No one’s gonna love you more // Baraboo family photographer

I can’t even tell you how long I’d wanted to photograph this crew, because if I did, it would be embarrassing for both of us.

But something has always attracted me to their family. It’s not just their four incredibly adorable brown-eyed kids. Or the fact that the parents, who were high school sweethearts, look like they could be starring in an indie romantic comedy.

I was drawn to them because it always seemed like this —  the family life they had together — was their dream.

Helping the kids into their coats, and out of them, and into them again. Cutting apples, breaking up wrestling matches, playing charades on a rainy day, huddling on the bench at hockey practice. The mundane little tasks that, as a sum of their parts, make up a life together. They make your children know they’re loved and safe and appreciated. They matter.

Family is everything to them. It just shines forth from every one of them.

Families like this are always close to each other: Absentmindedly holding mom or dad’s hand, or throwing an arm around a little brother, or wrestling with a sister. They are connected, touching and going, tethered to each other in the best possible way.

The day I sent this mom the link to her preview slideshow, she had just gotten home from a rough morning of dropping the kids off at school. She said looking at the photos, it was hard not to start crying from joy.

I think that’s because with a set of images like this, you don’t just get to see how beautiful your children are, but how beautiful your life is. It’s not just one pretty, perfect picture, but the arc of this part of your family story. You can step back and say, “Wow, we built this together, and despite the frustrations and the challenges, we’re doing a pretty damn good job.”

I’m an adult with a family of my own. But I think if I had a set of photos like this from my childhood — of my mom making dinner, and my dad listening to me practice piano horribly just because he loved to see me play, and my sister and I playing Barbies — it would break my heart right open. That’s how important I feel this is.