WOOD FAMILY || Goleta, CA || Six years ago, Erinn hired me for a job that became a major turning point in my life. For eight years before that, I'd been leaving home at 7 a.m. and returning at 6 p.m. every workday, including every-other weekend and with a 45-minute commute on either end. Isaac was in preschool, and a full-time, before- and after-school-care kid. Today, I look back on that time a million percent unable to fathom how and — most importantly why — I chose to do that for a single week, let alone the better part of ten years. When Francesca was born, I knew something had to change, but felt paralyzed at the thought of leaving the only job I really knew. I remember one night at my kitchen table cradling my newborn girl on one side, working the touch pad on my laptop with the other, scouring Craigslist for anything that could "save me" from having to return to that routine after my four-month leave.

I found one, far-fetched possibility and applied online that night. This lady would become my boss. She took one of the biggest leaps of faith anyone's ever taken in me, turning her head to my dusty, old journalism degree and zero experience in marketing and communications, hiring me for just that. I ended up learning so much from Erinn: skills that helped me do the best I could for the nonprofit we worked for, which became the same skills I now use every single day (since taking my photography business full-time) to navigate the world of self-employment, self-promotion and building a brand.

On top of working together to run our two-man MarComm team, my workdays with Erinn came with all the standard co-worker stuff: coffee runs and lunches to go; the usual, casual chit-chat. But they also included intimate heart-to-hearts behind the closed door of either her office or mine; me seeking advice on some hardships I'd been facing, and her sharing her dreams of becoming a mom. Fast forward to now with Peter at her side and Piper in her arms, and the day we got to spend together taking photos, and I. Just. Can't. I feel so happy, not just for our little capsule of shared history, but to be able — in sporadic glimpses even, given our busy schedules and separate lives — to watch Erinn be the new Erinn. The her I hadn't known. That none of us had. The her that emerged so brilliantly after her little blonde dream came true.