Kids Were Here

When I was first asked to be a part of this project, I was admittedly very excited for the group of photographers I'd be working with. They're an amazingly talented group of women. I was also looking forward to documenting a new aspect of our lives, which I gave little (or no) attention to with the camera. Yet it is such a significant part of our everyday. These left-behind toys, the messes, the food, the strewn about clothes; somedays, I think they're staring me in the face, laughing. You vacuumed? ha! You just emptied the sink? Too bad! The entry way has been cleared of shoe piles & coat mountains? Nope, not today! But a funny thing happened to me, with this photo project. I am now pausing more & taking more deep breaths. Do I still enjoy all these messes? If I'm being honest, not so much, but incorporating my photography into the daily disasters has given me a new perspective. It's also provided me with the perfect opportunity to really treasure what's happening now, & embrace it. I know that 'the days are long, but the years are short,' but sometimes I have to remind myself about the years. Most the time the kids remind me, even though I prefer being reminded by myself. When they do the reminding, it sort of provides a big ole' emotional jerk that I am completely unprepared for. Even though I know it's happening, I'm still not ready for it. I'm not sure I'm ready for all the 'remember when's...' either, but I don't have much choice.

Remember that summer you boys got a big trampoline from your Grandma & you jumped, & jumped, & jumped until you were so exhausted, you fell asleep a couple hours earlier than normal; & you always wore your shoes out there, but never back in. So we'd be looking all over for a specific pair, & never found them, until one of us remembered to check by the trampoline. 

Remember that dinosaur you (Rylee) painted in Pasagshak; you were so proud of it & packed it around with you everywhere, for a few days. Now it sits in your bedroom, a bit forgotten about.

Remember that morning I fed all of you brown rice farina for breakfast, & you (Ella) decided to throw it all over the floor, within seconds. I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry, so I took some pictures. 

Remember all those nights we (you boys & I) laid in your bottom bunk, reading books, telling stories, listening to music, tossing & turning, awaiting sleep. 

Remember that puzzle we put together one night, when you boys decided a puzzle sounded like more fun than reading a book before bed. We still read the book, of course. 

Remember a couple months ago, when we got the chickens & they were so tiny. We kept them in a tote in the bathroom & I asked you (Rylee) to make a sign for them. You wrote it so well & so perfectly backwards; every time it falls down, I put it back up- even though the chickens have been in their outside coop for six weeks.

Remember how incredibly hot this summer has been- & all the pool time we've had, & all the rocks & mud you (Ella) have thrown into the pool, quickly making it pretty gross to play in.

Remember that fort you boys built on the beach in Pasagshak, with Nanny. You played, & played, & played in it all day long; & then the next day, you took it apart within minutes. 

Remember that Learning Tower we got you (Ella) & we jokingly called it your cage. But you love it & we love it. 

Remember when you (Rylee) very first met Waldo. You sat on the couch scouring the pages for him, many times finding him quite quickly. & returning to the book day after day.

Remember those nights we went through your bedtime routine, & how much you boys loved having me write everything out. "What's next?! What's next?!" you'd ask. & as strange as it felt to have a 'bedtime list,' it surprisingly made bedtime so much easier. 

Remember that bag of feathers you (Rylee) keep. The one that you add to, whenever you find feathers from our chickens. The one that completely grosses me out, but you told me you're going to glue them to a piece of paper & write out which chickens they go to, once the bag is full. Hearing that made the gross bag bearable.