Shared adventure


I sent my children out on a mission. Armed with my camera, and all the colors of the fall season for inspiration, they went for a walk around the neighborhood so my daughter could take pictures for my son’s yearbook photo.

This plan is one that has was hatched over the summer, when I decided to save some money by not hiring a professional photographer to take C’s senior pictures. We discussed it in August, but C wanted to wait until the trees turned and the colors were bright. And he kept putting it off, claiming that his sister was never ready. J, meanwhile, claimed that C just had to say the word. It was not a promising start to the project, and I found myself second-guessing my decision.

As often happens, we procrastinated down to the wire. The pictures were due this week, and we had to factor activity schedules with days of “picture perfect” weather. And so it was Wednesday, leaving us very little time for a retake, should it be necessary.

After school, texts flew as plans came together, friends were contacted, and last minute details were taken care of. I let the kids figure out the logistics, the process, the timing. I gave them their mission, and I stepped out of the picture.

When I entered the house later that day, three kids were in the living room, laughing and chatting as they viewed the pictures on the computer. Click, click, giggle. Click, click, “Oh! Flag that!” Click, “Stop! Go back!” They flip through the photos, one by one. All of them. All 248 of them.

248 photos! (In my day, that would have been 10+ rolls of film; countless hours in the darkroom….) My daughter had catalogued the entire excursion in a photographic essay, of sorts, documenting the journey from our front door to the top of the street, and back again. Buried in among all of these photographs were the three choice moments when they stopped to focus on the mission I gave them—the sit-and-pose pictures. In total, we had seven photos in the running for the yearbook. But we had countless others that had captured a moment, a journey, a memory.

I sent my children out on a mission, but they came back armed with memories of an adventure. Sometimes, I am amazed at what happens when I remove myself from the picture. Mission (more than) accomplished!

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(all images provided by the creative eye of J)


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