Saturday, January 21, 2012












After a couple of weeks in Fort Lauderdale, I hopped a 40 minute flight to Orlando. Not for Mickey Mouse or my long-awaited dream date with the Little Mermaid, but rather a couple of days with my pals Ryan and Nicole Marshall. You know them from Ryan's massively popular blog, Pacing the Panic Room and might remember my time at Fashion Week with Ryan in September. 

It was so nice to spend a few days at their lovely home, getting to know their beautiful kids, who are bonafide internet sensations in their own right. I must admit, I was a bit nervous they wouldn't like me, even though I'm typically a pretty big hit with this demographic (and also women over 50).  If you're a follower of Ryan's blog, you know that their son (known online as The Littlest Buddy) has SMS (Smith Magenis Syndrome), a genetic disorder often mistaken for autism, but isn't. Click the link there - Ryan has become something of a spokesperson, and can tell you all about it.

I worried that my visit might overwhelm L.B., that he might not take to me or that I'd disrupt a household they work incredibly hard to maintain. I asked Ryan and Cole lots of questions - "Should I clown around and make him like me? Should I tickle him and make goofy faces and hide around corners to win him over?" Their answer was clear, "No. You should completely ignore him and he'll eventually get curious and try to figure out what you're doing here." 

Against all my Uncle-of-the-Year instincts, I took their advice. When he came home that day I sat quietly on my laptop in their dining room and waited. 

Soon I caught his little eyes peering at me from across the living room, 20 feet away. Cole (noticing him noticing me) reminded gently, "That's Jason Hudson. He's here for a visit." After only a few minutes he got a bit closer, eventually sidling-up beside me at the dining room table. Still, I was careful not to overwhelm him. So imagine my surprise when he stood just inches from my face, reached out and stroked my cheek with the softest little hand you can imagine. He rubbed the stubble on my chin and said "Nice hair. Nice nice hair." 

I'm not embarrassed to say I almost burst into tears. While we all see how clever and adorable L.B. is through Ryan's blog, no beautiful photo or perfectly-phrased anecdote from a doting father can describe the energy of this kid. His spirit. His giant heart and the kindness in his little eyes. There's a magical quality I can't quite describe, as if you're communicating through the pit of your stomach.

Ryan and Cole think this is the secret to kids with SMS - On the days when you're angry or resentful, this charming little guy shows up and you have no choice but to just love the shit out of him.























IF YOU LIKE THIS POST, YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Do Fun Stuff (August 30, 2010)
New York Fashion Week (September 19, 2011)


35 comments:

  1. Such a lovely, thoughtful post, J.

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  2. Oh my goodness, what an amazing post and the photos are so touching. I absolutely loved hearing about your visit with the family. Fabulous. You are such a caring and talented person. X

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  3. Amazing!! Thanks for sharing! ;o)

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  4. Beautiful! I love that you took pics of the orange tree. You know that tree will have a special place in their memories.

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  5. Long-time follower of Pacing the Panic Room... just added you to my Reader as well. Great post. I don't even personally know the Marshall's, but from what I've read over the years, you just captured them.

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  6. I want to send this to every family portrait photographer in the world and say "this is how it's done." So f*ing good.

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  7. gosh these are incredible, what an amazing family!

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  8. there is so much living, breathing love in these photos - I can't get over them. amazing, amazing, beyond.

    (and you gotta love a mama that does hand stands!)

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  9. i absolutely adore these photos. and your story.

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  10. Oh. My. Word. These are stunningly, breathtakingly beautiful!!! Thank you for making my Monday so much better!!!

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  11. These are so awesome! I wish you could come to my house and take photos of my family!

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  12. Fabulous story and really wonderful pictures. Some great memories to look back on.

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  13. Wonderful job! You did such a good job capturing them. I love me some LB... :)

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  14. Wish more photographers knew how to do this type of photography! I would love to capture my family like this but know we would end up all wearing white and posing on a beach.

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  15. like many others, I found you through Ryan's blog. So fun to see you guys develop a friendship! It's inspiring to see a real-life connection and the joy that it brings. Your words about LB are beautiful and heart-wrenching. As a follower of Ryan's blog, I feel like I know them...even though I don't. Seeing their amazing family through your eyes & lens is an awesome way to get to know them a little bit more.

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  16. lovely. thank you for sharing them.

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  17. You did it again - capturing beautiful moments!

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  18. Beautiful photos, love the glimpses into their life. Love Cole's handstand! So awesome!

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  19. I love how it was presented with the colour shots of the orange trees in between. Made it seem real and come to life. Reminded me that they were real. Gorgeous set.

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  20. Jason, the photos are amazing and you shine with your photographic talents! But, your introduction piece? Well, that, my friend, is proof positive that you were absolutely the right *person" for the job. Nicely done. Beautiful.

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  21. This brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful! Hx
    http://www.helenlimbrick.com

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  22. Thanks for your comments everyone. Very sweet.

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  23. Wonderful pictures, so natural and sweet. Love Ryan's blog and these photo's totally convey how I imagine them! :)

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  24. Long time reader of Ryan's blog, came over here to spy. Those are so beautiful, they brought tears to my eyes. Great job capturing great people.

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  25. Wow! Your words made me tear up. I love his blog and the positive family spirit that shines through his photos and words.

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    1. p.s Your photos are breathtaking.

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  26. Thanks, Ashleigh, Mamalang and Helena! Much appreciated.

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  27. These are incredibly beautiful family photos! Doesn't hurt that every family member is stunning, just gorgeous! You captured the essence of family life. Well done. I wish I had photos of my family like this. Very, very beautiful.

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