2017 marks the year I realize I can no longer hold and/or pick up my own child. I mean, I can, if totally necessary (i.e. running from a psycho ax murderer or monsters) but for the most part, those dog days are over. You see, this almost 6 year old of mine is a tank. While I have expanded a bit since my younger days (mainly around and in the middle, you know, probably like you have also experienced) picking him up is really just not working. He's long and tall and I am pretty weak. Maybe if I did more Jillian Michaels arm work outs...maybe I could, but I suppose that is not the point here.
It sounds silly. To say, I realize now looking back at this image of him and I above from last summer, that we were in the last days I would be able to pick him up like that and hold him. It sounds like such a small thing. It wasn't honestly even a thing I had considered would be a 'milestone' for me. You have a baby, they are teeny tiny and you strap them to you to survive. As they grow, they start attaching themselves to you and hanging off of your limbs like the orangutans at the zoo. You find yourself scooping them up when they are on the run (or about to get into something they shouldn't) and it's all just a part of the game. For five years, it never occurred to me that one day, the game would change. I mean, I knew it. You realize that babies are actually tiny humans and people and they grow and they age, but for me at least it's more of a passing fleeting realization in the subconscious area. The conscious area of my brain has always been a bit more focused on the constant alarms going off "Stop touching that Maxwell!", "UGH SERIOUSLY, can't you just go to sleep?, "Why are you crying, AGAIN!". Imagine the inside of the parent's brains from the movie Inside Out. Just all bells and whistles and blaring alarms and overwhelm and stress and frustration. But...here we are...and suddenly...
It took sending my child to kindergarten last year and now not being able to pick him to realize some really important shit.
I'm getting older.
And so is he.
Realizing we aren't immortal, that time is precious and life is really just a bunch of moments stuck together haphazardly can be hard. Thinking about our own mortality and our aging children as we pluck out gray hairs (or possibly new hairs from totally new places on our face...is no one else getting whiskers, though? Seriously?!) is freaking hard. It sucks and it's scary and so we shove it all down or risk bursting into tears somewhere in the frozen aisle at the grocery store next to the Ore-Ida potatoes (again...is this just me?) while people, including your own child, stare at you like your one of those awful looking stuffed animal characters from that stupid Five Nights at Freddy's game.
But what I am realizing in all of my realizations is that I keep telling myself I will do this thing or that thing or whatever when I 'get there'. You know, when 'I get older' or when 'it's time'. It's been a bit of a slap in the face to realize, oh yeah. You are already there.
I make excuses constantly about all of the things I am going to do when it's time, all of the life changes I am going to make and time I am going to spend and pictures I will take...
I have been planning for a life that is already well into its existence. And I'm missing it.
Considering I am somewhat close to the age range of many of you (speaking directly to my clientele and families here now) I can only imagine some of you are experiencing very similar moments.
Which brings me to how I always come back to this time of year and these sessions and why they mean so much to me. I have done Mother's Day sessions for a few years now, and more than ever, this year, I am realizing again why they mean so much to me. Why they are one of my favorite things I do in business each year and how meaningful they are to me. And, I hope to you...
Mom's rarely get in the frame. We take all (okay at least most, come on!) the photos. We do a lot of dirty work and most of us don't take care of ourselves the way we should. We don't enjoy a lot of moments because we can't live in the moment. We struggle to stay present because we are exhausted and either tearing our hair out due to stress or grays. And so this is your chance. To take a moment. To treat yourself and leave something behind.
As we have already addressed, we aren't going to be around forever. Which is why I am calling these Legacy Sessions this year. Because...it's not just about us. But about what we will leave behind for our children.
Same goes for the Grandparents. When was the lat time you met a Grandma who wanted to be in a photo? What do you have with your own Mother and your children? What does she have? Hell do you have a nice photograph of your Mother alone or with you, her daughter? I never had the chance to get a photograph of my son with my Grandmother who passed while I was still pregnant. And to be honest, while we were not the closest, I don't have a lot of photographs of her and I either. I realize now, of course, how sad that really is.
And so this year I am going to do it a little different. I have tried it before but I think I have it down this year. I encourage my Mom's to bring their Mom's and Grandmas to their sessions. Also, there have been some requests for Father's day photos. Don't worry, I am giving Mom's a lot of credit, but the Dad's deserve some major credit out there too! So, this 'Legacy Event' will be open to Mother's Day or Father's Day photos, and Grandparents. Some rules and conditions apply though!
Yes, I realize I am still doing this for an income and as a job and this is still an advertisement of sorts, but I am also being 100% truthful when I say I feel this event is something special that I love to do every year. A way to give back to those clients I know and love and can't wait to see again.
I hope to see you there.