I’m not sure there is a story sweeter than the story of the friendship of Hayes and Holly! Hayes in my now 6 year old son and Holly is his very best friend! These two met for the first time in pre-school where they became fast friends and shared tons of time together both in the classroom and on the playground. It was actually on the playground where their friendship truly sparked. Holly was being made fun of on the playground by some classmates and Hayes came to her rescue. From that moment on, Holly referred to Hayes as her prince and their friendship has been the sweetest thing since sugar cookies!
On Valentine’s day of their final pre-school year, they both insisted on purchasing gifts for each other. Holly hand crafted a sweet gift while Hayes went with the traditional flower and chocolates. While I knew this little friendship was adorable, I fully expected it to fizzle at some point. I mean, these are preschoolers, what do they know about love anyway? Well, I think they know a lot more than we give them credit!
As the months passed, these little ones enjoyed play dates, school activities, going on special outings, face timing, and just enjoying each others time! Hayes would tell me how much he loved Holly and wanted to marry her one day! And that when he did, he wouldn’t be able to snuggle me as much because she’d be his wife but that he would still love me! Such a sweet sweet soul that little boy is. He said he’d be ready to wed when he was 40 so I figure I have plenty more snuggle time ahead. Holly on the other hand would like to marry Hayes when she’s 10! Ha! Of course Holly’s mom and I have explained to these sweet kiddos that marriage comes much later in life and there’s no rush but having a friend that they care about so much is such a blessing and a gift.
Right before this photo shoot was planned, my husband and I got word that we were moving to Charleston SC. While we were beyond thrilled as that had been our dream for years, we knew that this little friendship could possibly come to an end. So, a best friend’s photo shoot was planned! We wanted nothing more than for these little ones to have photos together so we could capture this incredible friendship and keep it with us forever!
As a photographer, of course I had to style the shoot because….well….why not? So, I asked one of my best friends, Sarena from Sarena Floral Designs, to put together a small bouquet and a hair piece. She asked if I wanted her to make a best friend style floral ring. OF COURSE I did! What an amazing idea!!! Hayes had been saying for months how he wanted to get Holly a ring and now was the perfect time! Just the sweetest!!!
So, on photo shoot day, the kiddos got dressed up in their sweet, little outfits and off we went to Great Marsh Estate to take some photos. Their session was complete with a first look, because YES, I’m extra! And no, I’m not sorry for that. They ran, they played, they laughed, they danced, they twirled in circles, it was one of the most incredible sessions I’ve ever shot. Not because the photos were pretty, but because we were capturing the purest love between two best friends that honestly care so much about each other. Over the past 2 years, it’s been the most amazing thing to watch and it deserved to be captured. And they way these two interacted was just incredible. I can honestly say, there was very little direction. The dancing, walking, running, little whispers, and tie straightening was all them. Of course there was some posing involved otherwise but mostly, it was just the two of them acting like the best of friends, like they always do.
After this session was over and I posted the sneak peeks, I never imagined we would get the response that we did. I surely never in a million years expected the post to go viral. I’m not going to lie, I loved that my son and his best little friend got so much positive attention for just being them. It was heartwarming to see all of the posts of people that loved their story and for some that had a restored hope for love because of how innocent their friendship was. Sadly, a lot of that was overshadowed for me as the negativity and online bullying came out from a handful of people. I was honestly appalled by some of the things I read and I made the mistake of letting it consume me and walking away from sharing more photos because I didn’t want to deal with the hate. I’ll be honest, quite a few Taylor Swift songs came to mind….”Shake it Off” was the one I tried to think about the most but man, it was tough shaking off some of those comments.
So, those photos hung out on my hard drive until this virus hit! This virus has rocked everyone’s world in more ways that I can count. I think I finally hit a breaking point as I saw the wedding industry (my industry) begin to fall apart, people in sheer panic, and all of the death around us. I realized that I really don’t care what a choice few negative Nellie’s have to say about this photoshoot with two, INNOCENT, best friends! This wasn’t a wedding shoot nor was it ever referred to that way. These kids have developed their own ideas around what marriage is by what they’ve seen in the world around them and YOU KNOW WHAT? I could not be more proud that they love each other and they’re not afraid to say it. They’re not afraid to let everyone know. And as a mother, I will never tell my son that his feelings are invalid because of his age when it comes to loving and caring for another human being. Hayes has three older sisters and I can only pray that they find someone to love them as much as this little boy loves his best friend.
Now, do I think these two will get married or is that an expectation ours? Come on friends, they were 5 at the time of this photo shoot. I can’t tell the future. The only thing I hope for them is that they are the happiest human beings in the world with whomever they marry later in life. If it’s each other, awesome! If it’s someone else, awesome! But I will tell you, I will do whatever is within my power to keep them in touch with each other IF THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT!
Now…for an update….
Fast forward to today, Hayes and Holly now live states away. Hayes in SC, Holly in VA. But I’m happy to report, they still talk about each other often, they still, surprisingly, want to get married, and they keep in touch regularly through hand written letters, post cards, FaceTime, and videos. Our families have summer trips planned to get together as soon as we’re able to do so with the current restrictions. And I can’t wait for these littles to swim together and Just. Be. Kids.
I’m not gonna lie though, there may be a new shoot coming up in the near future, so stay tuned……
And here you have it friends, all of the photos from their session including some funny moments. Enjoy!