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  • Writer's picturemelindafox

Val and Howie

"So," Val started as she took a deep breath. "I want to change how we were going to do my pictures." "I'm with you, friend. Tell me what you've got," I said, opening my notes with zero hesitation.

And my 'zero hesitation' is an important part of this story. Normally, I would hesitate. And any good creator should because if you've been hired for a particular job and then you're told that job is going to change, it's reason for pause.

But not with Val.

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Anyone who knows Val and has any interaction with her knows she's a woman of strong integrity. She is clear and direct. She has deeply cherished beliefs and strives to live up to them even if it's difficult.

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When Val talks, you listen.

Not out of fear or hesitation but respect. We listen because Val is always honest and she is always generous.

You don't take words spoken by a person of rich moral character lightly.

So I listened.

"I know we were going to do headshots," Val continued as we sat on my couch. "And I still want some. But I want pictures with my husband, Howie. I want that to be the focus."

"That's quite a change," I said as I nodded my head. "There must be a story there."

Val laughed. "Oh, there is. And it's a long one."

I happen to like long stories and Val loves talking about Howie so I listened as my friend told me her love story.

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Val told me about her divorce and her strong determination in raising her four beloved boys. She told me about meeting Howie, how it felt like she'd always known him. She talked about losing him for a while and how she did her best to move forward.

Val told me about her heartbreaks, the losses, and then trying to be the best she could.

Then she told me about Howie sweeping back into her life. This was my favorite part of their story because the radiating peace that swept over her face was a mix of adoration, gratitude, and deep love.

"It took us some time to get together. But we made it and we are so blessed," Val paused and looked across my studio. "He is my greatest gift. I love him. He helps me to be my best self. I'm better because of him."

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Val looked down at her lap as she laughed to herself. "I used to be a lot, like a lot, a lot. Howie has settled me. He is my greatest blessing."

And as if they compared notes, Howie says the same thing about Val on the day of their photoshoot.

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"I'm so lucky. I just love looking at her," Howie told me a week later as Val talked with Shea in my makeup chair. "Just look at her," Howie whispered, his eyes never leaving Val as she sat, calm and composed while Shea did her hair and makeup. "Wow. I'm just so lucky."

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"You know she says the same thing about you," I told Howie, smiling at his inability to take his eyes from his beautiful wife. "Yeah, I'm sure she does." Howie took a precious moment and looked at me. "But we know who really lucked out."

If I could tell you how the day went, and how their photoshoot unfolded, it would best be described as a peaceful dance of wholehearted love and unending adoration and gratitude.

Howie only had eyes for Val. Val would only focus on Howie.

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They distracted one another with touches, whispers, giggles, laughs, and compliments.

They were showing Shea and me a window into their love, their private connection that is clearly seen by few. The world sees their love for one another, they could never hide that. It's evident in their words and actions when out and about. But there are parts to Val and Howie that are special. Moments and reactions that the world doesn't get to see because, well, the world isn't always gentle and Val and Howie put on a needed and united strong front. But when the chaos and demands of the world got shut out, Val and Howie relaxed into a playful connection and lovingly distracted one another in a game of who loves who most.

They both always win.

This love of theirs was hard won.

They didn't come to one another easily or fast.

Life threw them both curveballs and unexpected challenges and choices.

But they made it to one another. And if you asked Val or Howie, they would tell you it was worth it.

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Every difficulty, every challenge, every single heartbreak, letdown, disappointment, and tear shed was worth it because they ended up together.


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"He helps me keep my promises," Val said squeezing Howie's hand.

"And she gives me peace," Howie said as he squeezed Val's back. "We are so blessed because we have each other. We say that to each other and to our children all the time: We are blessed."

With an ending like this, the story is worth it.



Hair and makeup by the amazing Shea Hollister 


Love,

Melinda


P.S. Are you interested in an incredible photoshoot experience all your own with Melinda? Whether it be a branding photoshoot, birthday photoshoot, mother and daughter pictures, headshots, or contemporary portraits and boudoir we will create something show-stopping that celebrates you!









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