When I opened these photos to decide which ones to blog, I was reminded why I love shooting homecomings when babies are involved. There's so much truth in that instance when dad finally appears. Infants don't really know what's going on until that moment. They hang out with mom and other family members on the parade deck, enjoy the sights of the crowd and watch intently as balloons bob in the wind. It's a day like any other. But as the anticipation builds, it's amazing watching babies absorb that energy. They start to get anxious, too. What's in store is not full understood, but they know something is about to happen. And when dad steps off the bus and brings his face to his child's, there is an undeniable exchange of comfort and love-- even in instances where baby is meeting dad for the first time, like this homecoming. It is raw and honest and real. No one has to tell that baby who the man in camouflage is-- he already knows. It's an incredible sight to see, much like a mother holding her child for the first time just after giving birth. And where else can we experience this kind of human connection, outside of a hospital room or military homecoming?
I waited with Desiree and her son for what seemed like an eternity. All the while, her husband was less than a mile away, receiving his post-deployment brief, checking in weapons and gear, and also waiting. When we arrived, the sun was shining, and when we left, the moon had taken its place. It made for a dramatic entrance for the Marines as they filed in from a dark corner of a parking lot. Desiree's husband made quick work of finding his little family and once he did, he was finally able to hold is son for the very first time. They say a child is the only person who knows what his mom's heart beat sounds like from the inside-- but a child born while his father is deployed, is the only one who knows what dad's heart beat sounds like from a half a world away.
Here is the P family's homecoming story. Please enjoy :)