The girls didn’t have school today. All of last week and over the weekend, the girls excitedly talked about what they’d learned about Veterans in school and the ways in which they had honored them. I listened and hoped that the conversation wouldn’t take a dark turn. I had read of the passing of Tomas Young and I know from Briar’s chatter about the student news that they watch at school that she is familiar with ISIS. I am sure that in the ways that kids pick up little tidbits, some from lessons, others from eavesdropping, there could be real confusion about war and how it is to be against war but in support of our service people. The tough conversation never came, though I know it eventually will.
I explained to them that despite there being no school, there would in fact be work for me. “Girls, Dad and I are going to need you to be quiet as we do the photo shoot. You can watch us or you can camp out with a movie, ok?”
“Can we take pictures?” Avery asked.
“I think so, but you’ll have to be respectful of the photographer.”
“Can we be in the pictures?” Finley asked.
“Maybe, but we have to get the work stuff done first, ok?”
“Of course, mama. Of course!” Finley waved her hand and squinted her eyes in her I-totally-get-it-I-am-practically-an-adult face.
“Hey, mom, would you like me to be taking photos and videos as you’re going? You know, document the shoot,” Briar offered.
“Absolutely, thank you!”
I had butterflies that were a result of equal parts nerves at being photographed and at having an audience of at least 15 while I tried to do the business owner/mom shuffle. I didn’t want to have the girls be bummed out by how they spent their day off, and I also didn’t want our family to make the process difficult for everyone else.
The set-up went incredibly well. Everyone had their make-up done and there was suspender snapping and hair teasing that bonded us all. The space took shape as we brought in instrument after instrument, the girls’ eyes wide as they took them in.
Everyone relaxed, the kids held out with shuffling crates and providing unpredictable comedic relief. They also mugged so relentlessly that they ended up in a number of, “Oh my gosh, this is great, let’s shoot this. C’mon, let’s do this.
I revel in watching them in these situations because as surely as they are my daughters, they are entirely their own people. I had been so worried that the workday would be boring for them or that they would feel like afterthoughts. The truth is that there are times that rather than parts of life colliding in calamitous ways, there are opportunities for sharing and illuminating the ways in which all the pieces and people fit.
I am so grateful for the days and the questions and the laughter in life with my F.A.B. girls.