There’s something to be said about brotherly love, and the strength of a sibling bond. My 13 year old son Anthony struggles with depression. It has been a battle for him for some time now, and it isn’t always easy for him to be light and joyful… Enter Belle. Anabel, more lovingly referred to as Belle (yes, like the princess) is Anthony’s 5 year old sister. She is a carefree, effervescent, bouncing ball of sunshine. She has a fairy like quality about her, and makes friends wherever she goes. However, her best friend is Anthony. They have an unshakable sibling bond that stems from the light that she bring to him when he finds himself in dark places.
Anthony and Belle are the closest among all 7 of my children. He watches movies with her, he takes her skateboarding, and at night he tucks her into bed. They have a little ritual to ward off her bad dreams at bedtime, where he pretends to sprinkle “magic salt” on her head to protect her from nightmares.
The inspiration behind the photo shoot came about after the birth of my 7th child, I was looking online at princess gowns for myself (I’m a shameless Disneyphile and thought maybe buying myself a princess gown would motivate me to lose the weight left over from my recent pregnancy) when Anthony spied a Prince Charming costume. That’s when he took over the search. He looked at me and asked if I would buy him one of the prince costumes. He said he would like to dress up and plan a photo shoot for Belle, since we had recently celebrated her birthday. As both their mom, and a photographer, I was all about it! We set to work putting together the Prince Charming costume right down to the white gloves and the black shoes that he shined himself the old fashioned way, with solid polish and an old rag. Then he chose a Snow White dress to match the blue and red costume he had chosen for himself.
I can’t explain the joy on her face when her “favorite boy in the world” came into the room just before the photo shoot dressed as a prince, and gave her a brand new gown. I told her we were going to take princess pictures for her birthday, dressed her quickly and then we drove to a local garden to take the photos.
The photo shoot was probably the most heart warming thing I’ve experienced as a mother. He carried her from one spot to the next so she didn’t trip on her dress, and she would giggle and hug him between every shot. She felt like a real princess, and her happiness is easy to see in her face in every photo.
Anthony would spin her around and laugh at how happy she was… And that’s what it is all about to me as a mother… as HIS mother. When you have a child who battles with themselves day after day, there is nothing you wouldn’t pay to see them smile. Belle brings that out in him. He gave her an incredible gift and in return she made him genuinely happy. That was a gift she gave in return to both Anthony and myself.
I could hardly finish the photos through the tears of pride and happiness. When they were done, they were perfect to me. I am so proud of my son, his warm heart, and the spot in it that is reserved for his little sister. He amazes me and I am so proud of him.
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