This family, right here above these words, is amazing. Yes, these images were taken in the fall of 2012 in the beautiful Medicine Lodge state park outside of Hyattville, WY. Yes, that was only six years ago. No, six years is not a terribly long time. I have known this family since Koby, their youngest son was in kindergarten and friends with my son Aaron. Koby is now a sophomore in high school! Morgan was one of my seniors from last year! Now, fast forward 6 years. Here is what they all looked like, right before Morgan went off to college at Black Hills State just a few weeks ago. We had a great family session in Basin, Wy. It was such a perfect day, and I had lots of helpers while we took these family portraits.
WOW! That is some serious change in just six short years! The boys are commonly referred to as Big Tig and Little Tig. And, did I mention this family is amazing?!? Since our first session back in 2012, Rhonda has been through two battles with breast cancer. She is such a strong and wonderful person. No matter what she is going through she still usually has a smile and a chuckle for everyone and a kind word. Then this spring, Ward was diagnosed with cancer of the blood. So very frustrating to just make it through one fight for Rhonda and have to begin again with Ward. But, they both keep smiling and supporting their boys, and working as much as possible. Both Rhonda and Ward are self employed. I am not sure exactly what Rhonda does, but Ward owns Tractor Guys, in Worland. Rhonda and I have talked many times about doing another family session. We were set to do one last year right before she received her second cancer diagnosis. So we held off. Complications set in, and we held off. This summer we were chatting and I found out about Ward. I said, we need to get it done! So we set a date, no more putting it off.
Now, Ward was married before and has children and grandchildren that I don't know. But I offered, that if we could get everyone together, it would be great to have the whole family. Rhonda was so excited about being able to get all the kids and grandkids together. I had never met any of Wards other children. I really did not know what to expect, I did not really know how many kids or grandkids there were, I just knew I wanted to have as many as we could there for family portraits. I was so shocked when I saw this big blended family! This is the Tigner Clan! Or most of them, we were missing a few grandkids. Oh my goodness, what fun they were! This is also why I had so many extra helpers on this session! Not only was the family there, a few friends tagged along.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I had no idea there were so many! Rhonda and Ward seem too young to have that many grandchildren! But what a beautiful family. And the relationships between everyone was so amazing to watch. They really love each other and are a FAMILY! Even if Koby and Morgan are closer in age to their nieces and nephews, their older siblings treat them (tease them) like siblings! It was so fun to me, after all these years of knowing just this little family of four, to finally see really and truly what their family looks like!
But that was not what prompted this post. This post was prompted by an act that literally made me cry as I was leaving this session. You see, when I arrived, Rhonda greeted me. Then she said, "I hope it is ok, but we invited Ward's ex-wife (Pam) to be here with us. We just don't get everyone together like this often and thought it would be nice if she could be a part of it too. " Talk about love. This right here is what it looks like! I have never had this request before, but oh how I wish I did. How I wish every divorced parent could set aside differences and show love and kindness for the sake of their children and grandchildren. This day, will go down in my history book. The family that showed me what family truly is and should be. Thank you Tigner family for allowing me to capture this moment in time. We will do it again, lets say in two or three years, when the rollercoaster slows down (right before it goes crazy when Koby leaves home). Or maybe . . . the roller coaster just keeps going in life and I will learn from you guys to just smile and enjoy the ride.
The last image is one of everyone that was present that day, friends and family, the only true treasure on this earth. Ward, Rhonda,and Pam, you guys raised some great kids and the reward is those beautiful grandchildren.