The theme of my photography is "Narrative Moments in Portraits" and no session embodies that more than Tristan and Becca's proposal. Let me tell you the narrative moments that led up to Saturday, December 26, 2015.
In 2007 I started attending monthly meetings for a non-profit organization, My Refuge House, which were led by Danny Cortez and Lila De Fiesta. We soon became close friends over our mutual vision to create a safe place for victims rescued from human trafficking and the sex trade in the Philippines. During that year I met Lila's beautiful daughters, Becca and Jordan, who were 16 and 13 at the time. I came to love them as my own. Ironically, I also found out Danny was the Danny Cortez who went to the same high school I did in Cerritos and who happens to be Becca's uncle. I know, it's true, Filipinos are all somehow related.
On Becca's 18th birthday, Lila let me know I was invited to the big birthday debut shindig they were throwing for Becca and suggested I bring Tristan as my date. I sensed a not-so-subtle matchmaking in the works but I was down. I credit Lila for her foresight as it never entered my feeble brain to introduce my son and Becca in the two years we were volunteering for My Refuge House. Becca and I manned the My Refuge House booth a handful of times during fundraising events and you'd think my intuition would be on high alert but nope, even my sixth sense was on sleep mode.
Although, Tristan and Becca, met the night of her debut their lives weren't in sync in that year. I shrugged, secretly hid my disappointment, and borrowed my sister's phrase, "C'est la vie." That's life.
It took three years for their paths to converge into one they could walk side-by-side on. I believe shock was the best word to describe my initial reaction when he asked to borrow my car to take Becca on a date. Their relationship became official on 7.27.2012.
Fast forward three years later to Saturday, 12.26. 2015. We were freezing up on Griffith Observatory and who knew it was going to be mad chaos with people visiting from all over the world?! Becca thought crazy me wanted to take family pictures and she went along with it much to our relief. Let me tell you, getting up to the Observatory was pretty insane. The traffic was the kind that makes L.A. the city you cuss at. Parking was available down the hill near Greek Theater and you either hoofed it up to the Observatory or paid $2 for a shuttle. We, as in my boyfriend, Ray, my daughter, Chloe, my granddaughter, Rylee, and I opted for the shuttle.
We all arrived earlier than Tristan and Becca. Her parents, siblings, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, a handful of friends and coworkers, hid behind the monument that sits in front of the Observatory. Ray, who was my second shooter, was going to signal them to let them know they were near.
I saw Becca's face when they walked toward me and I could tell she was NOT happy. I later found out she wanted to wear jeans but Tristan suggested a dress since "my mom wants family pictures." Poor girl braved the wind and cold to indulge me and my family pictures.
As you can see from the first picture below I told them to gaze at the Hollywood sign so I could take some test shots. While I pretended to take a few shots, Ray signaled her family, their friends, and coworkers to stand behind us. I wasn't sure if I was shivering from the cold or excitement but my teeth were chattering so much I thought my braces were going to snap off. When everyone was situated behind me I called out to them. Okay, you guys can turn around now, I'm good.
Tristan and Becca slowly turned around. Her eyes widened when she saw the crowd of loved ones and said, "WHOA!" My son said a few things to her that none of us could hear, dropped to one knee, and asked Becca to be
my future daughter-in-law his future wife! I don't have to explain further since the pictures Ray and I took illustrate their narrative moments.
You see the hashtag "#proudmom" all over social media but I couldn't have been more proud of my son that day as he proposed to Becca. Yes, I gained another beautiful daughter but I can now officially claim her family as my own. They are so stuck with me!
Tristan and Becca, you know I love you both like mad crazy. Congratulations on this new journey you're on!
Special thanks to the De Fiesta and Cortez family for helping us make this happen as well as their friends and co-workers. Huge thanks to Danny Cortez for shooting video and taking pics, too!
And my gratitude shout out goes to Ray for stepping in as my second shooter. If not for him, I wouldn't have eaten lunch (he forced me to sit down and eat a sandwich) or gotten more shots of the proposal since I blanked out from all the emotion!