The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session

So this series has been long in the making. I've known Ali and Alec for almost 10 years now and have been by there side with my camera for each milestone, their engagement, wedding, and the births of their two daughters. They are strong and persevering even when so many things seem to stack up against them.

In order to preface this series I need to tell you the story of Ali,Alec, Moseley and Tempest. I can tell you facts, like Ali and Alec have been married for 5 years, Moseley is 4 and Tempest is almost 1 and Moseley was diagnosed with Rett syndrome about a year after she was born. But if I really want people to hear this story I knew it couldn't come from me so instead it comes straight from Ali and I think its just an incredible picture of strength and perseverance.

To my past self…

Life is rough and surprises you. So my advice is to hold on to Jesus, hold on to your husband, don't listen to the enemy and just get out of bed and love your family.

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 

To the families out there with children with special needs…

When you're crying because you can't fill out your baby book at the normal development stages.

When it’s pouring down rain and you can't break down the wheelchair.

When you've been on the phone for five hours with the insurance company and they still won't pay for the equipment you need

I want you to know you're not alone somewhere,  some other special needs parent is cussing loudly over the bad saxophone covers of soft rock songs they play, while all we can do is wait.

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the neighbor who called my daughter a ‘retard’ and then called me ‘too PC'…

I can't change the way you think, I can only try and educate so be careful and considerate and you suck.

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the people who are constantly telling me they are praying for me…

Thank you but my god I do not need your pity. I'm a kick ass mother to a kick ass little girl who's in a real crap situation. So maybe next time remember It's not always the best thing to say. This is where god has me. And I'm learning to love well and fight fiercely for a child who can’t speak for herself.  

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the therapists and aids who work with my daughter weekly...

What to say to you? You're my dream team.

Thank you for the honesty, thank you for acknowledging the fact that I'm extremely exhausted and this is not easy.

Thank you for teaching my Moseley as slow and unrewarding as it is y'all are unrelenting in you pursuit. Thank you for hugging me and telling me I'm doing a great job on those days Moe's shoes don't match and my face is tear stained from three day old makeup and baby food.

Thank you a thousand times thank you. 

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the lady at the grocery store…

 Both of my children are adorable not just the one that makes eye contact with you. 

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the waiter at the restaurant…

I appreciate you saying sweet things to my Tempest but my child you decide to walk wide circles around and stare at can feel that you think she isn't worth saying sweet things to. Notice both or none. 

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the photographer who is uncomfortable taking photos of my family…

 I know it will be a challenge but I’m not asking you to give me a typical family session and miraculously change my daughter into an average 4 year old. I guess I just need someone with real talent who can capture the beauty in disability and see that my family is just as beautiful as any other family you will take pictures of. 

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To the people who keep asking me how I am, because they think I look exhausted…

 IM EXHAUSTED!!! That's why I look like crap. Maybe ask instead, can I hold your kid so I can sit on the couch without a thrashing human in your arms. Or maybe try saying something encouraging like, “hey you're doing a great job even though I know you're tired.” Or just lie and say "dang girl you look good. I love your hair"

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

 To families in the world with “normal children”...

Don't ever be afraid to tell me the amazing things your child does. I want to rejoice in your family too. Please don't tip toe around me and be afraid to ask me questions or keep you child from mine. 

The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL

To my future self…

 You did the best you could and that was truly amazing. No one could be a better mother to your children then you. The past is in the past. Time to let it go. 

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The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL
The Collins Family : In Home Documentary Session | Hannahill Photography | Ocala, FL