me awake. When I opened my eyes, there she stood in robe with wet hair and whispered as to not wake the baby who was finally asleep, 'Court, you're drooling on my kid.' [Insert belly giggles from my two kiddos.] We didn't know what to do since the nurses said you couldn't wash newborns with the city water. So we dabbed her off and called it good." Needless to say, our relationship was sealed from that day forth and I will forever be known as "Dortney" or as it sounded from her pursed 2-year old ducky lips..."Dorky."

Jos, I love you enough to run into a Silent March and shout your name, only to be mildly embarrassed for the opportunity to say "hi." You're an amazing, talented and cherished soul. Thank you for showing me the first glimpse of parenting as I watched your parents bring you up. You're going to do important things. (So important that even wildlife photo-bomb you.)