We were in our house in Wisconsin, about to go to bed. It was a totally normal night. We had eaten pizza (normal), watched a movie (normal), and had to get up the next day and help Brooke’s parents with their move (ok, not that normal). Brooke was already in bed and I slightly dashed down the three steps that led into the bedroom. My foot slipped on a step and I missed the last step. That’s all that happened. My foot slipped on slick carpeting. But what that created was insane.
From the bed, unable to help because it all happened in a split second, Brooke watched me fall. My right foot felt as if it bent completely forward trying to touch my shin. I sat on the floor for a moment stunned and very embarrassed. The pain was extreme, but determined to not let it ruin my day, I slightly laughed it off and went to stand up. I couldn’t. Pain shot through me like I never felt. Brooke pleaded with me to go to the ER while watching my foot instantly swell and turn terrible shades of blue and purple on top as well as underneath. She piled ice on me as I refused to go. It would be better in the morning. I curled up against her letting only a couple tears of fear leak out. It was wedding season. What had I done?
The next day, I still couldn’t put weight on it without excruciating pain. She carried half my body on her shoulder getting me to the hospital where they confirmed that while I hadn’t broken it, I had severely sprained it. Only later did we find out that it was the worst level sprain you could do AND a torn ligament. Because it wasn’t my ankle, but the top of my foot, they didn’t feel that a soft cast would help. Luckily, a friend of mine in California disagreed and surprised me with an air boot from Amazon the next day which helped quite a bit considering how stubbornly independent I am.
I still remember finally crying when I was alone in the x-ray room. All the frustration, all the fear was released. That poor x-ray tech had no idea what was happening.
But from this, something amazing happened. While lying back in bed that day, in tears thinking that I had just ruined multiple weddings because I couldn’t get around, Brooke volunteered to help shoot. Of course she offered. She had already offered to get every one of my favorite foods from the grocery story, help me shower, and took care of my dogs. Why wouldn’t she volunteer to photograph a wedding? I just assumed it was her being selfless as usual. But then, OUT OF THE BLUE, told me that she had done extreme sport photography. Mind you, if you can track a dirt bike or an ATV flying through the air while it whips dirt and sand at you – you can photograph bridesmaids.
This is how it started. She taught herself my Nikons within a day. She checked every exposure with me. She hated that she didn’t have years of shooting weddings under her belt already so she was incredibly hard on herself to be better and better. She stepped up and crawled into the craziest angles and spots to get the shot. Her focus was dead on amazing. Her composition was so similar to mine that I had to check the lens in Lightroom to see who shot it.
That next wedding, she shot alongside my sister and I. I was in the air boot with crutches, determined to shoot no matter what. But honestly, from seeing the photos, I could have just directed the entire thing from a chair. She had it. She was a natural. The couples loved her, gushed over her. And I wondered how in the world I ever got so lucky.
It was such an obvious choice to ask her to be a partner in business with me. Her natural raw talent is staggering. She is constantly looking for ways to improve herself. The opportunity came from pain and chaos, which I’ve learned that so many changes in life really do.
She proposed 4 months after that day promising to be by my side for the rest of my life. She had no idea that I was already set on that long before she ever asked.
September 9, 2019