Rebecca Hayes and David Ward never took newborn photos with their son, Clayton. That is, until he turned 21, when he made it up to them by posing for several new-born style photos despite his early adulthood.
Hayes and Ward dated in High School, where she became pregnant with Clayton during her sophomore year. The pair broke up before their son's birth and both went on to marry other partners, though they always got along and were completely dedicated to being good parents to their son. In 2013, Hayes' husband passed away and Ward was there to help her through the heartache. She reciprocated the favor in 2015, when Ward's wife was diagnosed with a rare cancer that left him a widower. After all they'd been through together, it seems only natural that the pair rekindled their relationship.
Hayes pitched her big idea to get the newborn photos their small family hadn't had the opportunity to take the first time around:
I had the idea one evening when we were all sitting around and laughing at what a weird world ours had become. I half joked about it but both David and Clay were surprisingly on board, so I had to jump on it!
Hayes says Clayton was especially on board:
He is very deadpan and dry and just stared at me and said ‘we have to do this’ we all cracked up while we discussed what ‘poses’ we would do.
Photographer Duffi Crowson, who’s known Hayes since they both were 5 years old, helped bring their vision to life:
We had discussed ahead of time what we could do to avoid giving off a ‘creepy’ vibe — which some people still got but that’s OK. I’m not gonna lie, there were discussions about making a huge basket and possibly the mention of a giant teddy bear. I’m the end we decided simple would be enough.
Though it was a day full of laughs more than anything else, the Mom hopes that these pictures will help communicate an important message to everyone who knows their story:
I really just want people to know that life is weird and horrible and wonderful at times. You never know where it will lead, and you have to embrace what comes your way fully. We went through some rough rough times and just learned to grasp onto those things that are truly important.
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