When my daughter Rosie got to be 18 months or so I began reaching out for a little social network of toddlers and like-minded moms and dads to spend some time with during those looonng days of taking care of a child full-time. And our little pocket of Baltimore (Hampden) did not disappoint! It did not take long to really connect with a solid group of parents of crazy city toddlers.
And there seemed to be one bright center to this social circle. Stay at home dad extraordinaire, Wouter! That guy was everywhere and everyone knew who he was. He started community playgroups, he led family friendly yoga, he was at every toddler event within walking distance and he had more energy than any parent I had met. He and his family had only moved to Baltimore from the Netherlands a year prior but he somehow seemed to connect so many people in our community. It was always refreshing to get to see Wolter, his wife Tjitske and his girls Nyne & Lyse.
Just last month this incredible family, that I am honored to call friends, suddenly moved back to the Netherlands. (Hampden is still recovering from the shock!) And days before they moved I gave them the only going away present that I could give .. to follow them around their beloved neighborhood and document one of their final afternoons in a city they had made their home. This is the Bokhove family exactly as I will remember them. Riding their bikes, saying hi to LITERALLY everyone on the street, playing at the park by their house and basically just being full of life everywhere they went.
One of my favorite and most humbling parts of our afternoon together was accompanying them on the walk to pick up Nyne from her last day of school in Baltimore. It was heartbreaking to watch them say goodbye to beloved teachers and a complete honor to get to capture this little chapter in their lives.
We miss you friends!