We’ve photographed our fair share of weddings…which is awesome to be a part of. We hear words of wisdom from people of all walks of life. We hear advice and love delivered in many different forms. There’s the most common, the sweet and sentimental well wishes to a bright and happy future. There’s the humorous and witty get it over with quick speeches. And then there’s the honest, sometimes saddened and tinged with regret- “if only I knew then”, which is probably my favorite and most valuable advice. The latter most often stating, “There were hard times.” “It wasn’t always happy.” and, “We struggled.” But they always say, keep your head up, things eventually get better.
We’ve struggled early on in our marriage and even before we said, “I Do.” We were two young kids at 20 and 21 dealing with a miscarriage at 12 weeks. We had already told everybody we were expecting and we were so excited. After losing the baby, the next few weeks were hard. I wanted to run away. We struggled with that for what seemed like an eternity. Not long after, we found out we were pregnant with Mason. I was scared. We didn’t tell ANYBODY. It wasn’t until we were beyond 12 weeks that we decided to share our news. Things eventually got better.
We’ve struggled with parenting, as our styles don’t always seem to match-even if we have the same goal. In our house, he’s the law and I’m the negotiator. We know our roles pretty well and as we’ve gotten older, we’ve struggled less…again, things eventually got better.
We’ve struggled with jobs and being unhappy at work. I left my job at the post office after I had Mason. I HATED working at the post office and couldn’t stand the thought of putting him in daycare. We struggled financially, but soon after I left the post office, Koko got his job at the credit union. Financially, things got better. We had our sweet baby girl, Mia. She is part of why we fell into photography, after a failed attempt at a cake business. The first year with the photography business was not our best, but I was better at that than I was at making cakes. I was eager to learn more. The second year, things started running more smoothly. We started to see trends and gain clients. By year three, things were good. We knew we had something.
We struggled when Koko started understandably resenting his job. He had missed out on baseball games, Halloween, narrowly made school performances, and almost had to miss Mason’s Kindergarten graduation. We fought about it a lot. I knew his job was important…but so is our family. We had often talked about photography being our full time gig-but we never knew when the time would be right. Without getting into it too much, we finally made the jump in July (2016). We knew High School Seniors were right around the corner-our main clients, so financially we’d be fine. Then…that year, they decided to go contract. We had almost no clients. So, we improvised and got into sports photography. It helped, but was nowhere near where we had been financially the previous two years.
2017 started rough when we suffered another miscarriage. Something we don’t talk about, but again, I had a hard time with it. I wasn’t as far along as I was the first time, but it wasn’t any easier. A few months later, we found out we were pregnant with Micah. The kids were ecstatic to have a baby brother! The business was steady, but still not where we had been previously. I had my moments of worry, but Koko would assure me things would be fine. September was so slow. Like scary slow. But we managed.
We struggled in January when Micah was in the hospital. I struggled a lot with what ifs and scenarios that I should have done differently. I felt at fault for him needing a feeding tube. He wasn’t even a year old. I still think I should have done better. The next month, we really struggled. Working during that time was hard. Then we had a couple of other work related setbacks followed by our one car starting to give us problems. Sleep was stressful. That was the easiest time for him to pull his feeding tube out and since they had to bypass his stomach, if it moved out, we’d have to drive back to El Paso to get it re-inserted. I got crazy good at taping it to his face, seriously, that thing could hardly move. We never had to get it re-inserted. The time is fuzzy to me now, but once Micah got the tube out (a little over a month later) we thought things would get way easier. Then we struggled with getting him to eat. He is really picky, refuses baby food, and still really gives me a hard time. We had an amazing at home nurse that would come in once a week to weigh him. We would have a good week where he’d gain a couple ounces followed by a bad week when he’d lose more than he had initially gained. That went on until late July when he had finally had 3 consistent gains in a row. It took 6 months to get him back on track and we still aren’t fully out of the woods, but he is doing a lot better and we were discharged from our at home nurse. Things eventually got better.
Currently, we’re struggling. Work is slow and our only source of income. Our “good” car has been in the shop for over two months. I know we aren’t the only ones. So, if you are struggling too, know that you aren’t alone. Keep to the advice above… these are hard times, it may not always be happy, but eventually things will get better.