Stories of Motherhood: Andrea Vance

Each month we’re bringing you a story of motherhood from one of the amazing women I’ve photographed. They’ll each be sharing a story from their heart – some joyful, some heart-wrenching – but all real.

Last month we kicked off the series with Heather Odendaal, and this month brings a heartfelt story from the lovely Andrea Vance. Andrea is the owner, publisher and managing editor of WestCoast Families, the longest running, largest family publication in the Greater Vancouver area. During their family session we chatted about their recent world travels and I am so looking forward to seeing all the photographs from their trip.

Here’s her story…

I really value my moments. I mean, the kind you get to just sit and be you… quiet, introspective, and watching the world (or people) go by. As most of you know, those peaceful moments become a very valuable commodity when you’re a parent. You’re juggling children, school, house, and work. Kids are always tugging at your pant leg in some way… even when they’re almost the same height as you!

I sometimes lament the days when I used to be able to watch movies on a rainy Sunday, stroll the shops, sleep in, or take my camera for a walk. But the morning snuggles and those big beautiful eyes and smiles that look up bring me back to the present where I truly adore time spent with my family, even when I do dream of those “me” days.

In 2016, two and a half years of planning came to fruition and we had the great fortune of spending 4 months traveling in Spain and Italy as a family. We had time… for anything! No schedules, no programs, no appointments or meetings. Okay, I had some Spanish lessons in Seville, and we had to catch the odd train… but otherwise we were on our own time. Nothing dictated our schedule except us, and it felt really good.

I remember a time early on our trip, I thought to say, “Okay, kids, we should get going” while we were playing at a local park. It was just habit. We had been there a while, time to move on I thought. I caught myself at “okay kids…” and then I paused. No, we didn’t have to go. We didn’t really have anywhere TO go! The kids barely replied “yeah” as they played on, and I sat back with a smug look and a wine in hand.

I smiled and realized how good it felt to NOT have to go. Truly one of those “aha” moments in life. We got to sit, quietly, introspectively, and watch the world (and amazing people) go by. We saw the kids play on and on. We chatted with other parents and kids at the park, joined in the play, and even rode the zip line too.

It was a magical day, and the feeling continued for the rest of the 4 months.

About 18 months later, I catch myself starting to say “okay, we gotta go”, and I give myself a check to see if that’s really true. Many times it is, and yes the clock is calling us for some commitment. But sometimes… JUST sometimes… I get to stop myself and let the play go on. And it always makes me smile inside – for the kids as much as me.

When we embarked on our sojourn I wondered what would come out of it. What part of our experience would we take back home with us? Realizing the beauty of freedom and less scheduling… enjoying in the moment when you can, and not worrying about what’s up next, or moving on. That’s something I’m holding on to.

When we have the time. =)



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