A little while back, I made a call out to Melbourne families interested in collaborating on a family photo session come the end of winter. The post ended up having a fantastically wide reach and I had an overwhelming number of families get in touch.
Some took the time to share a bit of their story with me. A few were quirky, and heaps were funny! But there were also a couple of families that had some heartfelt situations and are really doing it tough. Many stories resonated with me, none more so than the following incredibly resilient family.
Robin is the mum of three beautiful boys, Jack, Charlie and Ollie. Her family is a blended family, that includes Dad/StepDad Troy.
The reason Robin's family story stood out for me is that they are at the very beginning of their long journey in treating 8 year old Ollie's recently diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia.
This wasn't a typical 'family with three energetic boys' type of session, given that only the week earlier, Ollie had little to no feeling in his feet. The fact he was able to walk us around The Briar's was an awesome effort in itself.
The homestead holds precious memories for Robin, who was brought here regularly by her grandparents as a little girl and was also the setting for her wedding to Troy. I am so appreciative to have been shown around this historic homestead at Mount Martha, with its rustic old barns and weathered buildings, a place I never would have thought to explore had it not been for these guys.
Robin had asked that I 'shine light on the reality of them and their strength', and I hope I managed to achieve this for them in my own way. I watched Ollie rapidly transform over the course of our 40 minute session from a lively young boy, playing american football with his big bro into a bundle of exhaustion and despair. Life can be just so cruel and unfair. But as Robin pointed out, this is their reality right now.
I believe that every time you cross paths with something special, the pieces that make up your world shift just a little to make room. And although our session together was brief, I know my world has shifted since meeting these three incredible boys, each with their own challenges ahead. And Robin, who is holding it all together in what I can only imagine must be a whirlwind of ups and downs, is doing so with such such grace and incredible strength. Truly inspiring, my positive thoughts will be with you during the coming months and years.