Verbeek Family

Every morning when we wake, Mike and I listen as Lilah and Amelia begin to stir. We hear footsteps in the hallway, and can always tell which child has risen first. The moment Lilah opens her eyes, she is full of energy. She races down the hallway yelling, “It’s morning time!” and then bounces onto our bed, full of chatter and plans for the day.

Amelia is a little slower to awaken. She stumbles out of her bed and drags her feet down the hallway towards our room. She stands in our doorway rubbing her eyes with her little fists, her cheeks flushed and hair sticking up at odd angles. She reaches out her arms for Mike to pick her up, and then snuggles up to her Daddy under the covers.

Eloise, who is still sleeping in our bed, opens her eyes at the sound of all of the happy chaos and immediately smiles and kicks her little feet, excited to hear her sister’s voice.

At some point, Mike gets up to make the coffee. Amelia always wants to do “downdairs” with him. Lilah stays in the bed for a while longer, reciting “round and round the garden” in her high pitched little voice while tracing a circle on the baby’s belly with her index finger. Eloise laughs and coos at the attention from her big sister.

Later on in the day, I lay the baby on the bed and talk to her as I fold and sort loads of laundry to be put away. At some point during the day, the bed becomes a ship, and the girls pretend to make “noodle pudding” for the pirates who are holding them captive, inspired by one of Amelia’s favourite books, Grandma and the Pirates.

In the evening, we all snuggle up in the bed for a chapter of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe before we carry the girls to their shared room to sleep.

After the kids are asleep in their own beds, our bed is the place where Mike and I cuddle up and talk about our girls and our day and our dreams. It’s the place where during each of my three pregnancies, we talked about the child growing inside of me, and wondered who she was going to be, Mike’s large, rough hands laid across my stretched abdomen, feeling the flutter of tiny hands and feet and knees and elbows.

Our bed has been a place of laughter and tears, of conversation and cuddles, morning breath and messy hair. It’s been a sickbed for the kids (the only time they are allowed to eat popsicles and watch videos back-to-back), a place where I have laboured and given birth and nursed all three of my babes in the wee hours of the morning.

Tim and Bonnie invited me into their home to capture their new family of five. The newest member of their family, Abygail, is just a few weeks younger than Eloise. I ended up photographing the entire session in their bedroom, and most of the images in this post are on their bed. Bonnie and I talked about how it was actually quite fitting to do the session in this room, since so much of our time with a newborn is actually spent in the bedroom.

There is something so amazing about welcoming a third child into the family. As parents, we have finally found our groove. We are confident in our parenting choices, and know how to equally divide ourselves between our children so that everyone feels loved. We look at our two older children and ask each other, “Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were so small?” We unpack the baby clothes and barely believe that our five year old in grass-stained jeans and rubber boots ever fit into the stack of teeny-tiny onesies and sleepers.

We try to soak up every stolen moment with this tiny newborn. We know how fleeting and dear these moments really are, because twice we have watched our newborns suddenly potty trained and squirming away from our kisses. Before we know it, we’re sending a child off to school who only yesterday fit into the crook of our arm. In The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver writes that the last baby is a “love by a different name. She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she’s gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking in the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks. She’s the one you can’t put down.”

As I write these words, I am sitting under the covers of my own bed. The rain is drumming on the roof above me, and a mug of hot tea sits on the nightstand to my left. Eloise is asleep on my right shoulder, her little chest rising and falling in unison with her breath.

My heart is so full.

Tim and Bonnie, congratulations on your newest addition. She is so beautiful and oh so loved. Soon enough we won’t have to straighten our rumpled duvets because the kids have been jumping on the bed again. Soon enough we won’t crawl into bed and somehow find a few goldfish crackers beneath the covers (even though food is not allowed in the bed!). Soon enough we won’t have to wash our sheets every other day because they always end up smelling like baby-spit-up. Soon enough, our beds will once again be perfectly made. But for now, pile up under the wrinkled covers and enjoy these fleeting moments together.

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4 thoughts on “Verbeek Family

  1. OH GOODNESS!!!!! Every single one of these images of Bonnie and her family are absolutely perfect! Beautiful work Sarah! xoxo

  2. Sarah, Your work is just beautiful. I could not stop smiling as I scrolled through the pictures. I have to say I have even teared up because you captured the true love that fills the hearts of Bonnie and Tim and the love they have for their chldren. Wonderful job. You are very gifted for sure!

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