Some dogs are part of a family. Other dogs have a family. These are the dogs who have an undying loyalty to their people that seems to grow stronger as they grow older. Just as children thrive when they feel secure in their family relationships, some dogs do too! Casper is one of those dogs. He believes the R family is his family.
When I came over early Sunday morning, Casper was sent outside to calm down a bit; but it would have been an injustice to keep him out for long--weekend pancakes are a family ritual for him too! With ears perked and head cocked, he sat patiently to lick sticky hands and to receive loving head rubs.
Casper chose a great family, by the way. Dad is my cousin but has always been more of a big brother to me. And those early years when he would joke with me and invite me into the big kid fun were indicative of the kind of dad he would grow to be: fun, lighthearted, and spontaneous (though parenting has wisely tempered that ;) ). Mom brings a mix of creativity, steadiness, and loyalty to the family. And together they are raising two very different children! Thankfully, they have one thing in common: parents who are committed to fostering both their individuality and their sense of duty to contribute to the world around them.
And those attributes are not cultivated primarily through words--they grow over time through everyday life interactions: inviting children to participate in family life by setting the table and bring beauty to their world with a bouquet of flowers; making beds and prioritizing free play. These are the things that shape children's views of self and the world--and they are infinitely more valuable than they ever seem at the time!
R Family, thanks for letting me into your "everyday." It is obvious that you are growing some awesome people and enjoying it too!
This, by the way, was my FIRST Real Life Family Session, and I hope it is not my last!!! Photographing the everyday is the heart of my heart. If you are located in Southern Oregon, I am local! And if you live anywhere on the West Coast, I am available for travel! Seriously. If it is important to you to be able to remember what life is like in this season of your family (because we've all heard how quickly it changes), consider a Real Life Family Session!