I jokingly refer to myself as a “friend collector.” Once I meet you and we form a bond, you’ll be hard pressed to get rid of me. We don’t have to talk every day, or even every year, but I will be keeping tabs on you in some capacity, even from afar, and I will fondly recall the memories we shared together, even if they were made only momentarily. For those of you who have now read Always Coming Back Home, you know this is true, as it’s how Brian and I ended back up together after all of those years apart. We never forgot about one other, and when the timing worked out for us, we made our way back to each other and lived out the best moments of our lives, until death did us part.
But this story isn’t about Brian. It’s about the power of friendship, putting yourself out there, and how you can find inspiration and connection in the most unexpected times and ways. It’s also about the importance of taking advantage of the moments we have available to us now, and a young man named Brae Hunziker.
Brae is a photography, videographer and now a dear family friend of ours. Brae has captured some of the happiest and saddest moments of my little family on film or video these last few years. He’s traveled across oceans, and on trains, sailboats, cars and busses with us. He’s participated in car karaoke, explored cities and foreign countries with us, celebrated birthdays, milestones and watching the kids grow up alongside the rest of us – but while he’s been a part of these moments with us, he’s also gifted these moments to us as a family through the keepsakes of video and film.
Brae made a short film about his own experience of capturing some of these moments of my little family over the years, and I say this without exaggeration that this is one of the kindest and most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. Brae talks in this film about the gift we’ve given him to be a part of some of these moments with us, but he has gifted us the ability to capture these moments in time. To look back at them and remember all that we’ve accomplished, all that we’ve seen, all that we’ve experienced, and through these – long after the memories have faded and changed over time, we’ll have these to look back on. My kids and I know more than some, that unfortunately sometimes photos are all we have to preserve a memory of somebody. I'm well aware that they likely won't remember some of these adventures we've taken as a family, I likely won't remember some of these small moments either, but the moment I see a photo, the memory is sparked; the smells, the sounds, the taste.. it's all there again. My children will have these treasures to look back on in ten, fifteen, twenty years and realize what a badass mom they had, what a cool dad they had, and all that they've seen and done from such a young age. Brae has just gifted my family - me specifically - with another gift.. a short video about his own experience, and the lessons learned from watching us through the other side of the lens.
PLEASE watch this short film Brae has put together about his journey of photographing my family here:
And then give Brae a follow on youtube and Instagram: @braehunziker. He’s a young man with a vision and a dream and I’d love for all of you who have rallied around me, to rally around him too. He’s so incredibly talented and truly just a one in a million kid who’s going to do great things in life.
You can see some of the other films Brae has made about my family here:
Stay Gold film: https://www.facebook.com/534232456701419/videos/921000191357975
Brian memorial film: https://www.facebook.com/422016385033453/videos/2323002954585568