When you move to a new city, life can be overwhelming. And often it takes a small but impactful gesture from a kind person to make you relax and remember to take one step at a time (and that soon, this place will feel like home). When we moved to our home in Katy, our nextdoor neighbors Robert and Rachel stopped by with a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift and a smile. They were so kind and my husband and I will not soon forget that. We had moved out of a very social neighborhood and I was worried that we wouldn’t have friendly faces around for a long time. Not the case with the Crawford family. It didn’t take long for their teenage daughter to become our babysitter and there is nothing like knowing you have some one literally next door if you need anything.
Fast forward a few months in January. I was running to the grocery store and before I back out of the driveway, I checked my email. And there is was. I thought it was an error actually. I often get emails meant for other people with a similar email addresses, but I checked again and it was not. Rachel had been diagnosed with cancer.
Now if you know me, the first thing I think about (after I freak out for a moment) is how can I help? They are going to need help. I sometimes over commit (my spell check just made commit “committee” – see I have a problem!) but really, what could my family and I do? What does someone dealing with cancer need? I suffered through a chronic disease and then surgery and I can relate but it isn’t the exact same. When I was sick someone once told me “When mama is down, everything is down.” And this is where the “it takes a village” idea kicks in. My husband and I talked about how we could help. Sure I can make dinner for the family but something more impactful and meaningful was offering a family photo session (and when we texted about the session, Rachel joked “she didn’t want to rock the bald look so let’s do it this weekend”). So that is what we did.
Often times at sessions it takes a good 15 minutes for everyone to warm up, relax and be in the moment. Not for the Crawfords. Be in the moment is what they are living every day. And that is the best thing EVER to come out of a horrible disease. Realizing this is now and this is what we have. So many people never get that shock (and obviously I don’t want them to) but once you do, you see life differently. The love, living-in-the-moment laughter and family bonds really come through in their portraits – just look at the way this family looks at Rachel. This is how a family loves.
Please send your thoughts and prayers to Rachel and the entire family as they take this one step at a time.