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Dallas, Texas, USA

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Jess, Dallas, Texas, USA

“I recognize each of my kids from the sound of their steps, their speed, or the way the stairs squeak under their feet!”

Jess is a busy and caring mother of 5, living in Dallas, Texas. She loved the idea of the portrait, arranged by her husband, but I knew that I had to be quick because with her kids running around, she was instinctively paying attention to each of them at a distance – “I recognize each of my kids from the sound of their steps, their speed, or the way the stairs squeak under their feet!”

Jess is a proper Texas woman. She was born in El Paso, moved to Killeen when she was 12, and later to Dallas, where she got married at 26. She had her first baby boy when she was 16 but still found the time to go to junior college. She met her husband through a dating website. From the first exchange of texts, they had no doubts that they had found the right person. He had twin children that today are 22 years old, while Jess’s first boy is 20. Together they have had two more boys, now 8 and two years old. While Jess only has one sister, her husband has 8 brothers and sisters! Life was completely different in a busy, big family. For example, her husband learned only with her that towels are usually not shared!

The quarantine has not made a big change in Jess’s lifestyle. Apart from her 8-year-old boy, who has had to stop going to a school, she does “homeschooling” for the rest of the children. She is amazed that I haven’t heard about it in contemporary times and says that it’s quite common in Texas and the US. “They are free to choose the subjects they want to explore with me. When they grow up and change interests, we go deep into that.” She doesn’t know what her children will want to do, but as soon as they decide, they will prepare for standard testing to go to university if they want, as the older children are doing now.

Cheerful voices and noises come from nearby while her husband plays with the kids, so I sketch a very quick plant and background. It’s time for Jess to make sure that everyone is not missing her!