“Mommy? Mommy? Can you do this with me? Mommy?”
He was so sweet about it—pushed up to the kids’ table, short legs crossed at the ankle and swinging above the ground, hands folded and elbows resting on the table, waiting for Mommy to play puzzles. And my whole heart said, Yes! Of course! I can sit down with my puzzle-loving second-born and put together a 24-piece picture of planes and buses and boats.
Plus, he was not only politely asking and patiently waiting, he was also looking completely heart-meltingly precious, lit from behind by the morning streaming in the windows to the south and east, blond curls catching the sun, fever-induced watery eyes reflecting light back at me as he raised his eyebrows to ask if I was coming soon.
I was fully intending to play with him; in fact, I was on my way. But I didn’t say so out loud. Instead, I looked away and reached first for my camera. It probably took less than five seconds, but I turned back around to find him with his head down, sighing quietly, and looking sadly defeated (and all the more adorable for it). He peeked his head up long enough to mournfully say, “No pictures.”
“You want me to put the camera down?”
“And do puzzles.”
I can see his point, of course, but I’m torn. Sometimes I pick up the camera for selfish reasons (there really is something relaxing about it; five or six shutter clicks are usually enough to get me on the road to climbing out of a funk), and sometimes it is easier to document than to participate. Worst of all, sometimes I am thinking more about how I will write about this or that than I am about being present while said this or that is happening. The other day, for example, the day I was taking pictures once every hour for a blog entry, Simon wanted to show me something, and I said, “Wait, let me get the camera,” but he adamantly corrected me: “No, Mom! This is a looking just with your eyes time.” In those times, yes, it is right for my kids to call me out of elsewhere-land and into right now, real relationship with them, and I’m thankful when they do.
But there are other times that I pick up the camera because I am suddenly aware of how utterly helpless I am to stop the passage of time, and I think a visual cue might one day help me remember. What I really want to do is memorize him just as he is at two (and a half!)—the way his little cheek feels pressed against mine when he says, “I wuv you, Mommy, wiff all mine haught”; the way his sweaty head smells when he wakes up from a nap; the ring of excitement in his voice when we play “I Spy” and the fact that his first question is always, always, “Is it inside or outside?”; the way he narrows his eyes when he’s working on a puzzle or scrunches up his nose when he smiles for a picture.
In my heart, I know I’ll never remember it all. But I’m here now, so I put down my camera and look hard with my eyes and play puzzles with my kiddo.
What a delight it was to spend a little time on a bright Saturday morning with good friends. Welcome, Reid. You are so loved; you must know that.
What a delight it was to photograph this beautiful family. I couldn’t agree more that Evelyn, at six months, is, as her daddy says, “sweetness and light.” And, oh, those precious eyes, I’ve literally dreamed about them. I love the way these three interact—so much joy in just being together.
Earlier this week, I had the great privilege of spending some time with my good friends the Siscos and photographing them. We started out at Mahoney and then moseyed on to beautiful downtown Ashland (I’m not being sarcastic; it is a charming little town, and the light was so much fun). I had such a good time, and there were several times that I had to remind myself that we weren’t simply hanging out. Those boys have my heart, and I am thankful for this dear family.
I was quickly running out of ideas for our impromptu scavenger hunt. I had already sent Simon (and, in theory, Ian) to bring me back a stick as long as my hand, a green leaf, a brown leaf, a rock, a yellow flower, a blade of grass. Simon suggested a red flower, but I realized the only red flowers in sight were not for picking. And in a flash of foolishness? brilliance? a little from column A, a little from column B? I gave Simon my iPhone and sent him to take a picture of the red flowers. He came back absolutely beaming, and with a decent shot to boot.
He spent the next 15 minutes or so eagerly running off to take a picture of this and that and coming back after each picture to show me what he had seen. We could have continued, but then he wanted to play fireman, and, well, that’s fun too.
Later that evening, Jason and I were struggling for sanity with forty-five minutes or so to go before bedtime. The light was softening, the shadows were just beginning to lengthen, and I wanted nothing more than to grab my camera and escape for a walk. And again the same flash of foolishness or brilliance hit me: I did grab my camera, but I also handed Simon my iPhone, and I and the boys headed to the park to take pictures. In theory, we took pictures of the same things (we took turns picking the subject), but as you can imagine, our perspectives are quite different. I hope that this will be just the first of many times we take our cameras out together (and, in fact, we did go out the next morning as well). I think it will be a great time to push myself creatively and also to challenge myself technically—to use my camera on manual mode, for example.
In the midst of this, I remembered a long-neglected blog I started a year or so ago: Pictychy. I re-read the About page and realized that, yeah, I still want to do that. So, I’ll be posting some of my favorites over there. Check back or add it to your RSS feed to see what we’re up to.
My name is Renae, and The Grand is where I keep thoughts, observations, and photos from my life.