On parenting together and documenting young friendships

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You know those friends, who despite living on different coasts, feel like they're always right nearby?

The ones that -- despite life getting so busy that you rarely talk -- just get you, no matter how much time goes by without visits?

The ones that can lift your spirits with just a quick text exchange when you're filled with self-doubt or drowning in the loneliness that parenthood can bring?

The ones that lead weirdly parallel lives -- you seem to share the same personal and career struggles, your kids are the same age, your politics, values, and priorities are in line, you have the same tastes in everything -- even though your times together are so few and far between?

And when you're together, everything just flows so easily, from the whiskey to the conversation to the joyous way the kids reconnect in mere minutes?


Well those kids above? Those are ours and theirs, a few weeks ago on our latest visit together.

We've all got 'em, right? The friends you met eons ago when you were a different person entirely, and for whatever reason, you each took a path that was parallel and complementary, delivering you to a friendship much richer and more fulfilling than you ever expected, especially when you first met, 100 years ago, when you were different people (the kind of crazy people who backpacked in the hot Texas desert, I might add).


So. We love these friends, and we *really* love the magical bond that our children are forming right before our eyes. This particular family hooks up with ours every other year for a summer trip to relax, explore, and reconnect. From the very first year in the Smoky Mountains when the babes were a mere 1.5, it was clear they were two peas in a pod.

Skip two (years), multiply by two (times the children and fun). This adventure, on the coast of Oregon.

This summer was an off year, but my soul needed nurturing and I needed my kids to rekindle one of our most important family friendships. So while on the East Coast visiting family, we got together as much as we could. And the children were right back into the thick of the fun. As were we.

Documenting our children's budding bond started as just a part of my every day bringing-my-camera-everywhere thing that I do. But over the years, it's evolved into something more important to me. When they're grown, these children will still know each other, at least by virtue of their parents' friendship. Someday, our kids will have their own children, and raise them together with their close friends. There's something so special -- and yet so universal -- about it.

When my daughter and son are grown, I want to sit down with them one rainy day, early in their parenting journey when they're in the throes of self-doubt and loneliness, and show them evidence of the joy that comes from parenting in community.

Someday, I hope to have good photographic records of all of us together, exploring and enjoying and connecting. But for now, the children can carry the story themselves.

Have a special friendship you'd like documented? Contact me to discuss. More on Family Documentary sessions by Austin photojournalist Aleks Gajdeczka.