Oh, the art of being in the moment versus hiding behind the camera. It’s just plain hard to do, isn’t it? For the first time ever, I let go of my camera-control and we had family pictures taken by someone else. Not only that, but I snagged one of y’all a pro photo session for you and yours. I know! I can hardly believe it either! Read on friends. My first ever contest details are the bottom of the page!
I’m sitting at one of ten long wooden tables. The music is blasting, the drinks are strong and the creativity is over-flowing. But what really strikes me? Is the laughter. It’s real. Authentic. Joyful. Almost guffaw-like. Does that sound insulting? It’s not meant to be. It’s just that we’re…free. Free of scanning the room for danger, messes and arguments. Free of bedtimes, mealtimes and snacks. Free of pottys, diapers and accidents.
For the very first time since I started having babies, I’m away without them. And without Jason. I’m with my girlfriends for the weekend in a scrapbooking house. Hello Memory Lane. It’s so nice to see you!
I didn’t have a chance to pull together my pictures or any part of my closet full of scrappin’ supplies, so my weekend is dedicated to writing. Reading. Sitting upstairs on the cozy couch. Listening to the pitter pattering raindrops. And sipping many, many cups of coffee.
I weave in and out of being one of the group and delving within while tip-tapping on my computer keys. Both are absolutely perfect.
I miss my family with a pang in my heart that hurts like no other. But I so needed this break. This time away.
Sunday comes ever so quickly and I gingerly enter our home wondering if everyone’s awake or if the kids are napping and Jason is holed up watching football. If that’s the case I don’t want to mess with the gem that I know all too well is nap time.
But I need not worry. I quickly hear Chloe’s savage sounding, “MOMMY!!!” and I so get it. I’m feeling pretty savage myself. I missed my babies. They each fall into my arms in their own way– gently, wildly, with sweet words, “Mama, why you all gone?” Can you guess which way describes which kid?
And I breathe them in. Hold them tight. We laugh loudly. Brightly. Vividly. Like the ladies and I did this weekend. We jump into a quick game of “I’m going to get you!” And it, too, is wild. And heightened. Each “round” ending with so many hugs. So many kisses. I had been craving this touch. This affection that I often take for granted because it can be just a little…much.
I can picture each and every moment of my time away and of my home-coming clearly in my mind. In my heart. But only there.
I didn’t take a single picture at Memory Lane or of all of the giggles and tickles that followed my entrance back into my “real life.” I stepped away from the camera that I so often hide behind to capture the memory. And I stayed in the moment. And that’s something to write about.
As women we’re such story tellers. We hold onto the family’s memory thread. Quilting and braiding it together in the ways that we know best. Amazing recipes. Beautiful scrapbooks. Pristinely organized photo boxes. Archived pages. Journals. Blogs.
I know several women who are quite literally pure magic behind the camera lens. Each and every one of them have toyed with going pro and they so should– there’s enough good photo karma in this world to go around. The universe is plentiful and we should all follow our bliss, our spark. Because when we do, beautiful things are created in our minds, in our hearts and in print.
One of these amazing women took our family photos this weekend. Gifting me the chance to be “in it” with my family and to have gorgeous photos to adore all at the same time. So we all got hair cuts. Wore neutral outfits. And smiled.
Our session was oh-so-very quick. We bribed Brody with everything we could think of. Daddy’s car? Candy? Louie’s leash? We ran, laughed, rolled our eyes. In my proudest parenting moment I told Chloe that I’d take away her Halloween candy if she didn’t cooperate. In case you’re wondering, that one worked like a charm.
I love our pictures. I love that someone else took them. And, admittedly, I love actually being in them.
So in the spirit of goodness and friendship and karma and beautiful pictures, my friend Nicole Spangler who did not take our pictures but is a seriously kick-butt photographer and runs her own photography business has donated a free photo session to be won by one of YOU! That’s right, YOU!
For my part, I’m passing along the goodness that I got from my photos. On Nicole’s part, she’s donating a free photo session. And on your part?
All you have to do is leave me a comment below about the good stuff. Being in the moment. Family pictures. Girls Weekends. If you’re sadly too far away to grab a cup of coffee with me or a photo session with Nicole let me know that, too.
But, if you’re local and interested in the photo session with Nicole (You are. trust me on this one.), say so in your comment. One lucky winner (YOU!) will be randomly chosen and announced over Thanksgiving weekend in that Friday’s Mamaleh post.
The contest details from sweet Nicole are as follows:
The contest winner will receive a free photo session with Indelible Photography by Nicole Spangler. The session options are infant (3 months to 12 months), toddler, child, or family (up to 4 children). You will receive a photo CD containing 20-40 edited images for personal use. The contest closes Wednesday, November 24th at midnight. And the session must be used on or before August 31st, 2011. Good luck and I can’t wait to see your photos!